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personal assistant PA

Katherine Hayward
Katherine Hayward Community member Posts: 74 Listener
I have spastic tetraparesis CP, hydrocephalus with a shunt and am partially sighted. I rely on a powerchair inside and outside of the house, and need assistance with all daily tasks. My parents are reluctant to help me and say some of my care needs are too intimate, and they don´t have time.
In the past I had a team of carers from a local private company in 4 times a day but my parents and I realise this is not enough care. It is due to this and my parents´reluctancy to care for me aside from the care I need that means I´m looking to get a PA. I also need accompanying when out due to my sight and the fact I tire when driving my powerchair so need the person with me to help with that. I cannot judge distance depth or speed due to visual perception problems arising from my CP.
How would I go about getting a PA? Who´s in charge of funding and payment? I was unable to pay my previous carers myself. What´s the procedure and paperwork involved?
Awhile ago, I read an article in DN magazine about the fact that some people interview and employ their own carers, I´m not sure how I´d pay them, does this have a high success rate?
I had thought my boyfriend could be my PA, and contacted Carers´UK who said I could use direct payment to pay him if he wasn´t living with me but not if he was. Is this right?
Who else can be a carer? can it be a family member or boyfriend? if I´m not able to get one elsewhere?
Due to the amount of care I need, could they recieve a lump sum of money to care for me as if they were a carer working for a company?
What are the current laws about care and getting PA´s?


  • ScopeHelpline
    ScopeHelpline Community member Posts: 207 Courageous
    Hi Katherine

    You should find answers to some of your questions on the Direct Gov website at http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/HealthAndSupport/ArrangingHealthAndSocialCare/DG_10034395.

    Please contact the Scope Response helpline if you have any questions that we may be able to answer for you.

    Kind regards

    Forum Moderator
  • kingyclan
    kingyclan Community member Posts: 17 Listener
    That's alot of questions, lets see if I can answer some.

    My son has been assessed by SS and been awarded direct payments. This means the money to pay for the recommended package we have agreed is paid into a separate bank account and I use this money to pay for the care I buy in. Personally I prefer to directly employ which does mean dealing with application forms, references, payroll and stuff like that. I find PA's by advertising in papers (the cost of which is included in my DP package), online, word of mouth etc. You can use an agency which takes away alot of the headache but I have never been comfortable with that myself. Six monthly a DP auditor visits and I present my bank statements, payroll slips for audit.

    On the plus side you should get a certain degree of legal backup. I don't know if its UK wide but my DP auditor gave me blank contracts, links to a payroll company, does my CRB checks. The DP package also include public liability insurance and if like me you chose to use your own payroll company, an agreed amount towards those costs.

    Some people find the paperwork onerous but I am used to dealing with the Public Guardianship Office and by comparison I find the DP paperwork easy. I have been employing PA's for over ten years now and that's alot of experience in finding the right people. I employ a very large team and this works really really well.

    Getting a DP package is not always straightforward, it took me 18mths to battle out a package that I was happy with. Since then its been reviewed and increased and all is working well.

    You don't say how old you are but this could have a bearing on your package. The older you are the more your parents will be disregarded in terms of their ability to provide care. Incidentally if your parents are providing care they are entitled to a carers assessment of their needs.

    In your situation it might be better to start gently with an agency and maybe one directly employed PA and when you feel more confident you can take the reins a bit more. Employing family, boyfriends etc shouldn't be a problem but may be initially looked on with some suspicion but if you can provide paperwork to show they are being employed and paid it shouldn't be an issue.

    I don't know if it would make you feel any better - you sound a bit down re the parents - but I am a parent to a 15yr old and more and more feel strongly that I want to be a parent, not a carer/PA. Of course, I do his care when needed, but wherever possible now I leave changing, showering, toileting etc to his care team. I feel this is more appropriate and frees me up to be his mum - not a carer, physio, SALT etc. In different circumstances, at 15 I probably would only see my son when he wanted clothes and food but that's not what life has dealt us. As a teenager he needs space from me and vice versa. Try and think of it as a positive response that will help maintain a loving long term relationship.

    Good luck - long reply - hope some of it helps.
  • Katherine Hayward
    Katherine Hayward Community member Posts: 74 Listener
    Hi, thanks so much for the reply. I
  • libbyt
    libbyt Community member Posts: 30 Courageous
    Hi Kingyclan

    Thanks for a really useful post. Our son is 15 and we are waiting for a Social Services assessment of need to see what he is entitled to. We would like him to have a PA so that he has some independence from us.

    One question, are direct payments means tested?

    It's all new to us as we have never had any involvement with social services but just plodded on ourselves but now feel that we should find out what he is entitled to as an adult.

    Any advice would be appreciated

  • kingyclan
    kingyclan Community member Posts: 17 Listener
    Hi Libby,

    In short - No. If they ask any financial questions they shouldn't be. I think the situation in adult services is different but not quite there yet.

    My cynical suggestion would be to get a package in place asap and make it as robust as possible and HOPEFULLY it will be carried through or at least taken into account in adult services.

    If you are approaching SS I've always found it best to think about what is needed before the assessment and ask for exactly what you need ie two people for two hours every morning. You might not get but if you don't ask someone might decide one person three times a week for an hour is appropriate.

  • ebendog
    ebendog Community member Posts: 1 Listener
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