A woman in a powered wheelchair is next to a window waving goodbye as a person exist through a door closing it behind them

Letting Go of a PCA

Like any other job in this world, being someone’s personal care assistant just isn’t for everyone.

But unlike every other job, this position is very close to home. Both literally and figuratively.

PCAs are in your personal space

Bringing a PCA into your home is bringing someone into your personal space, as you manage day-to-day with spinal muscular atrophy. These caring people are typically in our life every day, helping us with some of the most private things from washing us to folding our intimates. Having someone with you in your home every day is much like having a spouse, you need to get along with them, enjoy being around them, and hopefully have at least one thing in common.

Reasons to let them go

I just don’t enjoy being with them all the time.

There are aspects to the job that they obviously need to know how to do. And are capable of doing, depending on your dependency level, ways that could look different for each person. For me, I need someone physically strong enough to lift me. I needed someone able to drive me to doctor appointments or the grocery store.

There are also aspects of the job that I want the person to be a good fit for me. I think of it like a friend. Are we compatible? If I’m going to spend a significant amount of time with someone I need to enjoy them or enjoy some of the same things or at least be able to have a decent conversation with them on the daily.

Not reliable.

For me, this was actually the biggest reason I’ve had to let people go. I find myself to be a pretty easy-going person so getting along with people has not been a struggle. However, finding someone who will show up to work, on time or just in general has been the biggest struggle. I think sometimes people see this job as so laid-back and easy that they don’t find the importance of coming every day or at least when they’re scheduled. I obviously rely on this person very much and when they decide not to show up it really affects my entire day, from how I’m going to eat to how I’m going to use the restroom all relies on if people decide to show up to work or take the day off.

Sometimes it doesn't work out

But what do you do when things are just now working out?

I found myself sacrificing my own wants and needs to keep the peace. I had to learn it was ok to let people go if I didn’t want them to be my PCA.

I often found myself carrying the burden of the thought of “well, they need this job financially”

But really none of these things should affect my reasoning to let someone go.

I had to be OK with making that decision for myself and for my own home.

How to let them go

I think the hardest part is practicing professionalism when you’re within your own home. I do believe that this is the best way to kindly let someone go. Just as you were in any other job. Explain some of your reasoning but don’t feel the need to over-explain. Kindly tell them you’ve enjoyed having them but it’s just not a good fit. Give them an end date and of course, thank them for all that they’ve done for you.

What do you do next

Some people say do not let go of a PCA until you have one lined up already, this is obviously ideal but I also know it’s not totally doable for every situation. I think finding good ways to interview and vet your next person is really important.

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