Finding, managing, and paying for reliable personal care assistance is one of the biggest challenges for young adults and families affected by Duchenne. Find tips and resources on how to find and manage PCAs here!
A personal care attendant (PCA) can be anyone from a registered nurse to your high school friend or college roommate. They can help with basic living, such as laundry, dishes and cleaning, or with more complex procedures such as changing G-tubes, trachs, and assisting with toileting and dressing.
TERMS TO KNOW
- RN: A registered nurse is an individual who has graduated from a nursing program and has met the requirements outlined by a country, state, province or similar licensing body in order to obtain a nursing license. An RN typically prepares an initial patient assessment and outlines a home care plan (sometimes this is prepared by a physician), which is usually carried out by a PCA.
- LPN: A licensed practical nurse can provide basic nursing care, generally working with the direction of and under the supervision of a physician or RN.
- CNA: A certified nursing assistant, or home health aide, helps patients or clients with basic health care needs under the supervision of an RN or LPN. Most are trained in CPR and first aid.
- PCA: A personal care attendant, or companion, is an individual who helps with basic daily routines for individuals who have a chronic illness or injury but is not certified to assist with medical care.
We will use the general term PCA throughout this site. You should choose the type of PCA based on your unique needs and situation.
Finding PCAs can be a difficult part of independent living. There are a few ways to find PCAs: home health agencies, an employment agency or care provider, or on your own. We'll walk through each option below.
Home health care agencies: These agencies place professionals in your home and serve as the PCA's employer, which means they handle background checks, tax documents and hiring. They are responsible for finding a replacement PCA if a PCA is unavailable, and usually handle insurance and payroll responsibilities. You may have to meet minimum hours and may not have as much control over PCA selection.
- Synergy HomeCare: Includes several offices throughout the U.S. and offers care management, personal assistance, errands, transportation, meals, light housekeeping, companionship, live-in care and 24-hour care.
- Maxim Healthcare: Includes several offices in every state and offers registered nurses (RN), licensed practical nurses (LPN), licensed vocational nurses (LVN) and certified nursing assistants (CNA).
- Bayada Home Health Care: Includes several offices in 22 states and offers nursing care for short-term or ongoing care needs. Rehabilitation and therapeutic services include physical, occupational and speech therapy, and it provides assistive care services that help clients with self-care needs and household tasks.
Employment Agencies: They do not coordinate insurance and payment. You will be the employer of your PCA and will have flexibility to interview and select your PCA. Three national employment agencies include:
- Care.com: A public corporation that helps families find child care, senior care, special needs care, tutoring, pet care, housekeeping and more.
- Indeed: Worldwide employment-related search engine for job listings, including PCAs.
- Consumer Direct Care Network: An employment network that provides resources and employment placement. A robust site that helps individuals understand their needs and find someone to support them.