- According to a new article in the Tennessee Lookout, families who have a special needs member are having a hard time securing home-based care services. Not only is the state encountering a shortage of workers to fill these positions, but the two different agencies that provide caregivers are experiencing pay disparities. Due to these employment difficulties, the Tennessee Justice Center has filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, alleging that the state has violated two federal acts and discriminated against people with intellectual disabilities.
Here is the article linked
By Anita Wadhwani, Tennessee Lookout
July 29, 2021
MOHAWK, Tenn. — Drama Bryant's entire life has revolved around caring for her little brother, Jay, who — at 32 years old — requires 24/7 assistance as a result of congenital conditions that leave him unable to eat, bathe, go the bathroom, speak or walk unassisted.
Jay Bryant has Down syndrome and autism, suffers seizures, severe reflux disease and eczema and lives with chronic pain. If no one is looking, he will try to eat grass, dirt, rocks or other inedible items. When he's distressed, he hits himself hard enough to leave marks.
His intellectual and physical disabilities qualify him for a program operated by the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities that is supposed to provide Jay with 337 hours of professional care each month in the home he shares with his 69-year-old mom — who herself is disabled and suffering early symptoms of dementia.
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But his family has gotten no outside help. Instead, it has fallen to Drama Bryant, 38, to step in to care for her brother, full-time, while their desperate search for caregivers continue.
Tennessee, much like the rest of the nation, has long experienced a shortage of workers willing to take the low-pay, high stress jobs that are vital to helping people with severe disabilities live with dignity in their own homes and outside of institutions. The caregiver scarcity has reached crisis proportions during the new COVID-era of labor shortages... Read more here.