Beckwith Residential Support Services FAQ

  1. How are personal assistants assigned?
  2. How many PAs should I hire?
  3. What is a floater?
  4. Can I receive personal assistant services from someone of my same gender?
  5. How do I receive assistance with the restroom in the afternoon? Will this person be of my same gender?
  6. Do I need to come back to Nugent if I need to use the restroom?
  7. What do I do if my PA does not come to assist me when scheduled?
  8. How many hours of PA care am I allowed per week?
  9. May I take the Beckwith PA with me to assist me in the library, the bank or at the mall?
  10. Will the floater help me with my homework?
  11. Will my PA have experience with this type of work?
  12. Can I hire my own PA?
  13. What do I do if I need medical attention?
  14. How do I get registered for classes? How do I get to and from class? What if I need a note taker?  What if I need assistance with test taking?
  15. Can I reside at Nugent Hall and receive Beckwith support services if I use a ventilator?
  16. How do I get assistance for meals?
  17. How do I rent a parking space for my van/car on campus?

Q1: How are personal assistants assigned?

Personal Assistant (PA) services are divided into two categories; direct and indirect services. Direct services are those services that each student requires on a daily basis such as morning and evening assistance (e.g., showering, dressing, bowel and bladder care). Indirect services are unplanned service needs that a student requires throughout the the day and evening hours (e.g., putting on winter outdoor garments, assisting in setting up homework and/or books).

The Associate Director is responsible for recruiting, screening, hiring and generally training personal assistants. After applicants have completed this process they are placed on a list, which is made available to Beckwith supported residents. Each resident then is required to hire, specifically train, and schedule their own PAs for their direct service needs.

The Associate Director also uses this list of trained applicants to schedule PAs for indirect services.

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Q2:How many PAs should I hire?

Each resident should develop a daily schedule determining what activities of daily living they will require assistance in performing. Once the resident has determined what their PA needs are, it is up to the resident to locate enough workers to fulfill their needs. Based on previous student care needs, the average student requires 5-6 PAs.

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Q3: What is a floater?

Floaters make up the indirect services staff. The PAs who work these shifts are hired to work with all Beckwith supported residents during their shifts in assisting with the daily, unexpected events or otherwise unscheduled needs. There is 24/7 floater coverage when BRSS is operational during the academic year when Nugent Hall is open.  Floaters generally answer the in-house emergency call system, assist students with books, coats, bladder care needs, nightly turns, and security rounds, etc.

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Q4: Can I receive personal assistant services from someone of my same gender?

Yes. The PA program was developed to allow the student the freedom of hiring and supervising their own PAs, so each student can hire PAs based on their own needs and comfort level.

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Q5: How do I receive assistance with the restroom in the afternoon? Will this person be of my same gender?

This is one of the functions of the floater. In this case, we can not guarantee same gender care. If a student feels uncomfortable requesting this type of service from the floater, the student should attempt to schedule assistance independently.

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Q6: Do I need to come back to Nugent Hall if I need to use the restroom?

Most residents schedule their classes so that they can return to Nugent Hall in the afternoon for lunch and a restroom break. This works well for them and the floater can assist them with their restroom break. However, if a student preferred to remain on-campus the students should independently schedule a PA to meet them for assistance. If a resident prefers to remain on campus, the resident should be sure to identify an accessible restroom, as well as a "family restroom", if the PA providing services is a different gender.

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Q7: What do I do if my PA does not come to assist me when scheduled?

If a PA does not come when they are scheduled the resident should attempt to contact one of their other PAs (backup staff) to come in and provide assistance. If another PA is not available the resident can contact the floater for assistance.

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Q8: How many hours of PA care am I allowed per week?

Each resident is allowed up to 5 hours of PA care per day, which totals 35 hours per week. Residents very rarely use this many hours and are required to give a PA care time estimate before each semester. Residents should be aware that if they go over 5 hours a day they will be charged for each hour per day.

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Q9: May I take the Beckwith PA with me to assist me in the library, the bank or at the mall?

No. Beckwith PAs are to be used for in-house ADL service needs only. It is the resident's responsibility to locate and finance this sort of assistance, independently of Beckwith PAs.

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Q10: Will the floater help me with my homework?

No. Floaters and other PAs are scheduled to assist with ADL service needs. If homework assistance is needed, residents should contact their resource facilitator at DRES to determine how to hire a tutor and/or a reader/writer.

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Q11: Will my PA have experience with this type of work?

Not necessarily. The average Beckwith PA is a University of Illinois student. Some PAs are seeking degrees in areas that require some experience working with people with disabilities and the work at Beckwith is their first experience. Each PA is trained on the basic area needed to work at BRSS. Each resident should train their PAs in regards to their specific care needs. Most PAs are eager to help and willing to learn.

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Q12: Can I hire my own PA?

Residents are encouraged to hire their own PA staff.  In fact, the expectation is that after the first year receiving BRSS services, residents will begin to hire their own staff via the University Virtual Job Board.   Prior to working with a resident, each applicant, whether chosen by the Associate Director or a resident, must submit an application, undergo screening, attend training, and interview with the Associate Director and interested Beckwith supported residents.

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Q13: What do I do if I need medical attention?

Most residents obtain some type of medical insurance, either through a parent's employment plan or through University of Illinois student insurance. The on-campus medical facility is McKinley Health Center (MHC). If you are in need of medical attention McKinley Health Center can be accessed throughout the day hours and serve as a reference point for other health care needs. There are also several major medical clinics in the area. All three medical centers have physicians who specialize in patients with disabilities. Bus rides, during MHC and other clinic hours, can be arranged with through DRES. After hour transportation should be arranged through an emergency medical vehicle or through outside arrangements. BRSS personnel are not licensed to transport students to and from medical facilities.

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Q14: How do I get registered for classes? How do I get to and from class? What if I need a note taker?  What if I need assistance with test taking?

These things are covered in Academic Support.

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Q15: Can I reside at Nugent Hall and receive BRSS if I use a ventilator or need to be suctioned?

Yes, however, those who need suctioning and/or are on ventilators are required to provide their own 24 hour professional nursing care.

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Q16: How do I get assistance for meals?

Residents who need assistance being fed meals are given two additional hours of PA service per day for a total of 7 hours of PAs/day.  Residents schedule staff during meal times for assistance.  They are given an ID badge which their meal assistants must show when entering the dining hall.  Dining Services support residents in a variety of ways including:  use of a staff member to assist in obtaining food and beverages, carrying trays, cutting food into smaller pieces as needed and assisting with adaptive utensils.

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Q17: How do I rent a parking space for my van/car on campus?

Beckwith supported residents can purchase a parking permit for their vehicles in lot E-14, the same location as other long term resident parking.  It is the resident's responsibility to secure assistance in retrieving their vehicle.

Beckwith supported residents who need their vehicles on a daily basis, may request a parking pass for lot E-20.  This option is available by special request only.  The request is made through Beckwith administrative staff who work with the University Housing Service Desk personnel to review E-20 parking access.  Information about purchases permits and current student parking rates can be found at the Facilities and Services Parking Department.

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