Personal Assistance for Independent Living
Personal assistance service is a vital support to enable some persons with disabilities who need some help to live independently, participate actively in their family and community life, and join the workforce.
Personal assistance service is more than just helping a person with intimate personal tasks or activities of daily living. It is also about supporting a person with a variety of tasks in different environments, such as: homes, schools, workplaces, healthcare settings, shopping, banking, travelling, emergency services, etc.
Personal assistance is often viewed as something that is done to and for a person with disability…This thinking is no longer acceptable…WHO, 2010
Persons engaging in personal assistance services are not a passive recipients; rather they have the autonomy and are at the centre of decision-making. They decide what assistance they need, how they prefer to receive assistance, where they need support with their needs, when they want to receive assistance, and who can be their personal assistant.
Who is a Personal Assistant?
A Personal Assistant is a trained professional who provides assistance to individuals who, due to various reasons, have difficulty performing various everyday tasks independently or safely.
It is more commonly known that a Personal Assistant provides assistance to a person with or without disability at home with activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, bowel and bladder care, light housekeeping, meal preparation, shopping, and transferring (for example, from wheelchair to bed, from wheelchair to toilet/bath).
However, a Personal Assistant may also provide assistance with other tasks in settings outside of home, such as attending a hospital appointment, taking public transport, attending a forum/conference, attending a sport/cultural activity, casting a vote during elections, surveying potential homes.
Who uses Personal Assistants?
Many people of different age and with diverse needs use personal assistance services, including the elderly or persons with disabilities. People who are recovering from an illness or injury may also require temporary personal assistance services.
*Note: Resources linked are in English and pdf or webpage format, unless stated otherwise.
Personal assistance, chapter in book: Community-based Rehabilitation: CBR Guidelines, by World Health Organization (WHO)
Personal Assistance: The key to Independent Living by Dr Adolf Ratzka
Reports from Other Countries/Regions
Personal Assistance Services in Europe by European Network on Independent Living (ENIL)
What is good personal assistance made of? Results of a European survey (available in webpage, pdf, epub and audio format) by European Network on Independent Living
Making the Move to Managing Your Own Personal Assistance Services (PAS): A Toolkit for Youth With Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood by The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability for Youth, HeiTech Services, Inc., Concepts, Inc.
Personal Assistance In The Workplace: A Customer-Directed Guide Manual by VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports
Hiring, Training, And Supervising Personal Assistants in Part Two: To The Consumer by Independent Living Institute