After your spinal cord injury, you will likely need some assistance with daily activities, at least for a little while. While some may find that a family member or friend can provide this assistance, others may find it more beneficial for them to hire a Personal Care Assistant (PCA). Here are some things you need to know and consider before hiring a PCA.
Start by considering your daily needs and make a list of them. Do you need assistance with physical activities such as transferring, dressing, bathing, and bowel and bladder care? Or are you looking for someone to help you with things like meal preparation, laundry, pets, and transportation?
After you have made a list of activities you would like the PCA to help you with, consider what you can afford. If you need 24-hour assistance, can you afford to have someone live with you? Or do your needs only require you to hire someone for the daytime?
Once you have considered what your needs are and compared them to what you can afford, you can start the search for a PCA. Depending on your budget, whether or not you can train someone on your own, and how much experience you would like the PCA to have, there are several places you can look to for assistance.
If you are looking for someone who is trained and has experience, you can request the assistance of a local nursing agency. Nursing agencies typically offer qualified, experienced options for PCAs. You will still want to screen them to make sure that they fit your needs, but using a nursing agency will offer a bottom line.
You can place online and print advertisements in local newspapers. Be specific about your needs, but keep it brief. Be sure to check the jobs wanted section to see if there is anyone looking for a job that could fit what you need. Another option is to place an advertisement in a church bulletin or newsletter.
When you have some applicants that could be a good fit for the job, be sure to interview each applicant at least twice. Be honest about the assistance you need (now would be a good time to show them that list from earlier), the salary, hours, and days off. Make sure that the applicant not only has the ability to perform them, but also that they can perform them in the way you need them done. Ask for references so that you can speak to previous employers about their work.
When interviewing, ask open-ended questions that prompt a lengthier response and will help give you a better idea of who the applicant is and what their experiences have been. If you found a few that seem to be a good fit, ask them to observe your care for a day and make a final decision from there.
Source: myshepherdconnection.org, Accessed: 4/7/17