Schools Training

Aging Population Equals New Job Opportunities: Personal Support Worker Courses

22 JAN 2013
Career Path : Personal Support Worker

According to the Canadian federal government, by 2026, one in five Canadians will be 65 years of age or older. This dramatic demographic shift towards an aging population raises some serious questions. Who will help this growing proportion of seniors maintain an independent lifestyle for as long as possible? The answer: the future graduates of today’s healthcare training programs. If you are an empathetic person looking for a meaningful career, which allows you to make a real difference in the lives of other people, personal support worker courses may be an excellent option to consider. Health Care Aide, Home Support Worker, Respite Worker, read on to learn more about how to train for a wide range of personal care jobs.

First and foremost, personal support worker (PSW) courses teach students how to assist clients in the tasks of daily living. Students learn how to make bedridden clients more comfortable, or how to protect isolated or otherwise potentially vulnerable clients from neglect, abuse, and other physical or emotional threats.

The training prepares students for careers in:

  • long-term care facilities such as nursing homes for the elderly or disabled
  • retirement homes
  • hospitals, caring for the chronically ill
  • private homes
  • adult day programs
  • group homes

Students who enroll in PSW courses can expect to learn about common medical conditions and disabilities. They will learn standard rehab exercises. Some PSW courses take the form of a practicum, giving students a chance to apply the skills learned in the classroom to real-life situations. Some provinces require graduates to write a standardized exam before entering the workforce.

Students of PSW courses can also expect to learn:

  • how to assess what each patient needs, in terms of personal care, home management, recreational activities, etc.
  • interpersonal skills
  • workplace safety skills (how to safely move a patient, etc.)
  • when to call in social services (suspected abuse or neglect)
  • meal planning and preparation
  • how to assist patients with hygiene (e.g., bathing)
  • how to interact with family members
  • about mental health issues
  • about administering medications or helping clients manage their own
  • First Aid (including CPR)

Typical job duties for graduates of personal support worker courses include:

  • serving meals
  • feeding patients
  • massaging patients
  • helping patients exercise
  • arranging fun activities for patients
  • taking patients on outings
  • monitoring patients’ blood pressure
  • recording fluid intake
  • helping collect urine specimens for lab work
  • making beds, tidying rooms
  • sterilizing any care equipment

Some schools even offer scholarships. Most will you help students write a CV and hone their interviewing skills. Looks for a school that offers job placement help.

If the idea of picking an in-demand profession appeals to you, contact a school that offers personal support worker courses today. All indicators suggest that your foresight will be rewarded with a healthy job market over the long term.