Where do you find the best PCAs?May 29 06:08
Hey HR managers out there, whoops, I mean people with disabilities - I know all too well how doing double duty of both living your life and being in charge of a contingent of PCAs is no easy feat. And the art of finding quality PCAs is just as complicated. It’s a constant learning process with each new hire. Where do you look? Where were you told to look? What place has produced the best results?
The process I stick to in 2011 to find a new PCA has changed dramatically from when I first began to need PCAs as a teenager. Like with anything in life, the goal is to get better at something the more you do it, and thankfully I can say that has been the case with my Nancy Drew-esque PCA-finding skills. When my odyssey as a quad began, I was put with a home health care agency that did everything for me. They put the ads in the paper, interviewed the interested applicants and then sent them to me when I was in need of a new PCA.
While I had no direct hand in the search (which in retrospect I cringe even thinking about), it worked awesomely for me at the time. I was too newly injured and let’s face it, way too young, to become a veritable HR manager. I had no people skills, no idea what to look for. Who expects a 14-year-old to staff her own help? As the years progressed, and I grew up and got used to my situation, I realized being in control of my PCAs in a more active way was going to be required if I wanted to keep my sanity. There’s only so many times a girl can handle a non-English speaking PCA showing up who tries to steal her ATM card.
It was 2005 when it all changed; when I went from being a simple client at an home health care agency, with no direct say in who they hired or who they ultimately sent to my place (for my approval or disapproval), to utilizing Craigslist. My state insurance had just been altered, and I was told that if I began doing my own staffing, my PCAs could get paid more (they’d go from $9.50 to $11.00/hour). At first mention, the notion seemed like way too much work, but in the end, the allure of finding the perfect PCA won out. And I must say - it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made since being paralyzed.
I had the light bulb moment to use Craigslist after learning how to use it as an IT recruiter, and thought, “This will totally work for the healthcare industry.” I looked, and I was totally right. I put my ad up and before I knew it, I had 20 replies in three hours. Compare that to the decrepit newspaper ad strategy that had been my agency’s MO for years — finding live bodies but far from the right people — and I was hooked.
I can’t say enough about Craigslist. It has become my go-to place for finding help and I could never dream of going back to an agency.
If not Craigslist, what other spots have become your favorite place for finding quality PCAs?
Post a comment about this blog!
1. KAM | May 31 06:55
I am not able to hire my own but am provided a PCA. Looking forward to your next article on managing a PCA. The organization they work for has a big turn over. I have started using a white board to write down the things that I would like them to do. I had to cut my list in half as I have learned that they do not work as efficiently as I did when I was able.
2. Georzetta | May 31 07:41
I think that where you live will determine where you advertise. I'm from a small town and very few folk use craigslist. I've always hired and fired my own people but then, I was 19 when all this started. For what it's worth, I've written several guides to hiring and firing PCA's. You can find part one at http://hubpages.com/hub/Personal-Care-Assistants-A-Guide-to-Hiring-Training-and-Firing. The Veterans Association also has some excellent and practical advice.
3. Jim | Jun 01 10:23
I pay my PCA $30 per hour out of my own pocket. What agency pays for your PCAs? I live in Virginia. Is there a program in VA to pay for PCAs? Thanks
4. ivy | Jun 04 02:34
check out my website: Be a PCA! http://beapca.blogspot.com/
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Tiffiny Carlson is freelance writer and writes the “SCI Life” column for New Mobility. She's also a C6 quad from a diving accident that occurred when she was 14 years old. A lifelong resident of Minneapolis, Tiffiny has been a writer in the disability community for over 10 years and writes for several publications and blogs, as well as her personal blog BeautyAbility. Her work has also appeared in mainstream publications such as Nerve.com and Playgirl.