The role of a Personal Assistant

A personal assistant (PA) is a person who provides assistance with daily living tasks to someone who has a disability or other need for support.

The role of a PA can vary depending on the individual’s needs and preferences. Some PAs work with people who have a wide range of disabilities, while others specialise in working with people with a specific disability or condition.

For adults with cerebral palsy, a PA can provide a number of important services, including:
Helping with personal care tasks: This can be especially important for adults with CP who have difficulty with mobility or dexterity.
• Assisting with household chores: This can free up time for adults with CP to focus on other activities, such as work, school, or leisure.
• Providing transportation: This can help adults with CP to get to appointments, social events, and other activities.
• Being a companion: PAs can provide companionship and social support to adults with CP. This can be especially important for adults who are isolated or who have difficulty making friends.
• Helping with advocacy: PAs can help adults with CP to advocate for their rights and to access the services they need.

Man being helped into a car by his PA

Recruiting and working with a PA

Recruiting a PA for adults with CP requires clarity about needs and expectations. Seek a patient and understanding PA, preferably experienced with CP. Recommendations from friends, family, or fellow CP individuals can be invaluable in finding a suitable match.

When working with a PA, being explicit about your needs and expectations is as crucial as it is during recruitment, to ensure the best care. It’s vital to maintain respect and consideration for your PA, recognising their professional status and acknowledging their time and needs.

Providing feedback is a key part of the process, whether to express satisfaction or offer constructive criticism for service improvement. Additionally, flexibility is necessary since things might not always go as planned. An understanding attitude towards rescheduling or unexpected occurrences can go a long way.

Overall, working with a PA can significantly enhance your quality of life.

Scarlett Murray is a 22 year-old mother of one, and a talented writer who blogs about her experiences of living with Cerebral Palsy. Her form of CP is left-sided hemiphlegia. She tells us her story.

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Young woman with little girl (Scarlett Murray and daughter)

Clive Gilbert is a leading policy expert on assistive technology for disabled people, drawing in part, on his own experiences living with Cerebral Palsy. He tells us his story.

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Man using assistive technology (Clive Gilbert)