Preparing for the Challenge


  • Get savvy about all aspects of employing PCA’s.
  • Learn strategies for canvassing; screening; Interviewing & Managing PCA’s
  • Explore conflict resolution methods


  • LICIL’s CDPAP—A Quick Review
  • Finding candidates for the job
  • Screening responses
  • Conducting interviews
  • References & Background Checks
  • Steps to take once you’ve made your selection
  • Agenda (Continued)
  • Signing-up PCA’s with CDPAP
  • The Contract:  Defining roles and needs
  • Training
  • Honing your management skills
  • Avoiding difficulties
  • Resolving problems
  • The task of firing a PCA


  • Attention to detail will go a long way to developing effective and lasting working relationships with PCA’s. 
  • Get comfortable with the various aspects of your role as employer
  • Finding Candidates for the Job
  • Consult with friends who work with PCA’s.
  • Place ads in local papers, including disability publications like Able Newspaper and those targeted to specific audiences, ie; ethnic groups.
  • Place flyers on bulletin boards in local churches; colleges/universities; & libraries

Screening Responses

  • Take initial clues from phone calls received.  GO WITH YOUR GUT!
  • Avoid setting-up interviews with persons who make a negative impression on the phone.
  • Arrange interviews with those who sound enthusiastic and demonstrate an understanding of job requirements.

The Interview

  • Hold the interview in a location where you are comfortable.
  • Ask a friend to sit-in on the interview.
  • Have a set of detailed questions prepared.
  • Look for signals that indicate whether the applicant is a good match for the position.
  • Ask the candidate to explain their understanding of the job and its requirements.
  • Underscore any critical points, ie; house rules and unusual scheduling issues. 
  • Confirm facts about your daily routine & expectations of the applicant.
  • Explain that you will conduct a thorough reference & background check.
  • Discuss issues including required hours; pay; benefits; etc…
  • Provide the opportunity for applicant to ask questions and let them know when you anticipate making a final decision.
  • Reference & Background Checks – “The Devil is in the Details”
  • Information from sources like professional & personal references and law enforcement agencies are critical to ensuring that the person(s) working with you in your home are trustworthy.
  • You cannot afford to take applicants at their word.  Your safety and peace-of-mind could be at stake if you fail to check references and background data.

Conducting Effective Reference Checks

  • Avoid applicants who cannot provide references.
  • Contact ALL references provided by the applicant.
  • Identify yourself and the reason for your call
  • Keep a record of those you spoke with and their remarks.
  • Confirm the reference’s relationship to the applicant.
  • Ask how long they have known the applicant.
  • Address issues ie; work ethic and honesty.

You’ve Made Your Choice!  Now What?

  • It’s time to get your PCA(s) and backup staff registered with LICIL’s CDPAP program.
  • Several important steps must be taken in order to allow the process to go smoothly.

Back-up Coverage—An Absolute Must!

  • Since CDPAP affords you control over who works for you, you, in turn, are expected to arrange for back-up coverage in case your regular PCA is ill or on vacation.  REMEMBER:  LICIL is not responsible for providing back-up PCA’s.

Therefore, in order to sign-up for the program, you must register a DSS-Assigned number of back-up PCA’s.  (This number is determined by the hours of service your are deemed eligible for by DSS.)

The Contract – Defining Roles & Needs

  • The CDPAP Contract is the document that identifies clearly the responsibilities & expectations of both consumer & PCA.
  • It can be revised according to the needs of the consumer.

Training Your PCA

  • Unlike traditional home care agencies, CDPAP empowers you – the consumer– to provide any necessary training of PCA(s).
  • You know your needs better than anyone else, and therefore, are the person who should guide your PCA on issues of your care.
  • Be clear from the outset and allow the PCA to ask questions in order to avoid problems later.
  • Re-training may be necessary at some point, particularly if your needs change or a PCA could benefit from a refresher session.

Managing Your PCA:
The Art of Diplomacy

  • A good manager is an effective communicator.
  • Help your PCA’s to feel that you are always approachable if they have a question or concern
  • Make your expectations clear…
    But remember to be fair.  The best consumer-PCA relationships are built on mutual respect and the ability to consider issues from the other’s point of view.
  • Avoid asking your PCA to perform tasks not included in your contract agreement.

Steering Clear of Potential Problems

  • Be clear from the outset.
  • Always Communicate.
  • Stick to the Contract.
  • Be fair & Flexible.
  • Don’t Manipulate.
  • Address problems when they occur.

Conflict Resolution Tips

  • Address concerns in a calm and professional manner.
  • Avoid accusations whenever possible.
  • Remain open to what the other person has to say.
  • Explain where you are coming from without losing your temper.
  • Suggest reasonable solutions.
  • Arrange for an objective person to act as mediator if you cannot resolve the issue on your own.

The Decision to Fire A PCA: A Choice to be Made Carefully

  • Don’t jump the gun.  Good help is hard to find.
  • Try every possible means to address & resolve problems BEFORE they escalate
  • Be certain that your choice is based on fact rather than emotion.


  • Never feel that you must continue working with a PCA who is physically or emotionally abusive.

The Take-Away

  • The opportunity to hire PCA’s and maintain control over who works with you is a spectacular opportunity.
  • Finding the right PCA(s) won’t always be easy, but it is worth the “legwork” you must put into it.
  • Utilize resources.
  • Go with your gut.
  • Conduct reference & background checks.
  • Learn effective management skills.
  • Stick to the contract & make boundaries clear from the outset.
  • Have back-up PCA’s selected at your initial sign-up with CDPAP.
  • Communication and willingness to address problems immediately can preserve a cooperative & successful consumer/PCA working relationship that will last.
  • Make careful and thoughtful choices.
  • Never remain in an abusive situation.
  • Contact LICIL for guidance when you need it.

Suggested Reading

  • Caregivers and Personal Attendants: How to Find, Hire and Manage the People Who Help YouBy Alfred H. DeGraff
  • Avoiding Attendants from Hell: A Practical Guide to Finding, Hiring & Keeping Personal Care Attendants. (2nd edition) By June Price



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