Disability and Life: training your PA

Rupy Kaur is a young, British Asian, disabled woman, who is very independent and can be feisty when needed (so she says!). She is writing for DH on some of the experiences that happen to her on a day-to-day basis, focussing on relationships with PAs. This month, Rupy talks about how to train your PA and agreeing expectations.


So after months of recruiting I finally have a new PA – yay! A lot of my friends who are also employers of PAs have struggled with the training process – so here’s my advice.

If my PAs have similar interests to me or a similar outlook on life, it’s inevitable that we will probably end up as friends. However, I’ve learnt from past experience the first few months are vital in order to establish both of your expectations. Only once you both know what the boundaries are can your relationship flourish!

Before your PA starts, make sure you have a contract. The contract should detail their core hours, holiday pay, how you will fulfil your statutory obligation if they go on sick or maternity etc. It’s also important to outline in the contract whether they have a probationary period (which is highly recommended if things don’t work out) and what your disciplinary procedure is. Make sure you get a third party to check over your contract to ensure it’s viable.

Ensure you have provided them with moving and handling training, if required, as soon as you can in order to protect both of you.

When you train, don’t be scared of being precise with your routine. If you prefer your routine to be done in a certain way, keep repeating until it’s done right. That’s how habits and routines get established.

Make sure you nip issues like punctuality in the bud. If your PA is repeatedly late, ensure that you keep a record and speak to them each time they are late. In an office job, lateness is unacceptable and so it is for their role as your PA. If this doesn’t improve you may need to work out whether it’s still worth pursuing. I normally give it a month to settle but if it doesn’t then I advise you to follow the disciplinary procedures.

Ensure you have a probationary period. I give three months and both parties can terminate the employment with one week’s notice if you’re unhappy.

Give praise when your PA is doing well. Positive reinforcement is necessary for for your PA to want to continue working with you.

I have a handbook (care plan) for my PAs written by ex PAs. It offers useful information regarding my personal care routine, who significant others are in my life, what meals I like etc – a really helpful tool to ensure PAs feel comfortable.

And have fun – I love a good gossip and Netflix! Haha. You’re both humans and not robots.

I hope this was useful.

Until next time,


By Rupy Kaur

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