Managing PCAs

After you've found the best PCA, you want to keep them happy and yourself happy too. Managing them the right way is key, and good clear communication is critical to successfully managing them. Always being on the same page; that is where you want to be. Being polite, patient and kind are also important, and this goes both ways.

One of the most important things about managing PCAs however is not letting them walk over you. Remember, you're the one in charge. If you let them, some will only do what's necessary and then leave so you need to be on top of things to make sure you get the best care. Nobody cares more about you than YOU. It's up to you to find the best person to fit your situation.


After you've found a PCA, you'll need to train them in. You can have another PCA on-staff help with training by setting up a "shadow" session. This makes it super easy for new PCAs to learn how everything is done, especially when it comes to learning transfers. This means they come and watch a PCA work.

You also want to make sure you are clear from the very beginning what the job expectations are; that way they will know exactly what is required of them. Again, being clear about your needs is huge.

Also, having a visible "Checklist" for new PCAs is a great idea. This ensures everything you need is done before they leave. You don't want to be stranded without anyone around to help. In addition, some people don't recommend becoming friends with your PCAs, but this can really depend on you two. Usually though, it's a good idea to keep things more professional, that way if you do need to fire them it won't be difficult.

And remember, being nice helps keep good PCAs around for a long while. A smile goes a long ways and please, avoid demanding demeanor. Also, say please and thank you whenever possible. All of this can help so much. It's never ever a bad idea be polite. 

To learn more about PCAs and how they help people with spinal cord injuries, watch the video below of a C2 quadriplegic as he shares what PCAs mean to him.

Video: Be a PCA! What do PCAs mean to you?

Takeaway Points

  • Clear communication is critical for managing PCAs
  • Let them know from the very beginning what the job expectations are
  • Don't let PCAs take charge; remember you're the boss
  • Set up a "shadow" session so your new PCA can watch a current PCA help you
  • Be as polite as possible

Helpful Links:

Caring for Caregivers (PDF) - UABSCIMS -

Table of Contents
  1. Finding Personal Care Assistants
  2. Managing PCAs