What is an attendant?

An attendant is a person who is hired to help a person with a developmental disability with every day things. Attendants can perform a variety of tasks, including:

  • Helping with baths and showers; 

  • Helping a person use the restroom;

  • Preparing meals; 

  • Attending medical and dental appointments; 

  • Reminding a person to take their medications; 

  • Joining a person for social and/or recreation events; 

  • Doing laundry and other household tasks; and 

  • More

How can my loved one receive services from an attendant?

Anyone is able to hire an attendant to help with daily living activities at their own expense. However, personal attendant services are paid for through Medicaid Waiver services, including the CCC Plus Waiver and all three of the Developmental Disability Waivers. 

For more information on how to receive CCC Plus or Developmental Disability Waiver services, click here. 

Who can be an attendant?

To be an attendant paid for through the CCC Plus or Developmental Disabilities Waiver, the person must:

  • Be aged 18 or over; 

  • Be a legal resident of the United States; and

  • Have no barrier crime convictions

Parents often ask if they are able to serve as the attendant for their child. If the child is under the age of 18, the answer is NO. In some cases, parents may be approved to serve as an attendant for adult children over the age of 18. 

Writing a job description

To hire an attendant, you need to have a clear description of what the attendant will be doing for your loved one. A job description should include the following:

  • Title of the position. Often times, that will be "Personal Care Attendant" or something similar;

  • The age of your loved one, as some attendants prefer to work with a specific age range;  

  • The days and hours you would like the attendant to work and the location where he or she will work; 

  • The types of activities he or she will be responsible for, such as:

    • Lifting and transferring your loved one; ​

    • Preparing meals and snacks; 

    • Assisting with using the toilet and/or shower; and

    • Transporting and/or accompanying to medical appointments

  • Any special situations that they may encounter such as:

    • Behavioral issues and aggression; ​

    • Any communication needs, such as your loved one being nonverbal; 

    • Medical needs; 

    • Elopement and safety issues; and 

    • More

  • The qualities your are looking for in the attendant, such as:

    • Patient; ​

    • Energetic;

    • Attentive; 

    • Experience with your loved one's disability; 

    • Any preferred training and/or certifications, such as experience with ABA or American Sign Language;

    • Ability to transport; and

    • The best way to reach you if they are interested in the position

Where to advertise for the job

There are many different ways you can find an attendant for your loved one. Some examples include:

  • Care.com (please note this is NOT a free service); 

  • Local hospitals and universities (focus on students majoring in special education, occupational therapy, speech therapy, behavioral sciences); 

  • Local high schools (for students 18 and over); 

  • Mentoring programs; 

  • Online ads through social media, such as Facebook; 

  • Indeed; 

  • Churches and places of worship; 

  • Neighborhood newsletters; 

  • LinkedIn; and

  • Family & friends

Interviewing potential attendants

It is important to paint a realistic view of what a potential attendant will do when assisting your loved one. Here are things your should include during your interview and explanation of the position:

  • Thank the person for coming to the interview; 

  • Introduce them to your loved one if they are available; 

  • Tell them a little bit about yourself, your expectations and your family;

  • Describe a typical day;

  • Describe how your loved one communicates; and 

  • Review the job description and duties. It is helpful to have this printed out to hand to him or her. 

Interview questions that may be useful:

  • Tell me about why you would like this position.

  • Tell me about your experience with (your loved one's disability).

  • Have you ever held a position like this?

  • Are you comfortable performing (list the task the person would be required to complete as part of the position)?

  • Are you comfortable with behavioral outbursts and acts of aggression?

  • Do you have any specific health or safety training, such as CPR or Handle with Care?

  • Do you have experience with assistive technology or American Sign Language

  • Do you have a valid driver's license and ability to transport my loved one alone?

  • Do you enjoy (list activities your loved one likes to participate in)? 

  • Would you accompany our family on outings or to medical appointments?

  • Do you have any questions for me or my loved one?

Hiring an attendant

Once you find an attendant for your loved one, you may begin the process of hiring him or her. There are two fiscal organizations--Consumer Direct and Public Partnerships. You need to be aware of which you belong to. Your service facilitator can assist with this. The hiring procedures are linked below for each:

Links, documents & more resources

Helpful documents, guides and resources

EOR Manual July2019 revised_Page_01.jpg

Employer of Record Manual updated 7/2019

Sample Job Description

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© 2023 by The Arc of Northern Shenandoah Valley. 

Tel: 540-692-9650

Email: shenvalleyarc@gmail.com

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