Avoiding Attendants from Hell – A Practical Guide to Finding, Hiring & Keeping Personal Care Attendants

by June Price   Book Review by Susan DeLaurier   Moving into your own apartment is usually exciting, but for a person with a disability, it can also be a bit frightening.  This very independent lifestyle may not be for everyone because of its challenges, but it can also be very satisfying.  This book has extremely practical and clearly worded suggestions for people looking for personal care attendants.   The very first chapter asks readers to start listing questions to ask themselves regarding what their needs are.  On the surface, many people think that all they need is personal care because these needs tend to be the most obvious and constant.  This may well be the case, but if housekeeping or companionship is also desired, this should be noted.   The author begins with suggestions on how to advertise for services and develop a job description.  She had used electronic advertising with great success and gives an example of an introductory email to friends and acquaintances.  Her suggestions for targeting emails to specific populations are excellent.  By developing a detailed job description, the consumer is better able to communicate exactly what his or her needs are and not just say “need help in the bathroom”.   The author goes through all the steps required to increase the chances of getting the kind of attendant who you will feel confident and comfortable with.  Before allowing a stranger into your home, it is necessary to do a preliminary interview over the phone and the types of questions to ask are outlined in the book.  Once you have decided to go ahead with a face to face interview Ms. Price gives examples of more detailed questions to ask.  She emphasizes that it is up to the person doing the hiring to ask the right questions and then gives examples of what can happen if things are left out of the conversation.   This book contains information on the responsibilities of both the attendant and the consumer.  It covers how to plan for emergencies, and when and how to fire attendants. There is an excellent appendix to this book with an example of a contract for a live-in attendant that the author had devised for herself.  It is a good start to developing one of your own.  With modifications, this can also be used for attendants who do not live in your home.  The general tone is practical, down-to-earth, and humorous.  This book will be valuable not only to people with disabilities, but also to people looking for care for a family member, as well as those needing care for only a short time.    

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