Wheaton College is committed to ensuring that all qualified students with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services to ensure access and nondiscrimination to programs, services, and activities. Wheaton College makes every reasonable effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities as addressed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA Amendments Act 2010) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Wheaton College permits students with disabilities who have a documented need for assistance with activities of daily living and/or nursing care within a residential setting, to retain the services of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA). A Personal Care Attendant (PCA) is defined as a person who provides personal care/assistance (chronic or temporary) to a student with a disability, or other health care needs with activities of daily living, including nursing services not administered through the College Health Services or assistance with normal life functions. Personal Care Attendant (PCA) services may facilitate higher levels of independent access and participation in College’s programs, services, and activities. The College does not assume coordination of, financial responsibility for, or legal liability for the PCA chosen and hired by the student.
The services of a Personal Care Attendant (PCA) can have an important role in an individual’s quality of life. The well thought out selection of the right agency/individual and ongoing effective communication with the PCA is critical for a successful experience. Students who require personal attendant services must make arrangements to provide for his/her own Personal Care Attendant and must follow the policies, procedures and guidelines as listed below.
Protocol When Hiring Personal Care Attendants
It is the student’s sole responsibility to make the appropriate arrangements to contract services with a licensed agency to provide the services of a Personal Care Attendant or a licensed, private PCA to provide these services.
Same gender PCAs are encouraged but not required when engaged for live-in assistance.
Any non-residential student who requires the use of a Personal Care Attendant while on campus must comply with all the non-residential components of the process listed.
Any residential student who wishes to request these accommodations must:
- Develop a clear job description and list of responsibilities for assistance with daily living activities
- Provide evidence of agency/professional certifications and insurance certificates upon request.*
- Arrange for and provide evidence of PCA background check clearances
- Provide evidence of PCA medical/immunization clearances
*If insurance certification is not feasible, the student must agree to and sign a hold harmless agreement with the college.
If student is using an agency:
It is recommended that the student work with a licensed medical/nursing agency to identify a personal care attendant. If a student hires someone privately it cannot be a relative or friend.
- Complete the Housing Accommodation Request Form and submit appropriate documentation to Accessibility Services that supports the medical necessity of a Personal Care Attendant.
- Secure an agency-affiliated, or private, certified PCA prior to attending any college-related activity (i.e. placement testing, enrollment, class attendance). (Wheaton College will not be responsible for providing a PCA on an interim basis.)
- Provide documentation that the PCA is qualified to perform the services.
- Ensure that the agency representative and each individual PCA, or private, certified PCA registers with the Office of Accessibility Services, Public Safety, and Health Services (central effort coordinated by Wheaton College). Student will provide a copy of the contract between the student and the agency/PCA
- Ensure that PCA personnel changes are registered with the Office of Accessibility Services, Public Safety, Residential Life, and Health Services, as required.
- Direct the activities of the PCA while at Wheaton College. The student is solely responsible for ensuring the PCA is fulfilling his/her responsibilities for the student’s care whether daily or periodically. Wheaton College will not assume responsibility for the PCA or his/her failure to fulfill the contracted responsibilities.
- Develop an alternative plan of action should the regularly assigned PCA not be available to work
- Follow all Wheaton College policies and abide by the Student Handbook.
- Pay for all PCA services, including but not limited to housing and meal plans if living on campus.
- Same gender PCAs are encouraged but not required when assisting students with bathing or toileting in a residence hall or in shared or public area restrooms.
- Follow all applicable Wheaton College policies, rules, regulations, and procedures. A PCA found in violation of College policies will be removed from campus immediately regardless of the contractual arrangement the PCA has with the student.
- Assist the student before and after class but wait outside the classroom (unless deemed appropriate by documentation and approved by Accessibility Services).
- Allow the student to take responsibility for his/her own progress or behavior.
- Refrain from contact with or asking questions of faculty, staff, or others on behalf of the student
- Refrain from intervening in conversations between the student and faculty, staff or other students
- Refrain from discussing any confidential information about the student with faculty, staff, or students.
- The PCA should not be involved with the student’s work related to any class assignments or tests.
- PCAs will only be able to access the student’s residence hall while classes are in session or if the student has properly secured permission to be on campus during break sessions.
- PCA parking is limited to Lot 2
- PCAs should check in at Public Safety 15 minutes prior to the start of the shift. The PCA should present a picture ID and sign out a key. The PCA’s ID should be worn and visible while on campus. Public Safety will also provide the PCA with a campus visitor pass. At the end of the shift, the PCA will sign out and return the pass and key to Public Safety.
Non-Compliance to Policy
Incidents of non-compliance in adhering to the policies set forth by Wheaton College either by the student or his/her PCA will be subject to review as follows:
- Informal Review – As appropriate, the Directors of Residential Services, Accessibility Services, Student Health Services, Public Safety and/or other appropriate Departments will meet with the student to discuss the issue of non-compliance and work with the student to determine possible solutions. A written report of the resolution will be given to the student within two working days of completion of the informal investigation.
- Formal Review – As appropriate, the Directors of Residential Services, Accessibility Services, Student Health Services, Public Safety and/or other appropriate Departments will convene a formal review of the concern. The formal review may also include other college representatives such as the Dean of Students. Sanctions may be determined if the student is found responsible for the matter under review. These could include, for example, the PCA no longer being permitted on College property, a probationary period to correct the matter under review, or the removal of the student from College housing. A written report of the resolution will be given to the student within two working days of completion of the formal investigation.
- Appeals – A student may appeal a decision made from the Formal Review by following the guidelines under the Grievance Procedures.
Acknowledgement to Muhlenberg College for providing the framework for this policy.