Being a personal assistant for care

A personal assistant for care (PA) is someone who is employed to provide personal and domestic everyday support needed to help people to lead an independent personal and social life at home.

What is a Personal Assistant

PAs perform a variety of tasks, including domestic and personal care, helping with child care, looking after pets or leisure and social activities. It’s an important role and can be an extremely rewarding career, as you will be supporting someone to live an independent and active personal and social life.

This can include people with physical or learning disabilities, older people, families with children with disabilities or people with mental health issues. It’s a very flexible role, you can work for just one or, if you prefer, a number of people, building up your hours and earning more.

The wide range of tasks a PA may be asked to carry out might include:

  • help with personal care, such as washing and dressing
  • support to access community, social and leisure activities
  • support with medication
  • help with household tasks, such as cleaning and laundry
  • driving
  • preparing meals
  • support with communication
  • looking after pets

Your specific role will depend on the requirements of the employer or person you are a PA for.

Skills you will need

You will need to be able to develop a strong and trusting relationship with the person you are supporting and enjoy helping them to live life the way they choose. Your role is not to make decisions for them, but to help them live an independent life. A PA needs to have excellent listening and communication skills, along with good literacy, numeracy and interpersonal skills.

You must be responsible, reliable and respectful, always encouraging, enabling and treating people with dignity. Some PAs can work in a coaching capacity – helping their employers develop their skills and independence.

How it works

The disabled person that requires the support or their representative will be your employer and provide you with an employment contract. You may be required to have a DBS check on GOV.UK and you will need to show you have the right to work in the UK on GOV.UK.

Your wages will be paid through a payroll company from the direct payment that your employer or their representative receives from the council. You will be entitled to 5.6 weeks of paid holiday a year.

Independent Lives

A user-led organisation who have been working with Croydon since 2019 to find and recruit PAs and provide information and advice on the legal obligations of being an employer. Independent Lives work directly with people with disabilities and older people.

When someone has a Direct Payment Independent Lives can provide a support service that helps the person arrange and manage their own personalised care and support by becoming an employer and recruiting their own Personal Care Assistants.

Independent Lives have an experienced team of advisers who will provide advice and support, including:

  • telephone/online support 
  • employment fact and support sheets
  • a Direct Payment customer handbook
  • group training and events
  • home visits (where necessary)
  • disclosure & barring service checks (DBS) 

Independent Lives
Telephone: 01903 219482.

Training and support

Working as a PA can provide invaluable experience, as well as training and qualifications, to assist you to further your career in health or social care. 

Independent Lives provides an award winning training Service which was developed with the support, insight and expertise of people with complex health and disabilities. They provide a program of health and social care training and workbooks, subjects include but are not limited to: 

  • moving and handling 
  • first Aid
  • medication awareness
  • infection control

Independent Lives
Telephone: 01903 219482.

PAs can access online training through the council’s training department.

PA employers can also access training for their PAs through the Skills for Care website. Discuss your training requirements with your employer.