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What is the Role of a Personal Care Assistant?

You never know when it will be necessary to hire a personal care assistant for yourself or a loved one. There are a plethora of situations that could happen at any given moment that would render a person in need of personal care. Although it is common for people that are at an advanced age to seek personal care assistance, in reality, anybody that has a problem getting around and doing things on their own could be a candidate for personal care.

What is a Personal Care Assistant?

A personal care assistant, also known as a PCA, is somebody that comes into the home of an individual that is suffering from a chronic illness or an injury that does not allow them to function at full capacity.

Many of the patients that receive personal care are physically or mentally disabled to a point that they are unable to care for themselves in a safe and reasonable manner. When it comes to cooking, cleaning, bathing, and general hygiene patients have much difficulty or are completely unable to do so.

A personal care assistant will help the person to do normal everyday things such as:

  • Prepare meals
  • Clean the dishes
  • Take a bath or shower
  • Brush the teeth
  • Use the restroom
  • Comb or brush their hair

If you can imagine how limited a person is by not being able to brush their own hair, you can get a good idea of how serious some of the factors are that call for an assistant.

In addition to the assistant being there to help with tasks and keep the patient safe, they can also be there just so the patient is not alone and has somebody to look out for them if ever there are any issues.

What Does a Personal Care Assistant Do?

When you think about what a human would need in terms of personal care, the word “personal” might jump out at you. The assistant will be there to help the patient with daily tasks that they are unable to do such as doing the dishes or watering the lawn.

Depending on the severity of the mobility issues the assistant may do more for one patient for another. It all depends on the situation as to what the personal care assistant will do.

In a typical situation, the assistant would show up at the home of the patient at a designated time and begin the shift by checking in with the patient and seeing if they need anything and how they are doing.

In some situations, the personal care person will live with the patient and take care of them on that level. In the event that the patient is quadriplegic and can not do anything without aid, there would be a need for assistance around the clock. With a situation such as the need for 24-hour care, there would be shifts of assistants that would show up and help the patient during their hours of operation.

In other situations, the person has everything they need other than the daytime shift where all of the family is working or unavailable to help. An assistant will show up at the beginning of the shift and take care of the patient until somebody comes home to take over the duties.

Who Needs a Personal Care Assistant?

The thing about personal care assistants is that they do not necessarily need to be certified or even have a license to work. Although there are establishments that have certified and licensed assistants, none of them have to be licensed.

With that being said, there is a lot of grey area when it comes to defining an assistant. What exactly is “personal care?” A person could claim to need an assistant for virtually any reason they say. Since many of them pay for the assistance out of their own pockets, they get to make up the rules about what the assistant does and what is expected of them.

In essence, anybody that can afford an assistant could have one. As for who actually needs one, is a different story.

Some of the people that have a need for an assistant are:

  • Elderly people
  • People with dementia
  • People with disabilities
  • People with brain trauma
  • People with mental illness

The list could go on and on, but in a nutshell, anybody could justify the need for an assistant…especially if they had the money to pay for one.

Now that we understand the definition of this kind of assistant, the truth is that most of the people that get assistants are the elderly with health problems. 

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People With Disabilities

Needless to say, there are a lot of people out there with disabilities that hinder them from being able to live life normally. One of the biggest reasons why people need assistance is that they can not walk or get around on their own. 

When people lack the ability to walk or even stand up it makes it difficult for them to do any of the things that most of us do without even thinking about it.

For example, taking a shower, jumping in the car to go somewhere, doing the dishes, standing up, and moving to a different seat. We could go on, but the point is that when a person is disabled they need a lot of help with some of the most simple things that many people take for granted.

Whether it is a newfound disability, or it has been present for a long time the fact that the person with the disability needs help does not change. Some of the people have such severe disabilities all they can do is sit in a chair and move their eyes. 

In any event, the personal care person that steps into the role of being a caretaker for a person with severe disabilities has to be patient, compassionate, and ready to do things that most people would quickly shy away from.

People with severe disabilities still eat food and drink liquid, for the most part. When people eat and drink they also produce waste. If the patient can’t get up and move around, the odds that they will be able to make a bowel movement without help are pretty slim. Somebody has to help them to the place where they sit to go, and then, in many cases, that same person will have to assist with wiping away the excess waste from the orifice that extruded it.

One of the main functions of a care assistant is to make sure that the patient is taken care of and does not have to go without any needs. They will keep a watchful eye and a listening ear in place during the whole time they are caring for the individual.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the main role of the personal care assistant is to make sure that all of the needs of the patient are met. In many cases, without help, the patient would surely die. If a person can’t eat without assistance, eventually they would starve to death. Even if they could muster up enough finesse to make a meal and eat it, how would the mess get cleaned up? The potential for deadly bacteria to grow on the surfaces everywhere is pretty high when there is nobody to clean up the messes. This is where the assistant comes in and saves the day. Cooked meals, cleaning up messes, companionship, and assistance all day long. Who wouldn’t love that? The role of a personal care assistant is a pretty big one and the person that is fortunate enough to get that personal care should be thankful and grateful to no end.