States face ‘workforce crisis’ of those who care for people with disabilities

A staffing shortage for direct care workers has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers in Kansas and Missouri say pay is a big factor. Many are feeling burnt out.


State News

January 14, 2022 - 12:55 PM

Andrea Howell, a direct care worker in Olathe, takes the blood pressure of a client ahead of their special Friday night dinner. Photo by KCUR/Carlos Moreno

As most people were winding down last Friday night, Andrea Howell’s work was just getting started.

As a direct support professional, Howell provides care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She spends her Fridays caring for Amber and Tonisha, two clients living at a group home in Olathe.

Any other day, she’d be cooking dinner after picking them up from their day activities. But Fridays mark a special event in the home — when they celebrate the end of their week by eating out.

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