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Personal Assistants In Health & Social Care

Individual Employers and Personal Assistants


The world of healthcare is changing and while once carers were predominantly employed by organisations and agencies, people with a disability or health condition now have the option of employing their own carers. This has benefits for both the individual employer and for the personal assistants they hire. Here you can read more about the roles of both the individual employer and a personal assistant.


What is an Independent Employer?


An individual employer is a person with a health condition or a disability who chooses to hire personal assistants to help them with their personal care and to support them in many other aspects of their life. They do this either through self-funding or using direct payments, a personal health budget, or other means.


What is a Personal Assistant?


A personal assistant is a person who is employed by an individual employer to support them with their personal care and in their day-to-day life. In some instances, a personal assistant is employed directly by the person who needs the support and in other cases, they are employed by a family member or by a representative for the individual.


What Are the Benefits of Employing a Personal Assistant?


If you need support in your daily life, there are many benefits of employing a personal assistant [1]. Some of these are as follows:


· The personal assistant works directly for you

· You decide the hours you want them to work

· You decide the duties to include in their role

· You get the personal support you need with regards to care

· You have company and someone to talk to

· You get support with many daily activities

· Hiring a personal assistant can help you live your life to the full


What Are the Benefits of Working as a Personal Assistant?


If you are considering working as a personal assistant and are weighing up the pros and cons of this role, you will find that there are many benefits to choosing this as your career. Some of the benefits of working as a personal assistant include [2]:


· Flexible working- Many personal assistant roles allow you to work around your other commitments. It is possible to find a job that fits into your personal schedule.

· Multiple roles- Some personal assistant jobs involve a lot of hours if someone needs support throughout the day. Other roles are for just a few hours each day if the individual employer only needs support with specific tasks. This means it is possible to work as a personal assistant for several people.

· Variety- The role of a personal assistant is extremely varied. The exact duties depend on the needs of the individual you are supporting. You will also find that no two days are the same. One day you may support someone in their home and the next you may accompany them to an appointment or shopping.

· Renumeration- Personal assistants who are hired by individual employers are often paid more than carers who work through an agency.

· Job satisfaction- Working as a personal assistant is very rewarding. Not only will you have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting someone to live their life to the full, you can also build a long-term relationship with your employer.


What Does the Personal Assistant Role Involve?


The role of a personal assistant can vary significantly as the duties depend on the needs of the person they are supporting. Each role will have a set of specified duties that have been decided by the individual employer in accordance with the aspects of their lives with which they need support. As a general guide, some duties undertaken by personal assistants may include support in the following areas:


· Personal care- Some individual employers need support with tasks such as dressing, washing, bathing, and going to the toilet. This aspect of support varies significantly from one individual employer to the next.

· Employment or education- To access education or to work in their chosen career, an individual employer may need additional help.

· Developing and maintaining relationships- With the support of a personal assistant, an individual employer may have more opportunities to meet new people and make new friends. A personal assistant can also offer them support to maintain relationships with their family and friends.

· Communicating- Some individual employers may need support to communicate their wants and needs with other people.

· Household tasks-this can include a range of tasks, such as cleaning, preparing meals, completing paperwork, and caring for a pet.

· Health needs- An individual employer may need care to recover from an illness or to maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Some aspects of health care may require further training.

· Appointments- Sometimes, an individual employer may have problems attending an appointment alone. The reasons for this may include mobility, communication, or social issues. They may need a personal assistant to offer support with any of these challenges.

· Hobbies and interests- An individual employer may have hobbies and interests that they need support to enjoy.

· Community- A personal support assistant can support their individual employer in accessing the community.


Employing a Personal Assistant as an Individual Employer


Becoming an individual employer for the first time may seem like a minefield. It is likely that you will feel uncertain about your responsibilities as an employer, your legal obligations, how you can recruit a personal assistant, and how you should decide the areas of your life with which you need support.


You can get help with each of these challenges. One excellent resource for learning more about becoming an individual employer is the toolkit compiled by Skills for Care. You can access this toolkit here [3].


Another option is to attend a local course run by experts who can offer you support and guidance in relation to many aspects of becoming an individual employer and making the most of having a personal assistant. Contact us at Create Care Training Ltd. for more information about courses [4].


Becoming a Personal Assistant


You don’t necessarily need qualifications to become a personal assistant although some training is beneficial. You can continue to gain training and qualifications while you are working in a personal assistant role as part of your continuous professional development. What is most important is that you have the right skills and values for this type of work.


Some important skills that you need include good written and verbal communication skills and the ability to listen. It is also essential that you have interpersonal skills, the ability to work in a professional manner and an understanding of how to treat people with dignity.


You should be willing to learn, flexible, understanding, empathetic, encouraging, respectful, enabling, reliable and responsible. You should also have a clear understanding of the challenges faced by people with a disability and show a commitment to equality and diversity [5].


Sources


[1] http://www.employingpersonalassistants.co.uk/benefits-of-employing-a-personal-assistant/

Benefits of Employing a Personal Assistant

[2] https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Employing-your-own-care-and-support/Resources/Working-as-a-PA/1.-What-is-a-PA/Being-a-personal-assistant/Being-a-personal-assistant.pdf

Being a Personal Assistant

[3] http://www.employingpersonalassistants.co.uk/

Skills for Care- Employing Personal Assistants Toolkit

[4] https://www.createcare.co.uk/

Create Care Training Ltd.

[5] https://www.createcare.co.uk/index.php?route=information/blog&blog_id=15


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