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What Is a Personal Care Service?

Article Details
  • Written By: K. Kinsella
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 14 January 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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A personal care service provides in-home assistance to people who are elderly, disabled or unwell and to those who need some kind of temporary or long-term home based assistance. In many instances, personal care service employees are medically trained, although some service recipients require help with day-to-day tasks rather than medical related issues. Many care service providers are employed by national or municipal governments, and some private contractors also offer these services.

Personal care service providers help people perform certain basic tasks that can prove challenging for the elderly or infirm. Basic responsibilities may include preparing meals, helping clients navigate flights of stairs and even running errands for people. Home helpers can also help people with more intimate tasks such as getting dressed or bathing. Some people can largely function without assistance, but are susceptible to fits or falls. In this case, the personal care aide must stay with them to help deal with any such problems.

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In many counties, personal care service providers have to be licensed or certified. Some company employees must have medical training as nurses or midwives, or have received some basic training in first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Care providers with medical training can administer medicine, help clients with physiotherapy, and perform more complex tasks such as connecting intravenous (IV) lines or dialysis machines to the patient. Medically trained midwives and nurses normally have to work under the direction of a physician when conducting complex tasks, although the physician does not typically need to be physically present when these tasks are performed.

Aside from the sick and the elderly, some personal care service providers also assist people with psychological issues. These professionals often visit the homes of abused children or adults who are battling psychiatric disorders. The home helpers may need to have background in psychotherapy or a related field and are often expected to conduct therapy sessions at the client's home. Trained psychologists usually oversee the work of personal care providers who conduct work with mentally impaired or psychologically challenged clients.

Personal care providers usually work closely with local hospitals and physicians to establish care plans for clients and patients. In many instances, the care providers and the local physicians are both employed by the government, and treatment plans are fairly easy to arrange. Private care services normally have to solicit referrals from hospitals and physicians and over time successful service providers establish strong relationships with medical providers. Sometimes, personal care service costs are paid for by governmental agencies, and private care providers can bill the local health authorities rather than the client. In other situations, the clients are fully responsible for covering the cost of the care.

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