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Job Experiences of Personal Assistants Employed in a Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance Services Programs

Authors

  • Mary J. Clark RN MPH,

    Senior Health Program Specialist, Corresponding authorSearch for more papers by this author
    • Mary J. Clark, MPH RN, is a senior health program specialist in the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

  • Kristofer J. Hagglund PhD,

    Associate DeanSearch for more papers by this author
    • Kristofer J. Hagglund, PhD, is an associate dean for health policy in the School of Health Professions at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

  • Brian J. Stout BA

    Graduate Research AssistantSearch for more papers by this author
    • Brian J. Stout, BA, is a graduate research assistant in the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Department of Health Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia, DC O46.46, One Hospital Drive, Columbia, MO 65212; e-mail, clarkmj@health.missouri.edu.

Abstract

The demand for personal assistants for persons with disabilities is outpacing the supply. The objective of this pilot project was to describe the training and supervision needs of personal assistants, the nature of the assistant-consumer relationship, and the job satisfaction associated with being employed as a personal assistant. Telephone interviews were conducted with 24 personal assistants. All of the participants reported being competent and well trained in their work and 79% of the participants reported being very satisfied with their work as a personal assistant. All also reported they had an opportunity to accomplish something worthwhile in their jobs. Participants reported high levels of satisfaction with their relationship with their employers and with their jobs in general, despite dissatisfaction with low wages. Further research is needed to identify strategies for increasing the supply of personal assistants, who are pivotal to helping consumers maintain their independence.

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