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HALIFAX Striking home support workers in Queens County say they are extremely disappointed with comments made on a local radio program on Monday. The employees, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3885, walked off the job last Friday, April 20.

There appears to be a misconception in the public about the role of home support workers in the community, says CUPE National Rep Kathy MacLeod. The remarks on a local radio show implied that home support workers provide mainly light housekeeping for their clients. In reality these workers provide very essential services to their clients, many of whom are bedridden or seriously ill.

MacLeod says the workers must be trained in basic nursing skills in order to assist with clients personal needs. They may be asked to help with baths or physiotherapy, carry clients to the toilet, or care for catheters or colostomy bags, says MacLeod. These are not the duties of a Molly Maid.

For the person who is bedridden, or the family of a patient who requires round-the-clock care, every task the home support worker does, no matter how trivial it may seem, is vitally important, says MacLeod. And light housekeeping is just as essential to a patients recovery, or to palliative or respite care, as any other duty performed by these workers.

MacLeod says the workers have gone on strike because they are tired of being unappreciated and under-compensated for the work they perform in the community.

The 39 employes have been picketing in front of the offices of Queens County Home Support in Liverpool since Friday.

Queens home support workers look after about 200 clients in the county area.

CUPE represents approximately 500 home care workers in Cape Breton, Amherst, Queens and Lunenburg counties.

For more information please contact Kathy MacLeod at (902) 578-4612 (cell).