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How to be the Boss in your CDPAP

Stepping into the CDPAP role places you at the helm of your personal care, transforming you from a service recipient to a decisive employer. The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) is not just about receiving care, but actively managing it. As a CDPAP employer, you articulate your needs, choose your assistants, and lead with clarity and compassion. This empowerment is central to CDPAP’s ethos, ensuring your care is tailored to your life by your own design. With CDPAP, you’re not just a participant in the program; you’re the director of your care narrative.

This may be a new role for you to play. You haven’t interviewed or hired people to work for you before. They will be performing very personal tasks such as bathing and helping you get out of bed. You want to be comfortable with the personal assistant yet maintain your role as the employer or consumer as it is called in the CDPAP Program.

So how can you do this once you have found someone you think you will be comfortable with? How do you tell them what you need, how you want the tasks done, and what your expectations are? How will you supervise the PAs? What if someone doesn’t follow your directions? What if the person is on his cell phone much of the time he is spending in your home? You are home alone with him and what should you do? Please understand that in the CDPAP program that this is indeed what is required of you.

CDPAANYS is the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State. It is an organization that supports CDPAP providers and recipients in NY State and offers supportive services and helpful resources. Get to know its website, especially this section. https://cdpaanys.org/consumer-resource-center/recruiting-hiring-resources/

This is where you will find tips on supervising and becoming comfortable with the norms of being a boss in this program. The suggestions are culled from consumers (and families) just like you across the state. They are based on experience and common sense so that expectations are clear. You want to prevent problems before they develop.

You are the employer in the CDPAP. You choose the personal assistants. You want to keep the relationship professional. You will be signing off on their time to ensure accurate payment. You will be supervising and evaluating their performance. You have the right to terminate them.

Communication is critical. Don’t just talk and explain. Put things in writing. Put a schedule of tasks on a white board. You may have several PAs so put the schedule of days and hours up on the white board, too. Plan for scheduling changes; that’s why it’s helpful to use a dry erase board. You will be making changes as needed. Clarity and specificity are important, but you do need to allow for the employee’s needs and schedules as well as your own. You should have periodic check-ins to go over what is working and what isn’t. Communicating this from the outset and doing it will make for a better professional relationship where things can be talked through periodically.

Be as specific as you can about the tasks that need to be done. Your safety is at risk. Your PA may be very willing but doesn’t know what can happen if she doesn’t follow the right sequence. Put things in writing that require several steps. Obviously, you don’t have to do that about washing dishes and sweeping the floor for you. Remember that flexibility in certain areas makes sense.

The recruiting hiring resources section of the CDPAANYS website offers many concrete suggestions for supervision and training of personal assistants by the consumer or the designated representative. Use them to set up the relationship effectively, so that you and your PAs have a good experience. You need safe, understanding care. The PA needs to be respected and paid for his work.

Remember that Caring Professionals offers support as well. Although you are the employer, the agency handles payroll and compliance. Be sure you understand all your rights and responsibilities for a good caring experience. We have a wealth of resources here in our CDPAP Resources section.

We have a wealth of knowledge, advice and tips on CDPAP, here are a few examples:

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About the Author

Picture of Faigie Horowitz

Faigie Horowitz

Faigie Horowitz, MS serves as director of communication at Caring Professionals. She advocates for the senior population on the state level and writes about senior and caregiver issues. She is a columnist for several periodicals. She has spent decades in nonprofit management and serves as a lay leader and founder of several community organizations.

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