Finding a Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Agency in Minnesota

If you have a child with medical needs who doesn’t require home care nursing but does need assistance with activities and healthcare needs throughout the day, they may qualify for a personal care assistant. A personal care assistant helps people with day-to-day activities in their home and community.

While PHS doesn’t offer PCA services, we know some of our patients do benefit from these caregivers so we wanted to share information including the different types, questions to keep in mind as you’re choosing an agency, and what personal care assistants typically do and do not do.

You can find a local PCA agency at MinnesotaHelp.Info, which allows you to search and filter results by at-home services, location, type of service, payment type, and more.

Traditional PCA vs PCA Choice

There are two types of PCA services – Traditional PCA or PCA Choice. What’s are the difference? Hover over the options below to learn more. 

Traditional PCA
Traditional PCA agencies hire, train, schedule, and replace your staff. You are responsible for signing timesheets, evaluating staff, and working with the agency to develop a service plan.
PCA Choice
With the PCA Choice option you locate, hire, train, and supervise your personal care assistants and an agency handles the financial matters. You may also see this referred to as Consumer Directed Community Supports.

Many families interview two or three PCA service providers before making a final selection.

10 Questions We Recommend You Ask a PCA Provider

  • How do you provide backup staff for emergencies?
  • What references can you provide?
  • What kind of training do you provide for your staff?
  • How do you communicate with your clients?
  • How can you meet my staffing needs?
  • Do you have any unique features that meet my needs?
  • Can I help set my schedule?
  • Can I meet or interview PCAs before they work for me?
  • How do you handle customer complaints?
  • How long have you been in service?

What Can (and Can’t) PCAs Do?

Regulations may differ for pediatric patients in need of a personal care assistant. A patient will only qualify for these services if it is an activity a parent would no longer typically help a child perform (such as dressing or using the bathroom). A county social service employee can clarify and answer any questions you have.

PCA services fall into four main categories:

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
A personal care assistant helps patients with a number of activities including dressing, grooming, eating, bathing, transferring locations, mobility, and using the bathroom.
Health-Related Procedures and Tasks
One example of a health-related procedure or task is working on range of motion to maintain or improve a patient’s strength and muscle functioning.
Observation and Redirection of Behaviors
A PCA service may include observation of a patient who has episodes of identified behaviors and needs redirection to remain safe. 
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
PCA services for children generally do not include IADLs, as a child doesn’t typically perform these activities. Some common IADLs include shopping for groceries or clothing, cooking, laundry, and management of the patient’s finances.

What PCA Services Do Not Do:

  • Apply restraints or implement restraint procedures
  • Home maintenance or chore services
  • Homemaker services
  • Inject fluid and medications into veins, muscles, or skin
  • Serve solely as a childcare or babysitting service
  • Staffing options in a residential or childcare setting
  • Sterile medical procedures

Under state law, a licensed healthcare professional (such as an RN) may assign health-related procedures and tasks to a personal care assistant if:

  • Procedures and tasks meet the definition of health-related procedures and tasks.
  • A qualified nurse trains and supervises the personal care assistant.
  • The personal care assistant demonstrates competency to safely complete the procedures and tasks.

Do you have more questions?

For more information on choosing a provider agency, visit: http://mn.gov/dhs People we serve> People with disabilities> Services> Home and community services> Programs and services

Leave a Comment