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Personal assistance services: The Hub of the Policy Wheel for Community Integration of People with Severe Physical Disabilities

Nosek MA, Howland CA. Personal assistance services: The hub of the policy wheel for community integration of people with severe physical disabilities. Policy Studies Journal 1993;21(4):789-800.


The success of persons with severe physical disabilities in living independently in the community, engaging in self-directed productive activities, and staying healthy depends, in part, on getting and maintaining adequate personal assistance with basic tasks such as getting out of bed and tending to personal hygiene. Although few policymakers would disagree with the contention that many people with disabilities need assistance with daily tasks, there is considerable debate about who should provide assistance, what services should be included, who should pay, who should be entitled to publicly provided and paid services, how much assistance should be provided, and who should control its administration. The prevailing model for delivery of personal assistance services has been primarily medical, with control of services by health care professionals, rather than independent living, with control by consumers receiving services. Traditionally there has been an institutional bias of funding for disability-related service, despite its much higher expense than community-based personal assistance services and its violation of basic human rights. Proponents of various solutions to health care reform have given little consideration to the provision of support services for people with disabilities. The advantages of implementing a uniform national system for the delivery of personal assistance services based on consumer control are discussed.

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