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Thread: Caregiver, Personal Care Attendant, PCA etc.

  1. #1

    Caregiver, Personal Care Attendant, PCA etc.

    What is the best term to refer to a caregiver who helps us with our personal care? Here in the Northeast, we commonly refer to them as PCAs but I know in many parts of the country both "personal care attendant" and its acronym are foreign terms. Although "caregiver" is a well-known term I associate it most often with caring for the elderly.

    What's the most universal term to describe someone who helps disabled individuals with their care? Disability Caregiver?

    Ponder, if you will.
    C5 injury with partial C6 function on left.

  2. #2
    I live in NJ and the only term I have heard is CNA (certfied nurses aide). However, the test to pass this is so simple that unfortunatly most of them have no idea about SCI or related neuron.

  3. #3
    Home Health Aide
    Personal Care Assistant (PCA)
    State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA)

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    PCA (or Personal Care Assistant) ..... but I live in Connecticut. I have never heard of STNA. CNA to my mind refers to someone working in a hospital setting.
    T7-8 since Feb 2005

  5. #5
    In my state CNA = certified nursing assistant (they work in hospitals and nursing homes) and a HHA (home health aide) is also a certified position. Certification requires successful completion of a course (rarely including any SCI content) and a state exam, and then periodic education every 2-3 years to maintain certification.

    PCA or personal care attendant is the term generally used for attendants that you hire "off the street" who have no certification or are working independently without an agency or hospital being their employer, which means they are not supervised by an RN nor does anyone but them get the money. It is not a legally defined term as it has no requirements....anyone can be a PCA who wants to call themselves one.

    Some use the term "personal attendant" or PA, but that is easily confused with Physician's Assistant or Personal Assistant which are totally different jobs.

    I tend to think of caregivers as family members vs. PCAs who are employees, but that is not universal.

    Caretaker is the one that bugs me....I tend to think of that as someone who manages a big house or estate, not someone who provides care to a person.

    Of course, working in a hospital, when I talk with non-SCi nurses about PCAs they think I am talking about Patient Controlled context has a lot to do with this.


  6. #6
    Interesting stuff. My personal preference is personal care attendant and its acronym (using each in different situations, obviously). It's interesting how names are defined by credentials or affiliation, and not by the work that is done. Kind of goes against the grain.

    So, is the term personal care attendant and it's slight variation, personal care assistant, universal only in states with dedicated programs for assisting the disabled?
    C5 injury with partial C6 function on left.

  7. #7
    Senior Member justadildo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    rocky mountain high
    i call mine "dim"....its nicer than "stupid"

  8. #8
    Moderator Obieone's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by justadildo
    i call mine "dim"....its nicer than "stupid"
    ...... huh?? Is that a joke justadildo .... I must be "dim" !

    ~ Be the change you wish to see in the world ~ Mahatma Gandi

    " calling all Angels ...... calling all Angels ....walk me through this one .. don't leave me alone .... calling all Angels .... calling all Angels .... we're tryin' and we're hopin' cause we're not sure how ....... this .... goes ..."
    Jane Siberry

  9. #9
    Senior Member justadildo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    rocky mountain high
    in all fairness though, i called my last one "wonder woman"...she wasn't as fine as linda carter, but she was as capable....

  10. #10
    You could also try searching respite care or home healthcare.
    “You need to take care of yourself first. If you don't care for yourself, you can't take care of someone else.”

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