Personal Care Assistant Job Description
A personal care assistant works one-on-one with the elderly or people with disabilities. Part of the job description of a personal care assistant could include helping an individual with everything from bathing to preparing meals.
A personal care assistant provides care for those who are unable to assist themselves with ordinary tasks such as grooming, dressing or eating, and may also perform household chores.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Personal Care Assistant
- Performs personal hygiene tasks such as bathing, brushing teeth and washing hair
- Assists with administering medications
- Turns patients who are bedridden, and helps lift them when needed
- Dresses and undresses clients
- Performs tasks that will ensure the comfort of their patients. Some examples are giving massages and applying lotion to the skin
- Aids with grooming tasks such as brushing hair and clipping nails
- Feeds patients, cutting or mashing food as needed to allow them to swallow
- Performs household cleaning chores such as washing dishes, doing laundry and vacuuming
- Helps patients walk, sit, stand or lie down
- Transports individuals to and from medical appointments
Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
- Is compassionate and cares about the dignity of each patient
- Communicates well with doctors and family members
- Possesses patience and understanding when dealing with difficult clients
- Has a basic knowledge of at-home medical care
- Is able to kneel, bend, stoop and lift repeatedly
- Has good listening skills
- Possesses a safe driving record if transporting patients is required
- Understands how good health and hygiene go hand in hand
Education and Experience
Individuals who hope to become personal care assistants should first obtain a high school diploma or equivalent. After that, they can obtain a certificate in personal care assisting from a community technical college; becoming a certified nurse’s aide would also allow applicants to meet the educational requirement. Mandatory on-the-job training is required, and this could last anywhere from two to four weeks.
A personal care assistant may work in a nursing home, hospital, assisted living facility or in private homes. This line of work requires a great deal of lifting in addition to bending, kneeling and stooping. Work may be performed any time of the day or night, to include weekends or holidays. Some people will even be employed round-the-clock as live-in assistants to shut-ins. This job frequently results in long periods of isolation, and can become draining physically as well as mentally.
A personal care assistant can expect to make between $16,330 and $27,580 per year. This is an average of between $7.85 and $13.26 per hour. Those who work for private individuals tend to make less, since family members may be paying the caregiver’s wages out of their own pockets. The salary of a personal care assistant is also directly tied to the cost of living. Workers in states with a higher-than-average cost of living tend to earn more money than those who do not.