A personal care assistant (PCA) assists a disabled or chronically ill person with activities of daily living, such as dressing, preparing meals, conducting routine housekeeping, and maintaining the client's personal hygiene. Personal care assistants could be independently contracted by an individual, or they may work for an organization that provides care to many clients.
Many of the specific tasks performed by a personal care assistant vary depending on the specific needs of the individual being served. Most work is performed in the homes of the clients, and some tasks may be physically demanding, such as lifting or moving the client. A personal care assistant might work with a client on a short-term basis, such as if they are recovering from surgery, or they may provide care on an extended basis, such as with individuals with chronic conditions. Depending on the client's needs, the assistant may also with simple medical tasks, such as reinforcing dressings, assisting with prescribed motion exercises, taking vital signs, and preparing food for special diets.
A high school diploma or equivalent is usually preferred in this position. Some positions may require a satisfactory completion of a state-approved Personal Care Assistant course, along with a current CPR training certificate. The ability to read, write, speak, and understand the language of the client and (if employed by an organization) their agency is typically needed. Personal care assistants might also need to possess a valid driver's license and have access to an insured automobile for transportation to the job and any needed errands to be run during working hours.
Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Tasks
- Participate in case reviews, consulting with the team caring for the client, to evaluate the client's needs and plan for continuing services.
- Instruct, advise and perform housekeeping duties and running errands.
- Prepare and maintain records of client progress and services performed, reporting changes in client condition to manager or supervisor.
- Administer bedside and personal care, such as ambulation and personal hygiene assistance.
- Train family members to provide bedside care.