Eastern Michigan University

Personal Care Attendant as an Accommodation

Any student needing a personal care attendant (PCA) for housing or other on-campus accessibility needs should contact the Disability Resource Center to discuss options. A PCA is defined as a person hired by a qualified student with a disability to perform activities of daily living duties in EMU sponsored residence halls, classrooms, programs and activities. Personal care is the provision of routine daily tasks of a personal nature (i.e., bathing, dressing, feeding, transfers, errands, light cleaning, etc.) that enables individuals to function independently in their daily lives and environment.

Students should have or be able to articulate a clear list of PCA responsibilities when communicating with the DRC. Documentation will be requested as necessary. When considered a reasonable accommodation, EMU will coordinate situations so that the PCA can have appropriate access to a student's housing unit and/or academic environment as needed.

The responsibility for hiring, training, supervising and payment for these services belongs to the student needing the PCA. PCAs must be appropriately trained to address the personal needs of the student. It is highly recommended that the student hire a licensed medical/nursing agency that will provide the services of an impartial PCA who is not a family member or close friend.

Based on the PCA's level of involvement with the student and on the campus community, EMU may request the following information from the PCA in certain situations:

  • Agency certifications and insurance bonding
  • PCA background check clearances
  • PCA medical/immunization clearances

Students are responsible for back-up plans in the event that a PCA does not carry out the agreed upon duties in a timely manner. This could include identifying an alternative PCA (with appropriate communication to Residence Life and Residential Services and other campus personnel as needed) and/or communication with course instructors about reasonable considerations.

If living on campus, the PCA must sign an agreement indicating agreement to abide by the rules and regulations of EMU while on campus. The living arrangement depends on the student's disability needs. Depending upon which residence hall or university apartment in which the student resides, the live-in PCA may be required to be of the same sex as the student unless the student is the only occupant of the room/suite.

A PCA is expected to:

  • Refrain from being involved with the student's academic work so that the final product (paper, test performance, etc.) is a reflection of the student's knowledge alone.
  • Assist the student before and after class but wait outside the classroom (unless deemed appropriate by DRC).
  • Allow the student to take responsibility for his/her own decision-making.
  • Refrain from contact with or asking questions of faculty, staff, or others on behalf of the student.
  • Refrain from intervening in conversations between the student and faculty, staff or other students.
  • Refrain from discussing any confidential information about the student with faculty, staff, or students.
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