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Over 61 million people in the United States have some kind of disability. Many of these people have serious mobility limitations. 3.6 percent of them even have trouble with basic self-care tasks such as dressing or bathing.

It’s not uncommon for an elderly individual, a person with a disability, or someone who has had an accident to have trouble with basic errands. They may even have difficulty taking care of themselves. While family members may love to help them, it’s not always easy to do with work and other responsibilities getting in the way.

Fortunately, an in-home care agency can help. In this guide, we’ll tell you more about what a personal care attendant is and help you understand what they do.

What Is a Personal Care Attendant?

A personal care attendant (PCA) is someone who offers care and assistance to individuals who have trouble handling everyday living activities.

There are many reasons why an individual such as a senior may need personal care. These individuals may have disabilities or chronic conditions that hinder their independence.

PCAs may work in a variety of environments such as hospitals, medical clinics, and emergency rooms. It could also include assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and rehab centers. They may also provide in-home care as well.

There are a variety of individuals whom a PCA may provide care to. This includes individuals with dementia. It also includes individuals with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or ALS.

Aside from senior care, they may also assist anyone who is recovering from an accident or illness.

What Does a Personal Care Attendant Do?

The range of care that a PCA offers is extensive and will include all non-medical needs that relate to a person living their daily life.

Assistance could include bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, toileting, ambulating, and providing medication reminders. PCAs may also help to perform household duties and chores. This could include housekeeping, doing laundry, shopping, and preparing meals.

On top of this, personal care attendants can also serve as companions for individuals as well. The isolation that goes along with a loss of independence can be tough for individuals to handle. It can especially be difficult for individuals who have dementia and similar conditions.

A PCA can spend time with an individual and talk to them while performing activities such as walking, playing card games, or watching movies.

Differences Between Personal Care Attendants and Certified Nursing Assistants

One of the common questions that people ask about PCAs is how they differ from certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Although both types of home health care providers are similar, they aren’t quite the same.

A PCA’s focus is on giving personal care and attention to an individual who has trouble maintaining independence. They will usually have basic first aid and CPR knowledge and may know some basics about medical care. They won’t have specialized medical or nursing licenses.

A CNA will be qualified to give basic nursing services. This is in addition to the basic care that a PCA can provide. This could include taking vital signs, drawing blood, and administering medications.

Making the Decision to Hire a Personal Care Attendant

There are many reasons why an individual may need to hire a personal care attendant, but doing so can be well worth it. A personal care attendant can help an individual start living their daily life comfortably again.

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