Schools Training

Support for PSWs with Registry and Certification

11 JUN 2013
Career Path : Administration

Throughout Canada, jurisdictions are experiencing healthcare provider shortages, longer waiting lists and rising costs. There are over 350,000 healthcare providers in Ontario and yet with the aging population and shifting demographics, officials are warning that without appropriate planning, the province could be facing a dire shortage of qualified health professionals in the near future. In recent years, workers in this field have been encouraged to apply their knowledge and skills as broadly as possible, for example, assigning personal support workers (PSWs) in more complex continuing care environments. The need for community care workers is expected to double in the next decade.


PSWs Keeping Busy

There is significant variation in the typical job duties of PSWs, as well as their working environments and supervision. They are increasingly providing the majority of direct care services to elderly or ill patients receiving home care or living in long-term care institutions. Being always on the go, responsible for assisting residents in getting out of bed, dressed, to the bathroom and providing medications is challenging work, but one of the most important qualifications is being kind and patient. One veteran of long-term care in Toronto noted, “PSWs have high expectations put on them but very little support to do their jobs.”


Registry and Certification

Ontario recently joined British Columbia and Nova Scotia as a province with registries for home support workers. It is a central database that includes all PSWs employed in care settings to recognize their contributions, assist the government in health human resource planning, and maintain public safety by verifying credentials. Certification is intended to enhance professionalism and credibility with the public, ensure high standards, and increase consumer, client and resident benefits and protection. The process includes competency and skills assessment exams, compliance with the code of ethics, and Vulnerable Sector Screening Clearance and First-Aid/CPR certification.


The informal nature of PSW work and lack of standardized training precipitated the creation of the Registry, “a first step in getting a handle on who PSWs are and where they are.” Many suggest that as more detailed information is known about these professionals, better support can be given to the supporters to ensure they are best able to provide excellent service.


The PSW Role

Many PSWs who have completed some sort of healthcare training in Toronto, divide their time between different clients within the city, helping elderly patients with bathing, meal preparation and general care. For those with the right aptitude who enjoy spending time with these folks, it might hardly seem like work. As the need for qualified healthcare workers becomes more acute and PSWs begin to get the respect they deserve, colleges are opening their doors to meet the rising demand. Training in PSW courses Toronto touches on the many roles of the job, including mobility, personal hygiene, family assistance, medication application and mental health issues.

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