Employing personal assistants during the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons for social care practice

Kritika Samsi In progress  


What happened to people employing their own care workers or Personal Assistants (PAs) during the Coronavirus pandemic? How did they manage? Did they stop this support; adjust to new ways of care and support; and have they restarted their PA or done something different? Did their local council contact them with advice, or was other information available? This study, focusing on the experiences of people employing their own care workers, will help answer these questions.


The objective of this study is to provide evidence of the experiences of people employing their own care workers (Personal Assistants) during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to inform and improve care practice.

The study aims to:

  • Explore the impact of Covid-19 on PA employment and relationships, changes to roles, practice, and relationships; risk assessment, management and negotiation, decision making and forward planning during the period of national lockdown and beyond
  • Explore existing and any changed attitudes to Personal Protective Equipment and other wider elements of Health and Safety due to COVID-19 risks when being supported by a PA and the possible impact and management of these in the long-term
  • Identify sources of information and support accessed by a diverse group of employers; specifically in relation to COVID-19 and PAs; including communications with them by their local authority about payments, furloughing and reviews
  • Identify unmet need and gaps in support for PA employers and their ideas about maximising the benefits of PA support during and following COVID-19;
  • Contribute to the emerging theoretical understandings of employment relationships in the context of social care for diverse populations and support and to practice frameworks in adult social work and social care.


People who employ PAs about their experiences during the time of lockdown and beyond will be interviewed (70 individual employers (care users) and family members (if they are the employer because their relative cannot manage these arrangements)), to learn from their experiences. People from 5-6 brokerage or support agencies that help people find possible PAs, or support PA employers, will also be interviewed.