Tuesday, January 26, 2010

PSW Canada - professional caregiver training

The bad ones give all a bad name and bring down the spirit of a facility, or bring negativity to a senior receiving care in their home. I remember one woman barreling in to my late father bedroom, demanding he get ready as he was going to have a shower and she was gonna give it to him. Understandably, she didn't, he refused. Then I remember the woman, Patty, who cajoled, persuaded and sweet talked Dad into a shower, after he'd refused for TWO WEEKS to have one! She I adored! She told funny stories in the dining room about putting her pants on backwards, and had us all in stitches.

As a former caregiver to my parents, I have looked for, and found, kindred spirits in this province.

We are blessed with a wide range of services from retirement homes, to long-term care.
One of my pet peeves is the lack of regulation for Personal Support Workers or Health Care Aides.

Their title, mandate and education and qualifications change from facility to facility, unlike preschool settings, in which workers must have a two-year Early Childhood Education (ECE) certificate program.

The good ones are great. They work in facilities that provide in-service opportunities in palliative care, for example. I took the Foundations in Palliative Care course with several women who delivered care to my father. They share ideas, generate solutions to difficult patients, support one another, and are dedicated, caring, strong members of the health care team.

I encourage you to read PSW Canada's blog. They are committed to improving the delivery of health care for those who desperately need help with ADLs: activities of daily living that we, who are healthy, take for granted. This week they write of their Alzheimer’s Campaign, providing information and experience from caring, dedicated health care workers. They have been doing excellent research, and contributing to the body of knowledge available for those wonderful men and women who lift, toilet, bathe, dress, feed and generally provide a better standard of living for those unable to care for themselves.

They are lobbying to have PSW and Health Care Aides regulated, and to have standards of training to provide a better level of care for those who need and deserve society's help: the old, frail and disabled. Midwives had this same battle 30 years ago when I was first pregnant. The physicians fought hardest, but were those who benefitted most from having state-regulated, professionals who could make a normal pregnancy a normal part of the life process.

I hope that the politicians and stakeholders involved in health care step up to the plate and take a swing at ensuring that our loved ones are getting quality care in their homes, retirement facilities and long-term care.

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