A Personal Assistant (PA) is someone employed by a person with a disability to enable them to live a more independent life. The PA provides assistance, at the discretion and direction of the person with the disability, thus promoting choice, and control for the person with the disability to live independently. This may include for example, assisting with personal care, household chores, supporting you during study or work, playing sports, pursuing hobbies, socialising or anything that the PA and service user may agree.
Personal Assistance Services are accessed through an application process or through referrals from public health nurses or other community based staff. Individuals' needs are evaluated against the criteria for prioritisation for the particular services and then decisions are made in relation to the allocation of resources.
Resource allocation is determined by the needs of the individual, compliance with prioritisation criteria, and the level of resources available. It is important to note that the level of service delivered is varied to ensure that each client’s needs are reflected. Therefore there is no average agreed number of PA hours per person. PA and Home Support Services are provided either directly by the HSE or through a range of voluntary service providers. The majority of specialised disability provision (80%) is delivered through non-statutory sector service providers.