What is Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Care?



Personal Care Assistant / Aide (PCA)

What is Personal Care Assistant (PCA) Care?

One of the greatest needs of seniors who want to live independently is having someone to help manage their daily living activities. Personal Care Assistants (PCA) make it possible for older adults to get their needs met while remaining in the comfort of a familiar environment.

A Personal Care Assistant / Aide (PCA) is trained to provide a wide range of services to individuals in their own homes. Generally, people with a physical or mental disability or older adults who need help with certain everyday tasks use Personal Care Assistants (PCA)’s services.

Some services provided by a PCA overlap with those of other in-home care workers, such as home health aides (HHA) or nursing assistants. For instance, in-home workers help clients with bathing, dressing, and grooming. But only workers with state certifications and licenses, such as certified nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses, can provide basic nursing services.

Nonetheless, Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s provide a beneficial service to people who previously cared for themselves and handled basic life functions on their own but now rely on someone else to help them. Skilled and compassionate Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s have a way of developing a relationship and building trust with people who need their services.

Services Provided by a Personal Care Assistants / Aide (PCA)

A Personal Care Assistants (PCA) offers personal care services that are part of a client’s established plans of care. PCAs provide services that include helping clients:

  • Maintain their personal hygiene by assisting them with bathing, dressing, grooming
  • Handle toileting and incontinence care
  • Transfer from the bed to a chair, and other locations
  • Eat meals, for those who have difficulty feeding themselves

Besides providing personal care, a PCA helps with household chores. Having someone else take care of these duties gives clients the satisfaction of knowing that essential housekeeping chores will not be neglected. A PCA helps in this way by:

  • Washing dishes
  • Doing laundry
  • Sweeping and vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Making beds
  • Preparing meals
  • Grocery shopping
  • Taking care of pets
  • Running errands when needed

Most importantly, Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s provide the companionship many clients need to maintain their self-worth and dignity. Family members may not be readily available to provide care or visit their loved one, especially if they are raising a family or do not live in the same area.

Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s, on the other hand, are there each day to:

  • Accompany the client to medical appointments
  • Help the client with exercising, as prescribed by a doctor
  • Play games and help clients with their hobbies
  • Help clients maintain a prescribed diet
  • Read to clients
  • Engage in meaningful conversations with clients

In some cases, PCAs are with older adults more than their clients’ family members. So, it stands to reason that concerned family members want to talk with PCAs to find out how their loved one is progressing.

Paying For Personal Care Services

In some instances, Personal Care Assistants (PCA) may work as an independent contractor, which means the worker handles his or her own personal taxes. A family or an individual who hires Personal Care Assistants (PCA) for private duty is considered a private employer and must pay Social Security, unemployment, and payroll taxes for the worker.

In many cases, Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s are hired by home care agencies that handle all payroll taxes and other employment issues.

Besides paying out of pocket for Personal Care Assistants (PCA) services, individuals may be eligible for programs run by local and state social service agencies. For example, a waiver services program allows people qualified to receive medical assistance to have personal care services.

Social services agencies also offer alternative care programs that provide home and community-based services for individuals who need skilled nursing care but choose to stay in their homes rather than move into an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s Provide Emotional Support

Just as essential as personal care services are the emotional support that Personal Care Assistants (PCA)s provide clients and their families. For many people, whether an older adult or an adult with disabilities, having someone whom they can trust makes it easier for them to manage daily activities and improve their quality of life.


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