Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Personal Support Workers and Health Care Aides


PSW Course Description

Ontario's Personal Support Worker (PSW) training program is a single program that consolidates and replaces the former Health Care Aide, Home Support Worker.
The Canadian Business School succinctly outlines the of duties and responsibilities of a personal support worker;
  • Observes and report's clinical and treatment information, behavioral changes
  • Assists with range of motion exercises, and other rehabilitative measures
  • Takes and records blood pressure, temperature, pulse, respiration, bodyweight and height
  • Assists with ambulating and mobilization of patient
  • Collects specimens for required medical tests
  • Provides emotional and support services to care-receivers and families
  • Assists with personal hygiene
  • Assists with meal preparation, grocery shopping, dietary planning, food and fluid intake
  • Quality Care Comes from Quality Training
Although each school will have their own unique admission requirements, the Ontario government requires all personal support students to complete the following before begin taking part in their training placement.;
  • Immunization record;
  • Hepatitis B vaccine;
  • Criminal Reference Check;
  • Students will be required to complete Standard First Aid and Basic Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) prior to PSW Field Practicum
  • Students doing a practicum may be required to meet the same physical assessment and immunization requirements as those for the staff employed by the agency where the practicum is taking place.  

Shockingly, some volunteer groups are training PSWs. There are no regulations and no registration for training, and yet they are governed by the Health Regulations Act. Strangers providing intimate care for our loved ones who are guilty of elder abuse, theft, and put our frail seniors at risk.

Personal Support Worker Training Backgrounder [PDF]

Training: Outcomes and Module Outlines” which was published by the Ontario Community Support Association. (OCSA) in January 1997. If you complete all 14 modules you are given the designation of PSW.
Jan 11, 2009
The Ontario Government has had a big push on to provide more support for seniors in their homes. This is a fine idea, but one that requires careful homework, whether on the part of the senior, or their families who may be bearing the weight of the support required.
Tuition fees vary, but typically a learning centre course costs approximately $1200 and a college course costs around $2500. This may or may not include supplies such as text books, shoes, scrubs, etc.
Below is a pay table for a personal support worker taken from Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

Wages for Home Support Workers (Canada Averages)

PublicPrivate NFPPrivate FPOverall
Unionized$14.65$11.74$13.97$13.49
Non-Unionized$13.42$11.52$11.79$11.95
Overall$14.41$11.66$12.04$12.71



Employers are getting pretty ignorant of the law and responsibilities. PSWs are often asked to work that is not part of their job description: administering medications, writing in family report logs, and in home care the relationship is fairly casual. In small towns people all know each other. PSWs are told to hand their meds to the client, and this allows them to ensure that the client gets the medication, and no nurse is needed. I have been in a volunteer hospice placement where I have seen this occur.

 This job ad came from the official governmental site the Canadian Job Bank (via psw jobs).

Other links:
PSW Canada and our network of volunteers are dedicated to supplying the best possible resources and opportunities to ALL Personal Support Workers.
Personal Suport Network of Ontario provides Personal Support Workers in Ontario with training, news and benefits

4 comments:

Susan Cassell said...

I'm amazed that the industry is so un-regulated that meals on wheels can train PSW's. Realistically could a random person open up a school in their garage and hand out certificates?

Jenn Jilks said...

I don't think that certificates are involved, Susan. But they are training those who are working within their system. I suppose it is better than no training at all!

Anonymous said...

So many personal support workers who come into my mother's home do the minimum and then sit and talk on their cell phones. My mother is held hostage to their conversations when she would like some quiet or perhaps some company. Is this typical?

Jenn Jilks said...

Definitely NOT typical in the PSWs I've worked with, but then, sometimes you 'have to teach them how to treat you!' YOU MUST COMPLAIN!

I've had Educational Assistants in my classroom, sitting at the back reading a book, too. President of that union at the time, I began to give her specific assignments, as she didn't seem to know what she could do!
This is atypical, and I've worked with many who were an extension of myself.