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DSP & PCA: What is the difference?


You are applying to support someone you know, but do you need to be PCA or DSP trained, or do you need both? That all depends on the service(s) that you will be providing to the person you plan to support. A PCA worker is someone who provides Personal Care Assistance, in home and in the community. A Direct Support Professional (DSP) is someone who provides one (or more) 245 D services in home and in the community.

If you are going to provide PCA services for someone, Minnesota and the Department of Human Resources require you to obtain a PCA certificate. This can be done on-demand, online, through MN DHS at https://registrations.dhs.state.mn.us/PCACourse/cfss/training-languages.html. Once you have finished the training you need to pass the test to obtain your PCA certification. Then you are ready to do your person-specific training with a Qualified Professional (QP), the person who coordinates services, schedule, and staff training.

The QP will go over what Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) you will be supporting the person with, and how to support them appropriately. A PCA worker can expect to help with the following things: dressing, grooming & hygiene, feeding, transfers, mobility, positioning, toileting, and other health-related functions. If the person you are supporting is over 18 you may also; accompany them to medical appointments, assist with paying bills, and complete household tasks (such as planning and preparing meals or shopping for food, clothing, or other essential items.)

If you are going to provide a 245 D service, you will need to complete STAR services training to work as a DSP. 245 D services include homemaking, respite, companion, independent living skills, individualized community living supports (ICLS), employment services, in-home family supports and transportation. Once you have finished STAR services training, and passed the necessary tests, you are ready to do your person-specific training with a Designated Coordinator (DC), the person who coordinates services, schedule, and staff training.

The DC will go over what the person needs support with, within the scope of each service they will receive. The duties of the DSP will depend upon which service is needed by the individual. For example, a DSP who is supporting with homemaking can expect to help with laundry, dish washing, meal preparation and other household chores, whereas a DSP who is supporting in ICLS can expect to help with errands in the community, paying bills and making doctor’s appointments.

Some people need PCA & DSP support. Good news, you CAN do BOTH! If you wanted to work with someone who needs PCA & a 245D service, all you need to do is complete the PCA training and the STAR services training and do the specific training with the QP/DC coordinating services.

Ready to join the Life Fountain team? Check out our open positions here: https://www.lifohhc.com/opportunities

What more information?

PCA: https://www.dhs.state.mn.us/main/idcplg?IdcService=GET_DYNAMIC_CONVERSION&RevisionSelectionMethod=LatestReleased&dDocName=DHS16_146076

DSP:

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/cite/245D.09

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