If you have done some research or have been involved in the field of home health care, you no doubt know that Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) are very important. Personal care assistants are some of the most needed and respected professionals in the field of home care. This is because they offer critical emotional and physical support to patients require in-house care and their loved ones?
Who are PCAs and What Role Do They Play?
PCAs also known as caregivers are trained professionals who offer care and assistance to the sick, elderly, disabled or people who are in a fragile state. These professionals work inside the home of the individual in need and assist in important daily tasks such as preparing and eating meals, catering for grooming and hygiene needs, helping in taking medication, completing household chores, bathing, using the bathroom and other chores that the person in need cannot do on their own.
Personal care assistants also offer companionship to their clients. For example, they accompany clients to appointments and community events, help with arts and also play games with them. If the client is unable to drive, PCAs usually handle the transportation needs of the clients and in some instances, they can also live with the client at home.
In most instances, personal care aides are typically engaged when the needs of an individual become too much for their loved ones such that an extra pair of hands is needed. Because of their training, PCAs are usually able to cater for the needs of the family member in need in such a way that their loved ones could not. This is often the case when the family member in need has an advanced illness or disability.
Given the level of assistance offered by these professionals, their importance to both the affected individual, their loved ones and friends cannot be understated. On hiring a PCA, family members can rest easy since their loved one will receive compassionate, diligent and adequate care from a highly trained skilled professional at all times.
The job of PCA is usually wide ranging and it covers a lot of broad areas. PCAs need a lot of skills in order to be proficient in their work. Some of the core skills that should be possessed by a prospective PCA include:
1. An Eye for Detail
The needs of every client usually differ. For example, there are some clients who have to stick to very strict schedules. This can at times mean that the PCA has to ensure that a client sticks to a specific diet, take certain medications daily or that they perform some specific physical routines during the day. Given the diverse and at times strict needs of clients, a PCA has to pay a lot of attention to detail.
2. Great Interpersonal Skills
A PCA has to have very good people skills. This is because different clients have unique needs. A personal care assistant should be able to interact and deal with clients who have different personalities. A PCA should be able to display empathy, compassion, patience and sensitivity towards what the client is going through.
3. Physical Strength
The job of a PCA is demanding and it at times requires that they use physical strength in order to successfully complete their work. For example, the job of a PCA usually requires that they lift clients in and out of bed, bathtubs, cars and wheelchairs. All these activities require that a PCA remains in good physical condition.
4. Great Time Management Skills
Since these professionals need to manage their own time and that of the client (at times a PCA can have more than one client), a great PCA should be very adept at time management. Time management skills are necessary since the work of a PCA often requires that they ensure that the client adheres to a set schedule such as when taking medication.
What Are the Daily Tasks Done by a PCA?
The daily life of a PCA can vary greatly. For example, if the personal care assistant lives with the client, they may begin the day by waking the client, bathing and clothing them, and then assisting them to complete other routine tasks such as shaving, brushing teeth and applying makeup. If the client is incapable of cooking, the aide can prepare a meal for them, help them feed and then clean up afterwards.
During the day, the aide can do other tasks to make the life of the client comfortable. They may include changing bedsheets, running errands, setting and attending appointments, and even engaging in social activities. If for some reason the client cannot go outside, the personal care aide can fill up the requisite prescriptions and shop for groceries. If loved ones visit the client, the aide can interact with them or leave for a short while to give the client time to talk with their loved one.
In some instances, a PCA can share care time with family members of the client. For example, family members can care for the client during the day while the PCA takes up the duty of care during the night. This type of arrangement is very common. The schedule to follow in such circumstances usually depends on the care needs of the client and the assistance that they need on a daily basis.
Why Are PCAs An Integral Part of Home Health Care?
PCAs are professionals who dedicate themselves to offering generous and compassionate care to people who need help. Because of the important work that they do, it is safe to say that PCAs are an important part of home care health. Thanks to their versatile skills and varying job descriptions, PCAs give the elderly, sick, disabled and their loved ones crucial mental, social, physical and emotional support on a daily basis making life easier and better for everyone.