After the Ministry of Health and Welfare amended the long-term care payment system, media reported that a monthly salary of NT$40,000 for long-term care workers would no longer be just a dream. This means that Taiwanese university graduates would not have to settle for a starting salary of NT$22,000 per month if they are willing to work hard and devote themselves to what they are doing.
Low pay is not the only reason for the nation’s shortage of long-term care workers, there is also the problem of how to retain talented people within the profession.
Traditionally, people show the greatest respect toward doctors. While they are indispensable to any medical team, cross-disciplinary cooperation is necessary to give patients the best care possible.
Due to the public’s lack of understanding of professional division of labor and because there is no proper system for promotion for medical workers, it is difficult for them to gain the recognition they deserve.
Under these circumstances, many qualified nurses, physiotherapists and pharmacists have no choice, but to change careers or look for employment abroad.
There are many schools offering courses on long-term care, but if there is no system for promotion, and if people are not recognized and respected for what they do, they would leave the profession.
To reduce the outflow of talented people from the nation’s long-term care sector, the government should raise their salaries.
However, the salary hikes should not be the same across the board; the satisfaction rates of patients and their family members should be taken into consideration.
A patient of mine has employed a Taiwanese caregiver and is paying a high salary, because the caregiver is willing to learn, is easy to communicate with, asks serious questions during treatment and helps the patient do physical therapy activities at home, enabling the patient to achieve double the results with half the effort.
To build an adequate promotion system, the nation could learn from Japan’s commercialization of the long-term care industry. Japanese care providers are formally called “care workers.” They can take a national certification exam and be promoted to “case managers” and be qualified to run a care-service institution if they pass.
Taiwanese care providers can enter a job after taking lessons and accumulating practical work experience, but there is no chance for promotion.
If the long-term care industry was commercialized, a promotion system could be introduced.
Care providers are not generally treated as experts and some patients’ family members treat care workers as servants, asking them to do chores. While it might be necessary for caregivers to help elderly people who live alone with housework, it would be much better for them to focus on care services.
They should help patients cough up sputum, feed them, turn them over, help them take a shower and exercise. Patients’ family members should also learn these techniques and use them appropriately to help provide the best care.
The work hours of caregivers are limited, while the family is responsible for taking care of the patient the rest of the time.
The retention of talented long-term care workers should not just be a matter of offering higher salaries. It is equally important to teach people about the medical role of care providers. If people can show long-term care professionals respect and provide the positive feedback that they deserve, more talented personnel would be willing to enter the long-term care industry.
Cho Chiung-yu is an associate professor at National Cheng Kung University’s Department of Physical Therapy.
Translated by Eddy Chang
No matter what indicator you use, Russian President Vladimir Putin is winning in the energy markets. Moscow is milking its oil cash cow, earning hundreds of millions of US dollars every day to bankroll the invasion of Ukraine and buy domestic support for the war. Once European sanctions against Russian crude exports kick in from November, the region’s governments will face some tough choices as the energy crisis starts to bite consumers and companies. Electricity costs for homes and businesses are set to soar from October, as the surge in oil income allows Putin to sacrifice gas revenue and squeeze supplies to
In an August 12 Wall Street Journal report, Chinese sources contend that in their July 28 phone call, United States President Joe Biden was told by Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping (習近平) that “he had no intention of going to war with the US” over House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s then upcoming visit to Taiwan. However, there should be global alarm that Xi did use that visit to begin the CCP’s active war against democracy in Taiwan and globally, and that the Biden Administration’s response has been insufficient. To hear CCP officials, People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesmen, and a
Much of the foreign policy conversation in the US over the past two weeks has centered on whether US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi ought to have visited Taiwan. Her backers pointed out that there was precedent for such a visit — a previous House speaker and US Cabinet members had visited Taiwan — and that it is important for officials to underscore the US’ commitment to Taiwan in the face of increasing Chinese pressure. Critics argued that the trip was ill-timed, because Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) would likely feel a need to respond, lest he appear weak
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has restarted military maneuvers around Taiwan in response to the visit of a delegation of US lawmakers led by US Senator Ed Markey, who arrived in Taiwan on Sunday. Having failed to intimidate Taiwanese with its response to US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit earlier this month, Beijing is having another go at it. On Sunday, the PLA deployed 22 warplanes and six warships in areas around Taiwan, with 10 aircraft crossing the Taiwan Strait median line to coincide with the delegation’s arrival. Monday saw a slight increase in aircraft sorties, with the