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Thread: PCA at work-need advice ASAP!

  1. #1

    PCA at work-need advice ASAP!

    I recently had a very large change in my physical abilities as a result of three seperate multilevel fusions in the last seven months. This includes going from being a T7 incomplete para to having a spinal cord compression at C5/6/7 that has resulted in a partial loss of my hand and tricep function. I am also 4 weeks post-op from new rod placement at t10-L2 to stabalize my spine.

    I normally work at an overnight boys sports camp in the summer as the A&C Director and a Counselor for our troublesome and/or homesick boys. Camp resumes when I am 9 weeks post my last fusion. This is long before my post-surgical restrictions are lifted. Due to my new physical limitations I have utilized the help of a PCA 40 hours a week. My job at camp is a true full-time gig; meaning I live in my own adapted bunk with my office and studio attached. It is a pretty sweet set up. I can perform all of my job functions and the only new challenges I have are due to the complete inaccessibility of our camp buildings-with the exception of my building. In the past, I just got out of my chair and bumped up the stairs on my butt and would drag my chair behind me. I get around camp by throwing my chair in my golfcart and driving to the inaccessible areas. I can still; though more awkwardly, bump up stairs but absolutely can not lift my chair or do the transfers as I have in the past. I also need more traditional PCA help. I have been at camp for six wonderful summers and do not want to leave as it is my only income during the year. I have never needed PCA help in the past.

    I was thinking of having my PCA come for her regular shifts during the day to help me with what I normally need help with-not anything actually job related, of course. We have a new Camp Director and I do not know him well and want to determine what is legally allowed in the workplace before I approach him. My PCA is my employee and is covered by worker's comp etc.

    Does anyone have any experience or recommendations. I have not been able to find anything on the internet about PCA help in the workplace.
    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." - My Grammie

  2. #2
    This is something you can discuss with your employer as a reasonable accommodation, being clear that you will be responsible for this employee's pay and benefits (and perhaps insurance if required). You could request them to be provided housing, but I doubt you could require that.

    Other reasonable accommodations that you should be requesting include ramping or other modification of your housing, since I assume living on the grounds is a condition of your employment, and perhaps even a more accessible vehicle for you to get around in the camp. Inaccessible areas of the camp, I assume, are also inaccessible to any campers you have with mobility disabilities, so making these modifications would also be in the interests of the camp's diversity and meeting ADA requirements.

    (KLD)

  3. #3
    Thanks KLD,
    We have no campers with mobility impairments as our camp is built into a hillside that has a 16% grade and is a sports camp. Not that kids with mobility issues don't play sports, but they don't come to us. All of our buildings are "banked" into the hill and have one side on pilons. We are literally on a hill so steep that I can not traverse it in my chair without my chair falling down the hill. It is a somewhat ridiculous place for me to work really, but I love it.

    I have not asked for any accomodations in the past because I really didn't mind making due for 10 weeks a year. Now that my situation has changed, I feel that I will at least need my PCA around part of the day. I can manage at night as my bunk at camp is more accessable than my real home. My old director would have done anything I asked, but the new guy is still an unknown entity. The problem we have at camp with ramping things is that the law then requires that we renovate the bathrooms to make them accessible and that is really logistically and cost prohibitive. I know I can ask, but I also recognize that I am one person at a small, private, not-for-profit camp. They have been most accomodating with everything I have asked in the past-I just don't usually like to ask
    "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." - My Grammie

  4. #4
    Kids in chairs may not come to your came because it is inaccessible; not because they don't want to come. Time to push to get this camp into the 21st century with a diversity program and ADA compliance. This is not just about you.

    (KLD)

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