Skip to main content

Personal Assistants 101 | My Worst PA Experiences

(TITLE IMAGE: Hand trying to pick through eggs with different worrying expressions drawn on them)
Just like any employer, those under the Direct Payments scheme - interviewing, hiring and managing their own staff for their care needs get their fair share of 'bad eggs.' Before I embarked on moving from CHC Adult Social Care agencies to Direct Payments, I often wondered if my interview experiences would be much like those on the hit film, 'Inside I'm Dancing.'

(IMAGE: Main characters in 'Inside I'm Dancing,' Rory and Michael going for a stroll outdoors, in their powerchairs with their PA)

Rory and Michael are two friends whom become acquainted through circumstance. Both were put in a nursing home leading to their inspiring journey to independent living, interviewed applicants from all walks of life. The ignorant, the awkwardly silent to the jesus-will-cure you types... The film reigns true on what it's like hiring your own Personal Assistants. As you'll see below in my recollection of negative PA encounters in, 'Personal Assistants 101 | My Worst PA Experiences'

The Textbook PA

(IMAGE: Clipart
graduate student
holding certificate)
In my very early interviewing days (when I didn't have a clue really!) I hired a lady I thought was good because she had loads of qualifications that could come in useful. In agency care, they often sent carers who didn't know how to use a hoist or were only used to doing a bit of shopping for Ethel or a 5 minute call to make sure Margaret had taken her tablets. So naturally I was going over-kill now by avoiding total newbies to personal care and moving and handling. Only, this lady did things so by the book she wasn't willing to toilet, dress or bath me the way I was used to and needed to be. Everytime I would talk her through it, she'd critisise how she wasn't taught to do it this way or that. Flagging up health and safety. Yet all I was asking her to do is something like - pulling my pants up in a few hefty tugs rather than me being log rolled 15 times or more,  getting worn out before I'm even up for the day. In the end she quit as she wasn't 'comfortable' doing things my way.

The Desperate PA
(IMAGE: Smashed iPhone)
A few years ago one of my regular, reliable PAs was going through hard times. Her father passed away, then she lost her other job. Or so she told me 🙄. She was on call during my c-section recovery, only she wasn't replying to messages anymore. Calls going straight to voicemail. She turned up suddenly for a pre-arranged shift the following week, claiming she now had no phone due to her abusive boyfriend smashing it. Confided in me she and her 2 children were now living back at her Mums house. As a domestic abuse survivor myself (Did you know 1 out or 4 women with disabilities experience domestic violence of some kind? Click to learn more!) , my heart went out to her. I knew I had an old Blackberry phone on a pay-as-you-go sim. So I gave it to her and topped it up with £10. I never saw nor heard from her again.

The Exercise Intolerant PA

(IMAGE: Lady
pushing buggy) 
I once had a cover PA who was fine with the personal care side, but once she willingly took on a shift that included walking with me on the nursery run, she couldn't hack it. She was so exhausted from 'the trek' (which my regular PA managed fine!) that she point blank refused to help me make the childrens tea once we were home. Not wanting to cause an argument by putting my foot down, infront of my young children. Plus they are always ravenous after school/nursery, my only option was to order a take-away with money I didn't really have. I still regret not standing upto her now. To add insult to injury, later that night she fell asleep in the living-room at 8, whilst I needed her to help me with supportive parenting for the girls bedtime routine, then of course get me settled for the night too. It took 2hrs of me really struggling until I managed to wake her. Needless to say, I never let her cover again for safety!

The OCD Cleaner PA
(IMAGE: Gloved lady
juggling cleaning supplies)
I once interviewed a PA in my home who was a self described OCD, neat-freak. Now our home is a typical family home, just as we get ontop of the washing up, the laundry - there's more, toys scattered randomly despite the rule of one toy out at a time and with a toddler getting into absolutely everything, for my own sanity as a SAHM who happens to have a disability too, I've learnt to pick my battles, prioritise and leave the big clean up until the girls are in bed. As I was washing the dishes later that same day, I got a text message from said PA saying she no longer wanted the position. She seemed so keen originally so I rang her to see well,... why? I wasn't going to try and convince her otherwise but at least maybe I could learn from her what 'I' may of unconsciously done that put her off. She basically told me my home was a health hazard and that I was lucky she wasn't calling Social Services! For some dishes in the sink, laundry waiting to be put away and kids toys? I was so shocked, I hung up and actually couldn't hold back the tears. I started questioning our home and if it was as bad as she made out. All my regular staff and family reassured me that our home is 'lived in' and you can't have a perfectly tidy house with kids. You're constantly meeting yourself coming back! I don't know if she ever did call the Social on me, but it took me a good 6 months to get over how humiliated and small she made me feel. My brother made a good point on this situation, by saying one of her duties was to help me physically keep up with housework...

As daunting as these encounters sound to an outsider, sadly I know many a person who've had far worse. Thankfully I've been lucky enough that my Good PA experiences massively outweigh the bad and the kindness of the human spirit isn't lost in the in-home support area of the caring profession. Look out for the next installment from this on-going series on life hiring, firing and juggling Personal Assistants... Stay tuned!

(IMAGE: Post-it note asks, "what's your story?") 
If you'd like to take part in the 'Personal Assistants 101` series on my blog, pop a message over! You can contact me via;

- E-mail -


This blog post is linked-up with the following linkys; #Blogcrush #Blogstravaganza #AnythingGoes

Lucy At Home

My Random Musings


  1. Houses with kids have to be lived in, there's no other way! Thanks so much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza xx

  2. Oh my goodness, I can't believe the way you've been treated by these awful people! Clearly too self obsessed and a wonder they're even in the caring profession. I'm glad you've had more good experiences than bad, and don't stress about the state of your house, I promise you mine is worse!! #BlogCrush


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Changing Places Campaign | #FitToBurst - Putting my health on the line due to inaccessible toilets

For 250,000 disabled UK residents, going to the toilet is a military operation. Only you never hear about it. Why? Because talking about going to the toilet isn't exactly fun. Sure we joke about those type of Facebookers who write a status about every single move they make - including going to the loo! Though for the majority, going to the toilet is a private, dignified human need that is straight forward and requires no second thought. Only those 250k I just mentioned are living a very different existence, merely because going out of the house means they're venturing away from the only accessible toilet that meets their needs.

I am 1 of those 250,000 and for 14 years I've been too stubborn and proud to stand up (no pun intended! 😜) and say, actually it's 2017 - surely I should be able to go out freely and not have to worry about the next time I need the loo, ontop of all the access issues I and every other wheelchair user faces on a daily bases!

So what exactly is …

Letting Go Of What I Can't Do With My Children | #DisabledMumLife

I'm very much a researcher, an adapter, a think ahead kind of person, and that also applies to my role as a Mum. In every single problem my disability causes I automatically think outside the box and find a way to do whatever it is I'm struggling with.Yes it'll be different, maybe a bit unorthodox but hey, if it enables me to go beyond my limitations when it comes to the girls, I'll try said idea at least once. What have I got to lose? If I get an idea that'll problem solve in my head and I don't try, you blink and your kids grow up and I'd be left wondering if I could of been more involved in this or that if I'd only tried to do it by doing x, y, z.... You catch my drift?

But I'm also a realist...

And this is where the hardest part of parenting for me comes to light. As much as I do things differently, get creative, do my research, use products on the market to enable me etc... There are still some things that I cannot adapt enough for me to do indep…

Locked-Out | The REAL Cost Of Senseless Social Housing Policies

As soon as I found out I was pregnant one of my first thoughts was, “Where are we going to live?” The extension that was built onto my childhood home had barely enough room to swing a cat, despite having a great wet room. Sleeping arrangements with a cot etc weren't going to work. Neither would my partners parents home, as there were no suitable amenities.

Upon visiting the Citizens Advice Bureau, we were advised against looking at private renting as most landlords will not allow permanent adaptations (ie. ceiling track hoists) and felt social housing would be the more favourable choice. Reason being with social housing, the property is allowed to be adapted to almost any mean to suit a disabled person's access and care needs.

So with that knowledge I went to Bolton Council and filled in an application form for a council property under medical grounds. With it I included proof that I was 6 weeks pregnant so that we wouldn't fall victim of the bedroom tax as we would be us…