‘Who Cares?’ – Hiring a PA: Pros & Cons from Sanjeev
My name is Sanjeev and I am a journalist, producer, and development worker for Pathfinders, with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Like many with a neuromuscular condition, I rely on other people like carers, personal assistants, family, and friends to go about my regular day whether going out or staying in, as well as for personal care. For my care, I use a mix of PAs and a care agency as well as my family. These are the pros and cons I’ve found from my experience with hiring a PA (Personal Assistant) – an option for providing care instead of going through an agency.
Hiring PAs: The Pros
You decide who supports you
One great thing about hiring a PA is: you decide who supports you. This is in comparison to a care agency, where a team is assigned and you have no choice. This allows you to build relationships with your PA – and it’s much less awkward.
Employing P.A.S. yourself is generally much cheaper than care agencies or other types of support. Typically, it costs £10-£12 per hour for you to employ your own P.A. By comparison, care companies charge around £16 and upwards. This allows you to get more hours out of your care package, and therefore more support when you need it. Recent government cuts mean applying for more hours is even more challenging than ever, so this could be a good method for more support hours if you really needed to and gives you the option.
Hiring PAs: The Cons
Having the same person every day
If you don’t get along with your P.A., you’ll likely run into other issues. It’s important to be on the same page with your P.A., as you’ll spend a lot of time together. If you don’t form a good bond, the working relationship won’t last. That’s not good for either party. It takes time to get used to being around someone for such a length of time. This goes for life in general too.
Difficult to organise cover if you don’t have a backup
If you don’t have an organised backup plan, then finding cover for your P.A. during sickness could prove difficult. If you go down this route it’s vital that you have arrangements in case this happens. For me, the best way is to use a care agency for a part of your weekly shifts just so they stay in the loop and also means that there’s more chance they can cover sickness periods or holidays.
So in conclusion, there are definitely some positives to take away from using a P.A. and I think its worth while because you can get more hours from your care package which is a plus (if that’s what you want). If you want more hours without having to painstakingly go through the council then you should have a look into it. Remember the most important thing is that you get the support that you need and want, so do what works for you whether that be a care agency, family or P.A. Choose a support that benefits you the most instead of people around you.