Coronavirus: information and updates

Managing a team of personal assistants

Managing several personal assistants (PAs) does not have to be difficult. It helps if you can find an agency that can support your needs.

Warning Weekly COVID-19 testing

Personal assistants working in adult social care in England can access weekly COVID-19 testing.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants (GOV.UK)

Work with your agency

Show the agency your care and support plan. The plan includes a description of the support you need. The agency should provide personal assistants to give you this support.

Care and support plan (NHS.UK)

Your agreement with the agency should include the tasks you expect your PAs to do.

You should also tell the agency:

  • if you want male or female PAs or if you’re willing to have a mix depending on the task
  • if you want the same people, apart from illness or holiday cover
  • which PAs you want for what tasks
  • when you want each PA to arrive and leave to avoid gaps in your care
  • to give each PA a copy of your care and support plan
  • to contact you as soon as possible if they are unable to provide the agreed care

Some agencies may find it easier to meet your needs than others.

For example:

Getting the same carer is easier if you only need them for 5 mornings a week.

If you need a team of carers over 24 hours, you’re not going to have the same carer the whole time.

Be prepared to compromise, but only if it does not affect your quality of life.

Warning Your home, your decision

It’s your home and your care so if the agency sends a PA you’re not happy with, you do not have to let them into your house.

Your agency will give you a written contract of what they will provide. You may have to pay extra for anything that’s not in your care and support plan.

Find care and support services (NHS)

Work with your personal assistants

If you’re using an agency, it has responsibility for managing your PAs. Discuss all aspects of your care with the agency. They should pass this information on to your personal assistants. If you feel confident to do so, you can work directly with your PAs on some practical issues.

You might want to:

  • explain what you expect from your PA and what they can expect from you
  • organise the handover so each PA knows when to arrive at work and when they can leave so there is no gap in your care
  • ask them to talk to you if they’re not happy with the work

Managing relationships with PAs can be challenging. Make sure your instructions are clear, but without being rude or confrontational. If this does not work, you could try talking to the agency. If you’re still not getting the level of service you want, complain. If you need to, find another agency.

Building a relationship with your PA

Managing problems with your PA

Challenging your agency

If you’re not happy with the agency’s level of service, tell them. Discuss what you’re not happy with. All good agencies will have a complaints procedure. They should also have a staff grievance procedure. Ask about these before you use them.

If making a complaint does not work, you could find another agency. Changing agency is much easier if you fund your own care or if there’s a lot of agencies in your area.

Personal care

Your agency may be unable to guarantee the same PA each time. This can be stressful especially for tasks that are personal or intimate.

Make sure you tell your agency which tasks might be sensitive for you. Explain you want the same people to do these whenever possible. If they do not do this, complain.

If you’re worried about approaching the agency, ask a family member, friend or advocate to do it for you.

Personal assistants are trained in personal care, so they should be able to put you at ease. If something makes you feel uncomfortable, tell them.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 23/09/2020

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