What is Attendant Care?

Attendant care is a type of service performed by health care professionals or fellow students.  These attendants work alongside students who are in need of assistance with daily activities. These activities can range from minor duties, such as light cleaning and laundry needs, to more advanced care, such as bowel and bladder assistance. Most students choose to use one of the local health care agencies, but others utilize students for minor tasks. While the responsibility for hiring, training, supervising, paying, and replacing attendants belongs solely to the student receiving care, the Disability Services (DS) staff can help facilitate the process.  

DS’s role in Attendant Care

Before a prospective student with personal care needs enrolls at Ball State, DS and the student will discuss attendant care policies and procedures. Some students will need no assistance; some may need minimal help, while others may need a greater degree of attendant care. A student should not underestimate his/her abilities or potential; neither should he/she fail to honestly identify those routines and activities that do need assistance. DS can supply a list of prospective attendants, but the responsibility for the hiring of attendant(s) is the student’s. DS can do the following to assist the student:  

  • Assess need and amount of attendant care required;
  • Supply the student with a list of agencies and individuals who have expressed an interest in providing attendant care;
  • Supply information on methods other students have used in finding attendants;
  • Provide information regarding techniques of recruiting, screening, hiring, training, and supervising attendants; and,
  • Serve as a liaison with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) regarding attendant care payment.  

General Information about Attendant Care  

Who can serve as an attendant?

1.      One option is to hire employees from a local health care agency.  Below is a list of agencies located in and around the Muncie area:  

  • Advantage Home Health Care*        4008 N. Wheeling                Muncie                 765-284-1211
  • New Hope Home Care, Inc.*           4023 N. Rosewood               Muncie                 765-289-7740
  • Help at Home, Inc.*                        3310 W. Fox Ridge, Ste. C   Muncie                 765-254-1391
  • CJ’s Abundant Care                         523 W. Plum St.                Anderson             765-378-4600
  • Gentiva Health Services                    1400 E. McGalliard Rd.        Muncie                 765-286-1519
  • Indiana Homecare                            3705 N. Briarwood Drive    Muncie                 765-587-5600 
  • Sincere Care Inc. Home Health          9618 W CR 400 N              Shirley                  765-779-4777
  • Lifestream Services, Inc.                  1701 S. Pilgrim Blvd.           Yorktown             765-759-1121  

*BSU students tend to use one of these three agencies.  These agencies work with BSU students regularly. DS does not endorse any agencies on this list nor does DS know fees or schedules of these agencies.  

2.      You could find a student at your own or surrounding high schools who is also attending Ball State. This option could save time.

3.      You could hire attendant(s) from the referral list provided by DS. The list isn’t extensive, but it may provide possibilities. These students aren’t screened or evaluated, but they have expressed interest in providing attendant care. To obtain a copy of the list, call or stop by the DS office. The student with the disability then makes his or her own interview appointments.  

4.       You could also advertise to hire attendants through the Ball State Communication Center, located in the Arts and Communication Building (Room 224). Call 765-285-1560 for more information.  

How are Attendants Hired?

You must have your attendant care arranged prior to moving into university residence halls or apartments. It is highly recommended that students have a backup plan for attendant care.  This may involve hiring two people, in the case that your first option becomes unavailable. Students typically use home health care agencies for higher level care needs.  For lower level needs, students with disabilities often hire fellow students as attendants. It is suggested that you read through this information well before you enroll at Ball State. A thorough reading of this information will help inform you on the process of securing attendant care on campus.  

If you choose not to use an agency, DS accepts applications year-round from students interested in becoming personal attendants.  This information is then shared with those seeking assistance. Students searching for an attendant will then review the pool of applicants to determine which candidate best suits their needs.  DS can help a student determine the specific level of care he or she needs, but all hiring decisions remain a student responsibility. Be aware that by providing applications to interested students, DS is in no way endorsing a particular candidate.  The role of DS can best be described as a referral source.  

Who Pays for Attendant Care?

Responsibilities for paying an attendant are left to the individual receiving the care; however, in most cases, payment is covered by either Medicaid or by Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). Medicaid often pays for nursing or higher level care needs, and VR can supplement this and pay for lower level needs.  The hourly wage for attendant care through VR is $9.00 per hour. Your care level will be determined by you and your VR counselor. VR clients are responsible for all paperwork necessary to ensure his or her attendant gets paid. When you choose an attendant, the first thing that you need to do is submit an authorization form to VR for that attendant. This will authorize that attendant to get paid by VR. You may pick up a copy of this form in DS. There you can also find copies of a billing form that the attendant can use for billing VR for services rendered. It is crucial that financial arrangements be understood by both parties before the attendant begins to assist the student with a disability. For those who are not VR clients, you could pay an attendant more or less than the prevailing rate.  

Determination of Care Levels  

Five care levels have been set according to the amount of assistance needed by the student with the disability. DS can advise the student in determining which care level is appropriate, or the student may want to discuss which care level is appropriate with their Vocational Rehabilitation counselor. All attendant care situations will not fit neatly into these five categories. However, this system provides an adequate amount of accuracy and flexibility in arranging for attendant care. The student or current attendant should complete the attached checklist to get a good idea of which level of care would be the most appropriate.  

  • Level One – An average of one hour per day of attendant care services. These services might include room cleaning, washing and drying of clothes, assistance to and from the shower, and some other minor maintenance functions that the student is unable to perform.  
  • Level Two – An average of two hours per day of attendant care services. This will include low level quadriplegics and others who need transfer assistance but have at least semi-independence in bowel and bladder care. Also included might be minor wheelchair maintenance functions such as battery charging and changing of tires and belts.  
  • Level Three – An average of three hours per day of attendant care services. This involves quadriplegics and others with severe disabilities who have gained independence in some areas of health care (teeth, hair, pills, washing, etc.).  This attendant service may include dressing, transfer, personal hygiene, and bowel and bladder care.  
  • Level Four – An average of four hours per day of attendant care services. Involving most high level quadriplegics, this service includes transfers, dressing, hygiene assistance, bowel and bladder care, some meal assistance, as well as the items covered above.  
  • Level Five – An average of five hours per day of attendant care services. This involves students with less independence than at level four. This may include feeding and catheterization, as well as the items covered above.