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What is the PCA Program?

 

The State of Minnesota has several programs designed to help older adults and persons with disabilities live in community settings rather than in institutions. The Personal Care Assistance (PCA) Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, is such a program. The PCA Program was implemented in Minnesota in 1978 when it was added to the state’s Medical Assistance program.

 

About PCA Services

 

The Personal Care Assistance Program is a type of Home Care Service that helps Minnesota residents with their non-medical, health related needs and day-to-day activities.  The key goal of Personal Care Assistant Services is to help people live independently in their own homes and participate in their communities instead of living in a nursing home or long-term care facility.  PCA Services are available to individuals of all ages with special health care needs and are a paid benefit under Medical Assistance or Minnesota Care.

 

To get a better understanding of PCA services, let’s take a look at what CarePoint Home Health's personal care assistant services entail. 

Activities of Daily Living

  • Dressing

    • Whether it is putting on clothing for the day, preparing to go to some family or community event, or undressing for the night, PCA home care assistants are there to help.

  • Eating

    • Another daily function vital to maintaining health, eating is an additional function of a home health aide. 

  • Bathing

    • Though bathing is a non-medical procedure, it is a daily task which is essential for maintaining good health and an in home caregiver can help you with hygienic needs.

  • Toileting

    • Another highly important, non-medical need which is essential for maintaining health has to do with the elimination of waste and those who need assistance with mobility, transfer or positioning can also find the help they need from a PCA home care assistant.

  • Positioning

    • Whether to relieve discomfort or make it easier to reach items you need safely, being positioned by an assistant is another important function of in home care.

  • Mobility

    • Being able to move around in your home safely might also require the assistance of an in home caregiver.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

  • A personal care aide goes with their charge to medical appointments and assists in obtaining prescription medications.

  • An in home caregiver also accompanies the person they assist so that they can take part in community activities and commitments. Includes meal planning and preparation, managing money, shopping for essential items, performing essential household chores, communicating by telephone and other media, and getting around and participating in the community.

  • Maintaining a clean and organized environment also ensures health and safety, so PCA providers must be prepared to assist in completing household tasks.

  • Helping with bill payment is also an in home care service provided.

  • Planning and preparing meals is another care service offered.

  • Assistance in shopping for clothing, food and other needs is also part of what a PCA can provide.

Health Related Procedures and Tasks

Includes tasks such as range of motion exercises, seizure intervention,  or ventilator suctioning.

  • Trained and supervised by a qualified professional RN.

  • An in home caregiver must also be able to assist with ventilator support tasks if required.

  • The personal care aid must demonstrate competency in being able to complete the tasks for which they are trained.

Redirection and Intervention of Behaviors

  • Offering support and assistance with episodic conditions or behaviors.

  • Helping to redirect behaviors which threaten the health and safety of the person being cared for in their environment. Includes observation and monitoring.

 

What are my options under the PCA Program?

 

Under this option, provider requirements include providing PCA staff and managing the processes of hiring, training, paying, and scheduling the hours of PCA workers. To allow more flexibility and meet the changing and varying needs of individuals who receive care, Minnesota’s PCA program also allows for services to be provided through other delivery models described below.

In the PCA Choice program, recipients are able to independently hire and train the PCAs who provide their care. The PCA Choice option gives consumers a greater level of responsibility in managing their care.  In Minnesota’s PCA Choice program, the agency is the employer of record for the PCA. 

The Shared Care Option allows two or three individuals living in the same setting to be assisted by  a single PCA.

With this option, individuals can use their approved PCA hours in a more flexible manner within a service authorization period to best accommodate  their needs and schedules.