Personal Care Assistant

Personal Care Assistant Guidelines

MHU recognizes that a student with a disability may require the services on campus of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) to assist with activities of daily living or other health care needs in order to participate in the university experience.  Students whose disability necessitates the ongoing services of a PCA in either the academic or residential setting need to register with the Office of Accessibility Services.  The Accessibility Services Coordinator will work with the Office of Residence Life to assist the student in making the necessary arrangements for the presence of the PCA.  However, it is solely the student’s responsibility to retain, coordinate, and assume financial responsibility for the services of a PCA.  Arrangements for card/key access and identification should be discussed in advance with the Office of Residence Life. Any expenses associated with these items will be the responsibility of the student.  If an approved PCA happens to be a different gender than the student, advance or alternate arrangements will need to be made in advance with the Director or Assistant Director of Residence Life regarding resident and bathroom access to protect the privacy of all students.  Parking access for the PCA should be arranged in advance with the Office of Security.

Student responsibilities for approval of a PCA will require the following:

  1. The requesting student should complete an MHU Request for Academic Accommodations Form and/or the MHU Request for Housing Accommodations Form along with supporting documentation that verifies the need for the services of a PCA.
  2. The student must submit a contract with job description including a list of responsibilities for the PCA from a licensed medical/nursing agency or an approved individual.  It is recommended that the student utilize a licensed medical/nursing agency that will provide the services.  Family members and friends are generally not approved to serve as PCAs, but exceptions may be granted on a case by case basis upon approval of the Accessibility Services Coordinator and the Director of Residence Life.
  3. A prospective PCA who intends to work within the student’s residence must undergo a criminal background check and a legally admissible drug screen assessment.  Written verification that these same standards of screenings have been met from an agency of employment will also be considered.  A prospective PCA who needs a criminal background check should contact the MHU Office of Human Resources. Payment must be submitted when the background check is requested.  A legally admissible drug screen assessment may be obtained through a medical office or drug screen service provider.  The results of screens must be submitted directly to the MHU Office of Residence Life.  The cost of the screenings are a responsibility to be arranged within the contract of the prospective PCA and/or the student who is requesting those services.
  4. Each individual PCA assigned from an agency or privately employed PCA must be registered with the Office of Accessibility Services, Campus Security, Health Services, and with the Office of Residence Life (if a residential student).  A copy of the contract will be shared with these offices.
  5. The student should develop an alternative plan of action should the regularly assigned PCA not be available to work.

The responsibilities of the PCA shall include the following:

  1. The PCA should follow all applicable Mars Hill University policies, rules, regulations, and procedures including the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. The PCA may assist the student before and after class unless deemed appropriate through the Office of Accessibility Services for a PCA to assist a student during class or campus activity.
  3. The PCA is a silent observer in the classroom and shall not participate in discussions nor disrupt the learning environment in any way.
  4. The PCA shall not provide any academic assistance with quizzes, tests, or class assignments.
  5. The PCA should refrain from discussing confidential information about the student with faculty, staff, or students.
  6. Incidents of non-compliance will be reviewed with the Office of Accessibility Services, Office of Residence Life, and Office of Security and other campus personnel as appropriate to the offense. Significant violations may result in the withdrawal of approval for the PCA to provide services on campus.