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How To Become a PCA for a Family Member in Minnesota

Every year, thousands of people in Minnesota are confronted by the need to provide care for an aging or disabled relative. Many of these people are reluctant to transfer their loved ones to a care facility. Instead, they like the idea of providing loving care in the comfort of their home.

It is virtually impossible to adequately emphasize how challenging caring for a loved one can be. The physical and emotional tolls do not always receive the attention that they deserve, but neither do the financial ones. Caring for a loved one in Minnesota can become all-consuming, and this can put a serious strain on economic resources.

Fortunately, it is possible to provide personal care for loved ones and get compensated for it. This makes it possible for the caregiver to continue in their role for as long as is necessary.

Several options for becoming a paid PCA in Minnesota are available. Choosing one of them is a vital first step toward ensuring a better quality of life for the caregiver and the recipient.

What is PCA Service?

In Minnesota, a Personal Care Assistant, or PCA, is employed by an agency that provides personal care assistance to elderly and disabled citizens. Frequently, an individual PCA provides helpful services to a relative, and they are enrolled with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

While some PCAs may be responsible for providing care for many people who are not relatives, programs in Minnesota make it possible for family members to become a PCA solely for the purpose of caring for a relative. Certain familial relationships are not eligible for PCA care. This includes parents and step-parents caring for underage children, paid legal guardians for adults and spouses. Moreover, people who are themselves recipients of PCA services are not eligible to become caregivers.

Once employment with an agency is obtained, the PCA may provide a variety of assistance to their relative. This typically involves help with daily living tasks like bathing, dressing, eating, and mobility. Some PCAs take the recipient to doctor’s appointments and to run errands. They may provide mental stimulation and physical exercise. The tasks that the PCA performs largely are dictated by the needs of the recipient.

How to Become a PCA

The path to becoming a PCA generally begins with training. Several programs are available, and any of them could provide the skills and knowledge that are required to obtain a certification. Many people complete a nursing assistant program or a home health aid training class. An accredited program that serves registered nurses or licensed practical nurses is a more involved option. Alternatively, officials may decide that the individual already has sufficient training and experience to take the certification test.

This test is offered online for free. Passing it enables the individual to enroll with DHS and to find suitable employment with an agency. Working for an agency is the key to getting compensated for providing care. It is only necessary to provide care for one individual to get paid

Minnesota PCA Program

The Minnesota Department of Human Services administers two PCA programs: PCA Choice and PCA Traditional. Under both options, a person who needs care is empowered to select a caregiver to work for them through an agency. However, they must first demonstrate that they are in need of such care. The individual must be enrolled in at least one of Medicaid, Elderly Waiver, Minnesota Alternative Care or Minnesota Senior Health Options to be eligible. Qualifying for one of these programs means that the individual has low income and is over the age of 65 or disabled. Once they receive approval of their eligibility to receive care from a PCA, the process begins in earnest.

The recipient elects their relative to act as a caregiver. To receive compensation, the family member must undergo required training, become certified by the state and be employed by an agency. Minnesota law requires that the PCA be able to effectively communicate with the recipient and the agency and have the skills necessary to provide the required help to the recipient. PCAs are required to keep daily written records and to report any changes in the condition of the recipient to the agency.

A PCA may be compensated for a maximum of 275 hours of care each month. This number does not change even if the PCA is looking after several recipients.

Eligibility Guidelines

Someone who seeks employment as a PCA must be at least 18 years of age. Exceptions may be made for individuals who are 16 or 17 if they are employed by only one provider agency and if a qualified professional provides supervision at least every 60 days.

It is essential that the individual seek employment with one of the PCA provider agencies in Minnesota in order to receive compensation. A criminal background check will be conducted during the employment process. Anyone who cannot pass this screening will not be granted employment as a PCA. Once all other criteria are met, the individual must enroll as a PCA with the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

Anyone who wants to become a PCA in Minnesota must first complete the required training and pass the certification test. It is possible to take the test multiple times until a passing score is attained. The test is free and usually is conducted online.

After fulfilling these requirements, the individual seeks employment with an agency that will conduct a background check. Passing this check is the last step to becoming a paid caregiver for a family member in Minnesota.

Being able to provide personalized care for a loved one is a blessing, but it is not without challenges. It can prove to be a considerable financial strain both on the person being cared for and on the person who provides the care. Becoming a PCA in Minnesota helps to solve this problem by providing much-needed compensation to people who are providing essential services to a family member.