Schools Training

What is a Personal Support Worker?

19 FEB 2013
Career Path : Community Work

With a rapidly aging population, the personal support worker is becoming an increasingly essential part of the healthcare and home care industry. These healthcare workers specialize in looking after the need of physically or mentally incapacitated patients. This includes the elderly, people recovering from temporary injuries and the disabled. Because of the nature of the work, hours can be part or full time. Some personal support workers see a single client while others will split their time between multiple patients or even work in a residential care facility or adult day programs for the mentally disabled.


One of the main parts of the job is to provide assistance with day to day living including:

– Bathing and hygiene

– Household chores

– Cooking

– Dressing

– Mobility

– Medical treatments


In addition to these services, personal support workers also provide valuable companionship for people who may otherwise be socially isolated. They may work for a private company and be paid by the patient or their family, but there are also numerous subsidization programs for marginalized clients. Personal support worker training also includes some medical training that not only allows them to administer treatments, but keep an eye on their clients. Nonetheless, personal support workers are not as expensive as hiring a nurse, which is one of the reasons why they are increasingly turned to as a solution.


It is a popular career path for low income people looking to get ahead, and people who prefer careers where they can help people. The nature of the hours and the work mean that it is often compatible with other commitments like parenting. About the biggest expense for a personal support worker is that they may need access to a car, both to make home visits and to transport their client.


The demand is so strong that people import personal support workers from other countries, even sponsoring their immigration and work visas. However, most personal support workers are local residents, though it does employ a high proportion of immigrants. Another advantage of the career path is that it does not require a high level of education. Work is usually done in scrubs, to help symbolize the medical side of the profession.


To become a personal support worker (PSW) takes only a limited investment. PSW courses can be completed in less than a year. That is usually combined with being bonded and insured for the peace of mind of clients. The focus of personal support worker training is dignity, empathy and medical skills. They need to see their clients at what may be their worst and most vulnerable, in the intimacy of their home. The names of companies that employ personal support workers also reflect the mission they have. Most find their work inherently fulfilling.



Visit Academy of Learning College Toronto for more information on other helping careers like community service worker.