Budget cuts hit those depending on in-home nursing care

Listen to story

Download this story 1.0MB

One San Fernando Valley man regards state lawmakers’ cuts to social services as personal. He has Lou Gehrig's disease, and his quality of life hinges largely on in-home nursing care. KPCC's Patricia Nazario has his story.

Patricia Nazario: 41-year-old Christopher Taylor can move his eyes and mouth. But he depends on a respirator and requires 24-hour care. Taylor sits up in his bed as his morning nurse, Judith Jones, examines the blue and yellow tubes that keep him alive.

Judith Jones: This machine helps you to see if he's breathing or not.

Nazario: Jones is a Licensed Vocational Nurse and an in-home caregiver. When she and Taylor's afternoon nurse are off the clock, his mother, Gwendolyn, takes over. She’s expert at reading her son's lips. Through her, he says the budget compromise him angry.

Gwendolyn Taylor: It comes out in my per-son-al, personal r-e-l-a, relations. I might vent to someone… (laughs…) and he does. He gets all agitated and he gets all mad and he… (strain).

Nazario: Gwendolyn Taylor says she also received a letter that said Medi-Cal – the state health insurance program - will stop paying for bath gels and creams that disabled people like her son depend upon to prevent skin irritation.

Taylor: If someone can't afford those things, they're gonna get bed sores and all that and they'll end up in hospitals. That's more money."

Nazario: She’s a retired plant manager with the LA Unified School District, so she can afford some of Chris' necessities. Reading his lips, Gwendolyn Taylor says the politicians' rhetoric makes her son feel worthless.

Taylor: People like me are useless to them. That is how I see it.

Nazario: Democrats and Republicans concede there's not much to be proud of in their budget deal - but they add that few, if any, viable alternatives exist in the face of a 26-billion dollar deficit.