People with Disabilities


PCA orientation and training

  • When is my PCA oriented and trained on my needs?

    Within the first seven days of working for you. Under traditional PCA you and your qualified professional train your PCA on your specific needs. Under PCA Choice you train your PCA on your needs, with help from your qualified professional if you request it.

    If your needs change, your qualified professional can help you train your PCAs on new tasks. If you have a tracheostomy or use a ventilator, your PCA needs specialized training from a nurse, doctor or respiratory therapist.

  • What training do PCAs receive?

    PCAs are required to complete two types of training:

    Your PCA provider agency may require additional training for their PCAs. This would be a good question to ask when you are choosing a provider agency.

  • How should I orient my PCA?

    There is more than one way to orient and train PCAs. Some people respond well to oral directions while others may prefer hands-on demonstrations. Some people may prefer written information.

    You may feel comfortable training your own PCA by yourself or you may like one of your experienced PCAs to assist with the training. Some people prefer to have their qualified professional do the training. You may consider writing down your expectations so they are clear and you and your PCAs can refer back to them.

  • What topics should I cover in orientation?


    Give PCAs a tour of their new worksite. Include:

    • Emergency escape locations 
    • Fire detectors and alarms 
    • Fire extinguishers 
    • Location of care plan 
    • Location of supplies or equipment they will be using 
    • Place where they can put their coat, belongings 
    • Restrooms 
    • Spaces where they will be working


    Different people have different boundaries. What one person is comfortable with or thinks is appropriate may not be what someone else considers appropriate. If you are with

    Live-in PCAs

    There will be additional issues to discuss with PCAs who live with you. Issues can include free time, common spaces used by everyone, cleaning schedules, use of personal items and payment of bills.

    Personal property

    PCAs should respect your personal property and ask permission if they want to use it. For instance, you may or may not want to share food and beverages with your PCAs.

    Personal phone calls

    PCAs should ask to make or answer a call (either on your phone or their cell phone). Placing a time limit on the calls may be beneficial. Also, be aware that long distance phone calls may happen. Talk to your PCA about costs prior to the phone call.


    You should discuss whether it is okay for a PCA to smoke in your house, or in a designated area outside of your house. Let them know about how to dispose of butts.

    Use of vehicles

    If you ask PCAs to drive for you, you may want to consider insurance and liability issues. There are issues whether the PCAs use your vehicle or theirs. Check with the PCA provider agency about their vehicle policies and procedures. PCA provider agencies are not required to offer transportation by the PCA. 

    Your needs

    As you go through your routine, explain why tasks need to be done. This will help PCAs realize the importance of these tasks. For example, if you get range of motion exercises, explain that this helps you maintain movement and flexibility.

    Ask for feedback about how you are explaining things. There may be a way to be clearer in your explanations.

    Be patient. Learning how to do new things takes a while. Do not become frustrated if your PCA does not catch on right away.

    Conduct specific training on your cares, such as how to transfer from a bed to a chair or how to style your hair.

    Give a lot of examples and explain any technical terms you use.

    Provide training on how to operate any life support equipment (i.e. feeding tubes, ventilators, etc.) you have. Include how to properly handle and clean this equipment or any other medical supplies you use.

    Stress the importance of documentation of tasks and times.

    Talk about any symptoms or health concerns they need to be aware of. Include anything that may arise and how to handle the situation. For example, if you have epilepsy, what do you expect the PCA to do if you are having a seizure?

    Talk about your disability and how it affects your life. The more your PCA knows about your disability, the better they will be able to meet your needs.

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