What Is The Difference Between PCA's & PSA's?

What is the difference between PCA’s and PSA’s?

Differentiating the title PCA and PSA can sometimes be confusing, however they have very different roles. We have created a clear explanation to help you determine which role you might like to study and the outcomes it will have when applying for a job.

Hopefully this blog will help you to understand exactly what you’re applying for.

PCA’s (Personal Care Attendant)

Also known as AIN’s (Assistant in Nursing) or PCW’s (Personal Care Worker)

Certificate required: Cert III in Aged Care


Cert III in Aged Care including HACC (this includes the homecare component)

PCA’s/AIN’s are responsible for the care and service to residents, primarily within aged care facilities.

They assist residents with their ADL’s (activities of daily living), keeping in accordance with the resident’s needs and preferences.

It is also important they respect and acknowledge each residents physical, spiritual, social and cultural needs, to enable their independence for as long as possible.

A few of the duties performed by the PCA are:

  • Personal and Oral Hygiene
  • Grooming
  • Incontinence Management
  • Assistance with walking and use of wheelchairs, lifting and standing machines
  • Assistance with food and fluids as required
  • Blood Pressure, Blood Sugar, Fluid Balance readings and recording of information.

One of the most important functions of the PCA is to observe the resident, and if required, promptly report back any changes in their condition or wellbeing to the nursing staff.


PSA’s (Personal Services Assistant)

Certificate required: Cert III in Health (Patient Services)

PSA’s are responsible for the delivery of patient care services in hospitals. Their tasks do vary greatly and are dependent on the ward, but they are required to work as part of a team to ensure best practise, environmental safety and infection control are met to the hospitals expectations.

A few of the duties performed by the PSA are:

  • Cleaning of rooms and waste collection
  • Disinfecting beds and discharge cleaning
  • Removal of soiled linen and infectious waste
  • Cleaning of pan rooms, including trolleys, buckets, pans, suction equip etc…
  • Changing beds, cleaning of poles and side rails

Also, under this qualification comes:

Mopping and buffing floors – Need to be trained in the use of Kircher buffing machine


Transporting patients – Need to be trained in the use of lifting machines and Gazunders (Electronic lifts)

  • Patients from ward to ward, or operating theatre, recovery etc.
  • Deceased Patients

Food Services – Need to have the FSA component of the course

  • Servicing of patient meals and beverages
  • Collection of meal trays
  • Cleaning of food area
  • Maintenance of pantry areas

Their role is vital within the hospital environment as being able to work as a team member and communicate effectively.

Maintenance of a clean and safe environment for visitors and staff as well as patients is paramount, as well as assisting nursing staff in the areas of patient welfare, comfort, hygiene and transport.


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