Personal Assistance Services


TO: DD Council Members

FROM: Jerri Stephens, Chair

DATE: January 3, 2006

RE: Personal Assistance Services

The WV Developmental Disabilities Council is composed of individuals with developmental disabilities, family members, interested others, and representatives of State agencies. More than 60% of Council members are individuals with developmental disabilities and/or family members. Therefore, several Council members use Personal Assistance (PA) services.

It is the position of the Council to pay for PA services for members at Council functions who need such assistance. It is also the position of the Council that there should be clear guidelines for individuals who provide PA services to Council members.

Employing someone to provide PA services in an area outside the home may be a new experience for some. It may also be a new experience for the assistant. In an attempt to provide information to our members who may need such services, Council staff has researched and developed the enclosed information which I hope you will find useful. Much of the information was taken from Personal Assistance in the Workplace, A Customer-Directed Guide, published in February, 2001 by the Virginia Commonwealth University, Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Workplace Supports.

If you would like further information on hiring and supervising your personal assistant, the Council library has a few resource books that may be of interest to you. They include some helpful tips on placing ads, conducting interviews, hiring, training, and firing.  You will also find a Personal Assistants Discussion Checklist below or download it here.

Remember - you are the Council member appointed by the Governor. It is your viewpoint and expertise the Council wants and needs to hear!  



Personal Assistance Services

September, 2001

WV DD Council

Workplace Personal Assistants (PAs) not only assist with the personal needs of Council members, they also assist members directly in performing essential Council member duties.

Following are some areas to consider and discuss with your PA. This is not intended to be an all inclusive list, but rather a starting point of areas you may need assistance with.

Do you need your Personal Assistant to help you with:

Getting beverages/food?
Managing doors, elevators, personal items, etc.?
Making phone calls?
Voice interpretation?
Taking notes in meetings?
Keeping work space organized?
Turning pages?
Reading documents?

WV DD Council

September, 2001

Workplace Etiquette for Personal Assistants

As the employer of your Personal Assistant (PA), it is important that you provide your assistant with information about how you expect him/her to perform the job. Even if you use the same PA for Council functions as you use in your home, your expectations for him/her in a ""work" setting may be different. For example, would you have a different dress code for a work environment than you do for home?

You will want your PA to remain as much in the background as possible while still providing whatever level of support you need. Remember - you are the Council member appointed by the Governor. It is your viewpoint and expertise the Council wants and needs to hear. As hard as it may be to get used to, your PA needs to assist you in fulfilling your role, rather than trying to take on your role!

The following are some issues you may want to think about and then discuss with your PA prior to having him/her assist you in Council functions. This list is intended to be a starting point, you may think of other areas you need to cover.

Have you spoken with your PA about: 
A dress code, if any?
Appropriate behavior at meetings? (i.e. interpreting what you say, not what they think?)
Not discussing personal things about you with others at the meeting?
When it's okay to take a break?
Supporting you when needed and chatting with others at appropriate times? (i.e. breaks and meals)
Being reliable, punctual, loyal, and honest?
Confidentiality regarding Council business?
Addressing any problems with you, their employer, rather than others?