household chores such as washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning
helping with dressing and personal hygiene
looking after pets (some agencies might not allow this)
transport and going out with you
help with medical appointments and medication
It’s also important to check if they have any restrictions and agree what tasks they will do. For example, you need them to buy meat but they’re a vegetarian or vegan.
What your PA should be like
All good PAs should be reliable, professional and willing to adapt to your needs. Think what is important to you: is it being patient, sharing similar tastes in activities or having a sense of humour?
Your PA should be someone you can spend time with and who can support you to do the things you want to do. It can be helpful to hire someone you feel could be a companion, but that you could stay in charge.
A PA should also be able to support you to do things that are important to you. For example, if you like going to the pub, you need a PA who is happy to support you to do that. You might want to have a trial period to make sure you’re getting the right support and the person can do what you need.
Warning Do not discriminate
Legally, employers must recruit people who are the best fit for the job description. They cannot discriminate because of things like age, race, religion or sexual orientation. These are in the Equality Act 2010 and are called protected characteristics (Citizens Advice).
If it’s important to you that your PA is a man or a woman, you must say why. This could be because you need a man or woman to help you get clean and dressed.
Write your job advert carefully. The Equality Act means you have to treat people fairly and offer equal opportunities.
Finding a PA
Someone you know
You can employ someone who you already know to be your PA.
If your local authority agrees, your PA can be someone you live with. Your local authority will only do this when they think it’s the best way for you to get the care that you need.
Your relationship may change if you employ someone you know. You should be able to trust them with your wellbeing and things like money. For example, if they buy you something from the shop, do they give you the right change? The relationship still needs to be professional even if you are friends.
You could advertise using:
online job sites
local PA registers
The advert must say:
what the job involves (the job description)
how much it pays
how people should apply, with contact details
if you want them to have any qualifications
what kind of checks they will need to pass before they start, for example, references, right to work in the UK and Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check
Recruiting a PA can be hard, and it might take a while. This can be because of how much you can pay. You may need to negotiate depending on your budget. This could include when using agencies. They may be able to help you find someone, even if you only use them for a short time.
It can also be difficult to find someone who is reliable and can work the hours you need. You might need to look at the qualifications you’re asking for and your person specification. Decide what’s most important to you. The best PA for you might not be the person with the most experience or qualifications.
Try different approaches. Pooling personal budgets with other people and sharing a PA can help.