ruils logoruilsruils
Recruitment handbook logo

Already a member? Please sign in here:

If you are not a member please Register here
Text size:
Personal assistants

What is a Personal Assistant?

A personal assistant is someone who supports a person living with a disability to facilitate them to achieve a very important personal goal -- independence and the opportunity to lead their lives on their terms. For you and your PA it can be a deeply rewarding experience.

Employing a PA can be a liberating experience as you will be in the driver’s seat managing your life in a way that once might have seemed unrealistic.

But this does come with responsibilities and while you may not get everything right the first time, this step by step guide is your ready reference along with our advice and support, so you don’t feel like you are on your own. There are also other organisations that can offer you guidance and information.

What do Personal Assistants do?

A Personal (Care) Assistant or PA, supports their employer to carry out daily tasks. A PA enables people who need support to lead an independent life. The PA’s role and the support that they provide will vary depending upon their employer.


Personal Care

  • Assistance in getting in and out of bed
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Washing, bathing and showering
  • Assistance with using the toilet


  • Food preparation
  • Shopping
  • Household / Domestic Work
  • Dealing with paperwork, correspondence, bills and letters
  • Gardening
  • Looking after animals

Social / Leisure / Education

  • Assistance in taking part in leisure activities
  • Assistance at meetings of college
  • Meeting friends
  • Reading

Working with children / families

  • Playing games with children
  • Helping with homework
  • Helping out parents with preparation for outings
  • Going on outings
  • Helping with meals




















A view of a Personal Assistant to a Direct Payment Employer – Carer or enabler?

“Firstly, let me say that I'm not a glorified cleaner, carer or nurse. To me, a PA is someone who is employed by an individual to enable them to live their life as fully and independently as possible. PAs assist and may become involved in many aspects of their employers life. For example, they may provide personal care but may also assist the person to meet their friends, go out for meals, to the theatre, for walks, holidays, shopping.

What some (non-disabled) people find difficult is when they realize that a DP recipient may not fit the traditional stereotype of a disabled person as 'victim' to be cared for and pitied. As a new PA they may be forced to confront their own prejudices when they enter a disabled person's life by having to listen to their employer‟s instructions and comply with how they like things done. I'm not there to make decisions for people or to take control of another person's life, or to structure their day. This, to me, is the difference between being a carer and a personal assistant.”


Click here to go to 'Types of Personal Assistants'

Ruils is a Registered Charity   Charity no: 1127896   Company no. (England & Wales): 6682677    © 2019 Ruils