Saturday, July 11, 2009

PSWs in Ontario

Personal Support Workers in Canada have had a hard time gaining reco for the hard work they do. Currently, they are not tracked, they have no representation in all levels of the health care system: CCAC home care, or in publicly-funded institutions, such as Long-Term Care (LTC). As a family member of a resident (my late father) who lived, and died in LTC, I saw many situations that gave me pause.

PSWs are not being given a standardized education. They are responsible for ADLs for frail seniors and the disabled: transporting them to meals, keeping them fed (some residents require feeding), cleaned, doing toileting routines, and weekly baths. The requirement in many LTC homes is a certificate from a 14-module course, after a gr. 12 education, delivered by local colleges. But this requirement does not exist in all facilities. PSWs are discouraged and demoralized (read April-Dawn's statement below), as many workers are in this economic climate, yet they care for our most fragile seniors., of course, are better educated. It depends upon their background and the expectations of the Transfer Payment Agency and/or employer. Some have upgrading, depending upon the facility. I took the Foundations of Palliative Care Course with some of my late father's caregivers. After the fact, it would seem to me to be an essential part of their training, with the high numbers of seniors dying in LTC.

PSW Canada, for example, is trying to raise the bar. We need Psw Canada people with training in sociology, psychology, as well as the medical needs of our seniors. We train our day care teachers with (Early Childhood Education 2-year College certificates) better than this. I would expect that seniors, with more complex continuing care needs, would deserve highly trained individuals, with standard training, and regulation.

We need to know about those who are unsuited for this profession. We need to track them and regulate them. We need them to monitor each other as they do their work, and help to improve the type of care our elders receive. They need upgrading, training and EAP-type support as they do the back-breaking work frail seniors need to help them stay in their homes, or in retirement homes, or in Long-Term Care.

They deserve our respect, despite the powers-that-be who disagree.

From President Miranda:
PSW Canada has also been in meetings with LHINS, SEIU, the Ombudsman and many other organizations. We find that at each meeting or conversation NONE of these organizations TRULY understand what we do.

One of the lines that was given to us was that we don't "DESERVE" to be regulated and respected. Now, pause for a moment and let that sink in. We don't DESERVE respect.....WOW. PSW Canada has been sweet as pie for the last year trying to rally for better things for Personal Support Workers and our Seniors. We are DONE being nice. Now is the time to speak the TRUTH.
PSW Canada
Our schooling is unorganized, our work hours are tampered with, we don't receive any recognition for our work. We provide emotional, physical and mental support EVERYDAY! We are the front line workers and we are PROUD! Without us, what would they do?? Who would be so caring enough to do our job?? Stand tall and Proud PSWs! You DESERVE Regulation and RESPECT!!! PSWs are Angels in disguise ~ Now it's time to spread our Wings and FLY!

From VP April-Dawn

Back five years ago I took the PSW Course..I made a large leap in my career as I came from a ten year business back ground. I took the course with the intentions on providing care and comfort to all seniors and to love, respect and treat them like my own Grandparents.

I have to admit, the first shift I ever worked absolutely disgusted me, to see the way the residents were living in their environment. Needless to say, I questioned myself on whether or not I made the right career move. Going to school to become a PSW was a cake walk, but schooling NEVER EVER prepares ANYONE for what they see when they get out into the field.

As days went on and years flew by, I was becoming more and more infuriated with what I was being subjected to..
  • working short-staffed
  • improper or lacking supplies to provide proper care
  • working with staff that are poorly trained
  • staff demonstrating burnout symptoms
..and the list goes on. I felt sorry and absolutely helpless for my residents. I became angry, and was tired of talking upon deaf ears. It opened my eyes to many things, and made me realize that I don't want to ever have to put my Grandparents or my parents in a long term care facility, because I know they wouldn't get the care they deserve...and by far its not our fault. There is really no one else to blame other than our Government.

They have made an awful mess of our long term care facilities, and they just don't give a damn about what we have to say because all we are is the Front Grunt Line Workers.
My eyes are opened to the things that I didn't see before- contributing factors as to why many PSW's have lost their passion and their drive. It made me sick to know that we aren't considered a vital part of the health care team by the government. They say they recognize that there are MANY PSW's, and that there are more of us then there is of doctors and nurses.

Thank you all again, April, VP Of Operations

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