Nobody goes through life without help. Nobody’s alone. People with physical disabilities, especially those with severe mobility issues, require more help than those who are able-bodied. We need help with everything, from getting ready in the morning to going to bed at night. This help comes in the form of personal care assistants (or attendants, or aides), or PCAs for short. Finding these PCAs can be difficult and overwhelming. It’s a never-ending cycle, I’m always looking to hire a new PCA to fill out my hours. I’ve been hiring and managing PCA’s for just under 10 years, and I’ve found that knowing where to look for one is half the battle. Just like with any other job, you have to let people know you’re hiring. So where are some good places to leave fliers, or post if you’re doing it online? This article will discuss places I’ve advertised and found success in the past, and hopefully you can too.
Let’s get homecare agencies out of the way first. I used a homecare agency for the first 4 years of my PCA journey. While it did the trick, there were a lot of hoops to jump through. In addition, going through a homecare agency can also be really restricting. Personal care assistants will have a lot more restrictions with what the agency will allow them to do. For example, most agencies have issues with assisting with medications, even if you’re right there with the PCA while they get them out.
On the plus side, you don’t need to worry about finding individual PCAs for your hours. The agency will do that for you. And, if your PCA calls in sick, they usually have a backup. I say “usually” because the last two agencies I’ve gone through had a terrible time even staffing me to begin with because of the rural area I lived in.
Colleges and Universities
The best luck I had with PCAs was while I was at college and used college students. It was especially convenient when I lived on campus and they lived in the same dorm as me. What was even better is I gained a network of candidates because my PCAs would recommend people they knew to fill in shifts. You will basically have a never-ending pool of potential PCAs if you hire the right people in the beginning. Recruiting from colleges is something I recommend for anyone who lives near a university. I also recommend recruiting outside of just nursing/pre-med majors. By only recruiting one major, you can run into the issue of all your PCAs being busy at the same time with extracurriculars and assignments.
Facebook has many, many groups that are local buy/sell/trade and garage-sale type groups. I’ve found luck finding PCAs by posting here, because these people are local. An added advantage is that Facebook is very shareable. This is beneficial if someone in the group you post in knows their friend/family member might be interested, they can then easily share your post. I combined this with looking at my college by posting that I was hiring in my class’s facebook page. I had great success with this.
Don’t limit yourself to just groups either. Post on your own page that you’re hiring, and encourage your friends and family to share your post. Who knows? Maybe they know someone who’s looking for work. And having a mutual acquaintance can be a good reference during the interview process.
It’s old-fashioned, but it works. Coffee shops, grocery stores, parks, anywhere there’s a bulletin board for public use you better bet I’m putting a flier. These places might not get tons of traffic, but they work. Bulletin boards are great for proximity. By putting fliers on boards close to your home, you can be confident that the person who found it probably comes that way often and has no problem driving the extra 5-10 minutes to your house. One of the biggest problems with finding reliable PCAs can be finding people who are willing to make the drive, especially in more rural areas. This tip can go along with looking at colleges and universities, as these places have tons of bulletin boards.
Churches usually have a weekly newsletter/bulletin with all sorts of things in them such as what activities are going on that week and advertisements for local businesses. This is a fantastic place to take out an ad saying you are hiring PCAs, especially if it’s the church you attend. In churches with a large number of members, this can be a great way to get the word out.
I touched on this a bit earlier, but it deserves its own section because it’s worked out the best for me out of all of these. Assuming you aren’t starting from scratch with hiring, your PCAs have friends and family. They know other people, some of whom might be looking for work. If you trust your PCA’s judgement, ask them if they know anyone. I doubled my staff size by doing this, and the referral hires were fantastic.
Hiring a full team of personal care assistants to help you live independently is incredibly difficult, and knowing where to find people is half the battle. Getting creative in how you advertise that you’re looking for PCAs can help you stand out, and gets people excited about applying. Not everyone who applies is going to get hired, but the more places you can get the word out there the more applicants you will be able to choose from.