Below is an article written by Aleisha, one of our QP/DC's. She talks about her experiences as a caregiver and how that allowed her to step into the QP/DC role:
Being a sibling-caregiver has been a rewarding experience. I started working as a PCA, Personal Care Assistant, for my younger sister. It was a rewarding experience because I was able to work from within my mom’s home. It also helped my mother gain peace of mind in knowing my sister was in good hands. I understand how stressful it may be for Parents, Grandparents, or even siblings who are the guardian for their loved ones. For the families that are new to services or even existing families, please know you have the benefit of having a family member be the staff for your person-served.
You may ask, what is a person-served? A person-served is the person you care for and who you provide the needs they require. They are the person you give your full undivided attention and give your time to. As a PCA staff for my sister, I learned new ways to know her. I knew my sister as my sister. However, when I started working with her, I met her as my person-served. I figured out different ways to communicate with her. I learned to meet her daily needs as her caregiver and not as her sister.
After being a PCA for my sister, I then became her DSP, Direct Support Professional. While being a PCA was fun, I enjoy being a DSP more. DSP falls under the 254D Program. 245D Program offers a wide variety of different services such as Adult Companion Services, Homemaker, Night Supervision, Respite, and many other services that are meant to fit everyone’s needs. My sister has Respite service. Respite is meant to give the parent a relief from their loved one. Others may look at this service as a babysitting opportunity. Maybe you are going to an event that your person-served might not want to go. Respite is beneficial for both the person-served and their families.
As a DSP staff, this lets me be more creative with activities for my sister. Some days, I will do activities that she enjoys such as giving her a manicure/pedicure, do her makeup, fix her eyebrows, and feed her. She loves food. These activities are based on my person-served being my sister. Your person-served may want to do different activities or may want to focus on learning a new hobby. The activities will vary based on who your person is. This will require for you to learn their likes/dislikes, wants/needs, and what makes them who they are. Being person-centered is key to a never-ending journey.
What does it mean to be person-centered? Being person-centered is about focusing care on the needs of the person rather than the needs of the service. The person is also an equal partner in the planning of care and that his or her opinions are important and are respected.
Although my main person-served is my sister. I did work with a different person-served throughout my journey who taught me patience.
The activities I had to do with my sister were similar to what I had to do with this person-served. However, everyone is different and requires a different level of assistance. Even if a person-served has the same service as another person-served, the requirements and/or the activities needed to complete can be different.
After the years of experience and the knowledge gained, I am now a QP/DC for the agency who one day gave me the opportunity to start as a PCA. I learned how to be a staff and now I train others to successfully complete their job.
I leave you with one of my favorite Carl Rogers quotes that I feel encapsulates my goals as a QP/DC: