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Organisation assistance

Some helpful tips from our research.
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© University of East Anglia

Disabled people’s organisations will often be able to help you recruit your personal assistant. But here are a few tips from our research and from hard-won experience.

  • Make sure you ask the right questions.
  • It’s very useful to have another person on the interview panel with you.
  • Some disabled people prefer to have a practical try-out of their potential assistants’ willingness to help with personal care tasks.
  • Others put a lot of weight on the references candidates provide.
  • Try not to pre-judge the candidates before you see them in action.
  • Don’t compromise on what is important to you.
  • But don’t reject anyone until you are sure you have the right person, they are available and willing to start.
  • Often, you need a mix of people to meet your variety of needs – if you have several assistants, you are less likely to be let down
  • In rural areas, choice is limited – some people have found Care Agencies to be vital stop-gap
  • If you can pay a competitive hourly rate, you will get better quality of assistance

Having selected the right individual(s), now make sure you are up to date on legal and employer tasks – the local disabled people’s organisation can guide you. Make sure you fulfil your legal obligation to provide a contract and job description, which helps avoid confusion.

Now don’t forget to provide an induction to your home and lifestyle, and perhaps a list of tasks which you expect the assistant to perform to achieve your daily routine. If particular things are very important to you, get them clear at the start. If you write them into the job description, it can be easier later, if the PA is getting things wrong, to insist on what you require or prefer.

Your previous PA may be able to do a handover for your new member of staff, which is always useful and saves you time and trouble.

© University of East Anglia
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The Role of Personal Assistants in Disability Support

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