A good personal care attendant is someone who is caring, flexible and reliable. Finding someone who meets those qualifications involves a process that includes placing ads or contacting Paraquad (or, if you’re not in the St. Louis area, your local Center for Independent Living), completing face-to-face interviews and making the best choice you can among the people who apply.
Always emphasize that the applicant must have reliable transportation to get to the job, run errands or fulfill other appointments. Also, for your protection, it is important to require a criminal background check.
Describing what your personal care attendant will be doing helps eliminate applicants who aren’t going to be flexible or the ones who don’t have transportation. Set boundaries from day one to make sure you are receiving appropriate levels of care and so no one feels they are being taken advantage of. Always treat your personal care attendant as you’d like to be treated.
Here are some helpful interview questions to ask a potential personal care attendant:
- Tell me about yourself.
- What are the primary responsibilities of a personal care attendant?
- What do you think the importance of a personal care attendant is in the life of a person with a disability?
- What experience do you have that makes you a good candidate for this position?
- Why should I hire you as my personal care attendant?
- What hours and days will you be available?
- Do you have a car, and are you comfortable driving me?
- I plan to do a background check on all applicants who are strong contenders for the job. Is there anything you’d like me to know first?
- What hourly rate do you expect, and how do you expect to be paid?
- Do you have any questions or concerns at this point?
Make sure that you specify to a potential personal care attendant the assistance and support you need. You must be comfortable with the personal care attendant because some of the tasks may be intimate. Be clear about how you like things done.
It is very important to know if another party is paying. If they are, be sure to know the policies and guidelines. If you are paying, determine up front how much you will pay.
And finally, it’s a must to maintain backup support in case your personal care attendant get sick, quits or is fired.
Senija Bajric is the Consumer Directed Services (CDS) Attendant Services Manager at Paraquad. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.