What Is a Personal Care Program?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

A personal care program involves the planning and implementation of care for an individual who, because of an illness, disability, or age, has difficulty caring for himself or herself. In many cases, these programs are developed by government agencies or charities that provide services to individuals in need of assistance or by individuals or businesses that specialize in providing in-home care services. The scope of a personal care program may vary by the organization offering the services. For example, a personal care program may include only services that require physical contact with the client, such as assistance with bathing, eating, and dressing. In other cases, the program may extend to meal preparation or housekeeping tasks.

Many governments and organizations that specialize in providing care to those with physical or mental limitations recognize the importance of allowing people the independence and dignity of being able to live in their own homes and communities. In many cases, clients with limitations may be able to successfully live by themselves if provided with regular assistance with various daily living tasks. As each client of a personal care program typically has very specific needs, the scope of individual programs can vary significantly. Clients with more significant challenges may require care from aides who have had specialized training in such matters as medication administration or incontinence management.

Typically, a personal care program will be developed by a client, a case manager, and, in some cases, a friend, family member, or guardian of the client. The agency that administers personal care services will work with the client to determine his or her needs and can assign a personal care attendant or home health care aide to provide certain services on a regular basis. These services will vary according to client needs, organizational policy, and the financial resources of both the client and the organization providing the care.

Once the personal care program begins for a client, the client's case may be reviewed on a regular basis to determine whether the client's needs are being met and whether a personal care program is sufficient for ensuring the safety and well-being of the client. Home health care workers or personal care attendants are often supervised by registered nurses who can assess the plan of care and make adjustments as necessary. In addition, the client may also have a social worker or caseworker who can help him or her make future decisions about continuing care at home or in a residential setting.

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