Making a list, Checking it twice…

I have, after a difficult time, become completely PA-less. And it’s always been difficult to hire a new PA, I couldn’t even fill the empty hours my PA left when she downsized her hours and actually arranged interviews for that role about 2 weeks before the pandemic kicked off. I mean, I was there where I do the interviews on the Monday, and a week later the whole building was closed, and a week and a few days later, the whole country was in lockdown. That was nearly a year ago.

So now here I am, there’s still a deadly virus out there, my only way to keep myself safe has been to cut down my calls to the basics, and I’m torn between going back to another agency – and that’s not a good experience outside of a pandemic, but I had to cancel the agency who was fulfilling some calls after we lost Mum, because I had carers pulling down their masks to speak to me, refusing to wash their hands because they’d just put new gloves on, which they’d put on outside my flat, and put them on without washing their hands, and telling me alllll about the fun they were having at their friends and family’s households without any care on how that’s exactly how you spread the virus.

I look outside the world through the window and I’m not confident that it’s got much better the longer this pandemic has gone on.

But being a Direct Payments Employer is not easy. As we already know, it can take months to actually hire someone, and there’s no HR department to turn to when problems crop up. So it’s with these things in mind I created a pro and con list.

Pro of Agency Con of Agency
A pro of having an agency is that usually you see calls being fulfilled within 2 weeks.
That means you’re not waiting a year to have a shower.
A con of having an agency is that you get your call fulfilled when the carer gets to you, not necessarily at the time you need or want.
A pro of having an agency is that you have someone to complain to if something goes wrong.A con of having an agency is that management can fob you off and problems don’t actually get dealt with.
A pro of having an agency is if you don’t like someone they send, you, supposedly, can ask that they never return.A con of having an agency is the ineptness of a lot of the staff who don’t care about their job or the people in their care, and basic common sense stuff seems beyond them. (Do not turn off the shower whilst I’m mid-shower)
Another con is the high turnover of staff, meaning no consistency, awkward first meetings every couple of weeks, and going through the basics of what you need from them.
– What’s the 100th time for you is the 1st time for them-
Another con is when agencies become short staffed, that play disability Olympics and guilty you into accepting no calls.
I’m always the one with the unimportant calls.
If you’re sick and cancel a call, there’s a high chance the carer won’t get the message in time and turn up anyway.
Pro of Personal AssistantCon of Personal Assistant
The pro of having your own PA is you know who is coming to every call.The con of having your own PA is the hiring process can be extremely difficult and take months. Who wants to go months without a shower and their bedding changed?
The pro of having your own PA is you decide your own hours with your budget. If they can’t fulfill your hours and they’re reasonable hours, you don’t hire them.The con of having your own PA is when problems start to creep in after you hire them, you’re on your own.
The pro of having your own PA is you can set out from the beginning what is expected of them.The con of having your own PA is trying to figure out what they say to get the job Vs what they are capable of doing after being hired.
The pro of having your own PA is direct communication. If you’re sick and need to cancel the call, you just text your PA and let them know not to come that day.The con of having your own PA is when they fight against the hierarchy of power and start expecting to be informed on smaller details which shouldn’t affect the time of the call.
– The call is an hour long but they say things like “you should have told me you wanted your hair washing today” even though it’s an hour either way, or they turn up very early and you’re not in because you’re out at the cinema, and “You should have told me you would be at the cinema”. No, the PA should arrive at the time expected.
The pro of having your own PA is you interview your own people and have your own standards that they have to meet.A con is the legal liability of having people working in your home. If anything goes, the blame wrong lays with you. You have to be your own HR department, OT department and Admin Team, and communicate with an insurance company.
Another con is nobody respects direct payments PAs, many places expect proof of ID if you need a carer with you, but there is no ID a Direct Payments employer can provide.
The con of having your own PA is that it’s on you to ensure ppe and training is provided (if needed) and kept up to date.

I mean looking at that, neither option really shines through.

Are there any factors I’m missing, here?

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