2016-05-25 by Mark Harrington
“We know that Ontarians would prefer to receive care in their own homes and communities and Personal Support Workers play a critical role in making this possible. Our government is committed to working closely with our partners to better support PSWs, including improvements to their wages in recognition of the important role they play in our health care system.”
- Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
According to the Government of Ontario, a Personal Support Worker (otherwise known as a PSW) is an individual who assists those with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s). Often associated with the elderly, a PSW may also work with children and other vulnerable members of society. Under the direction of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN), a PSW helps to aid in the care and needs for their client as stated in their client/resident’s care plan. Duties often include dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring, emotional/physical/mental support, companionship etc. Personal Support Workers are front line workers and are often the first professionals to notice changes in a client’s well being. Personal Support Workers are a VITAL and IMPORTANT part of the booming healthcare industry found within Ontario and all of Canada.
National Academy of Health & Business, established in 1979 has been providing the necessary career training for students looking to work within the Ontario healthcare sector and specifically, the PSW sector. Our school continuously strives to ensure all graduates from the Personal Support Worker certificate program are equipped with the most advanced skills in order to excel within this booming workforce in Ontario.
There are approximately 100,000 Personal Support Workers employed across Ontario’s booming healthcare industry and these numbers continue to grow. Due to the increasing numbers of the elderly population in Ontario, approximately 34,000 Personal Support Workers are employed within the home and community care sector. With the elderly population on the rise, the government of Ontario has been consistently taking necessary steps to help attract and retain the best Personal Support Workers in the industry. With the help of our government combined with the high standard of training offered within a National Academy program, NAHB Personal Support Worker students are often hired immediately upon graduation. In addition, the Government of Ontario continues to implement the PSW Workforce Stabilization Strategy including initiatives such as:
- Developing options to enhance full-time and permanent employment
- Helping new graduates transition successfully into jobs within the home and community care industry through on-the-job orientation
- And strengthening profession leadership in the sector
These initiatives have been directly influencing the successful placement and hiring of National Academy students. To find out more about the Personal Support Worker Certificate Program and discovering if this is the right career path for you, contact National Academy of Health & Business today. Since 1979, we have been offering a life of success in one year or less.
2015-12-09 by Mark Harrington
Individualized care is a common method that personal support workers (PSWs) use to provide care to patients. This technique focuses on patients as individuals, and steers PSWs away from simply completing the mandatory tasks required of them. Professional PSWs know that individualized care involves putting patients and their families first, and considering their valuable feedback when making important decisions—like choosing the best ways to provide care, for example. It also means that PSWs should consider their patients’ values, backgrounds, family situations, lifestyles, and social circumstances in order to best work with them in developing appropriate and rewarding solutions.
Because individualized care has to be applied to the needs of different individuals, it cannot be defined in a single way. If you’re planning to pursue a personal support worker career, read on to learn how you can incorporate more of an individualized approach once you break into the field.
Personal Support Worker Training Teaches Students to Get to Know Patients
The basic philosophy behind individualized care is that everybody matters. Once you begin your career, after completing your personal support worker training, it’ll be important to take the time to get to know each individual you care for. When providing home care, the early stages of patient relationships are an excellent time to better connect with them.
PSWs are often required to help patients with meal preparation. When planning meals with your patients, ask them what some of their favorite dishes are. Perhaps they enjoy certain foods that you don’t necessarily know how to prepare. If this is the case, you might ask them to share some of their family recipes with you. If you take the extra steps needed to prepare a meal that your patients will enjoy, not only will you be providing good individualized care, but you will also be learning something new!
Connecting with people could be as simple as learning all about their favorite foods.
Always try to keep conversations going during your visits. Whether you’re helping patients with bathing and grooming, or helping them take their medication for the day, speak to them as though you are getting to know a new friend. Ask them about their interests, families and friends. Talking with your patients rather than at them will set a warm tone, which can help you both look forward to your visits together.
Personal Support Worker Courses Teach Students to Make Many Connections
Another great way to get to know patients better is to connect with their immediate circle. Earning your personal support worker diploma will make you an important part of a health care team. Therefore, speaking with doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals can give you some tremendous insight into how to provide individualized care.
Does your patient have any medical conditions that cause physical discomfort? Does their medication have any side-effects that would make them need more rest? Obtaining answers from health practitioners can really help you fine-tune your approach for your following visits.
Family members also know the story of their beloved relative’s medical history, personal preferences, moods, habits and more. Gathering bits of information about patients from family members can broaden your understanding of patients and help them feel confident that they are in good hands.
Broaden your employment opportunities by enrolling in personal support worker courses at a leading career college.
Visit NAHB to learn more about our training programs or to speak with an advisor.
2015-08-26 by Mark Harrington
Supporting the elderly members of your community can result in amazing benefits for both your patients and yourself. Those who pursue careers in elderly care build close relationships with a variety of wonderful and interesting people. This lets them find personal and professional fulfillment while giving back to the generations that had a hand in building today’s world.
If you are planning to enroll in personal support worker courses, or you have already started your program, read on to learn some of the most valuable parts of working in elderly patient support.
PSWs Greatly Impact the Lives of Individual Patients
Dedicating your time to helping an elderly person in need will make a real difference in that person’s life. Elderly patients and nursing home residents truly need the services you will learn to provide. Without personal support workers (PSW), their comfort and confidence might decline.
These patients may have difficulty bathing, dressing, cooking, eating, or independently caring for their health. PSWs often advocate for their needs, and even take note of a patient’s temperature and blood pressure—all to ensure that they’re as healthy and happy as possible. PSWs become the vital ingredient for an elderly person’s best possible life.
Support Professionals Earn Gratitude Through Providing Compassionate Care
PSW courses will teach you just how much value you’ll be adding to your patients’ lives, but today’s support workers attest that you’ll often hear it from the patients themselves. Smiling faces and heartfelt appreciation remind support professionals that they’re making a difference, and help keep them motivated to continue their care work.
A personal support worker’s frequent presence and kind, warm nature can also become an important part of their patient’s social lives. Often, a friendly appointment or visit is the highlight of a patient’s day. Your presence can make the difference between a lonely patient and a happy, fulfilled one. This means you’ll be greeted as a friend each time you enter your workplace, something not many modern professionals get to experience.
PSWs Receive Continued Education through Trust and “Time Travel”
While personal support worker training will teach you how best to provide elderly care, your education is just beginning at graduation. Personal care workers have the unique opportunity to learn every single day, from experience, colleagues, and especially their individual patients.
Working with people who have varying ages and longstanding memories can enrich your understanding and appreciation for times long past.
If you’re passionate about supporting elderly members of your family or community, you’ll know that those who’ve lived long lives can offer incredible lessons to those willing to listen. PSW professionals can build trusting relationships with these incredible people, gathering stories of historical events and individual cultural legacies that can span decades upon decades. You can’t get these genuinely touching connections to the past anywhere else.
Job Security for Personal Support Workers
If you’re interested in earning a personal support worker diploma, you probably aren’t doing it just for yourself. Students enrolled in PSW programs tend to be compassionate people, likely to put others’ needs before their own. However, job security is an undeniable added benefit to earning this diploma and supporting others.
These days, people are living longer—needing infrastructure to provide them with a high quality of life throughout the duration of their retirements. As the post-WWII baby boomer generation reaches closer to their golden years, the sector is quickly growing to accommodate them. In fact, there is no better time to become certified in personal support work.
Are you interested in enrolling in personal support worker courses? Visit NAHB for more information or to speak with an advisor.
2015-06-03 by Mark Harrington
In Canada, personal support workers play a crucial role in providing care for the aging, injured and ill population. The main goal of a PSW is to create an environment of physical, emotional and social wellbeing where patients have the assistance they need to uphold good health, but also maintain their independence.
If you’re interested in training to become a PSW, there are several rewarding career options that open up to you after earning a diploma. Currently, PSWs are some of the most in-demand healthcare workers in Ontario, especially in places like:
- Nursing homes
- Non-profit organizations
- Private homes
Experts suggest that the demand will continue to increase over the next few years. Read on to find out why, and how this demand could be a great opportunity for you to make a difference in the lives of those in need in your community.
More PSWs Needed to Maintain High Quality Care
In the role of a personal support worker, providing quality care means being able to meet all the needs of your patients, whether that means preparing meals, helping them get ready for their day with tasks like bathing and grooming, or sometimes simply spending time with them for social support.
In many areas throughout Ontario, the demand for support care workers is so great that a single PSW is working with multiple clients per day. This means that professionals who currently have personal support worker training are constantly on the go, inevitably limiting the personal quality of care that is required, and preventing PSWs from building that important and beneficial caregiver relationship with clients and their families.
As the Baby Boomers Age, Canada Will Need More Personal Support Workers
The aging baby boomer population will inevitably have a major impact on Canada’s healthcare system, and is yet another reason why it will be increasingly important to have more personal support workers in the upcoming years.
The baby boomer generation began to move into retirement in 2012. Due to Canada’s low birth rate, approximately one in four Canadians will be senior citizens by 2036. In this year, Canada’s 8.2 million boomers will require a large amount of the country’s healthcare services, including ongoing support from professionals with a personal support worker diploma.
Measures to Encourage the Growth of PSWs in the Healthcare Industry
In an effort to standardize quality of care and meet the growing demand for PSWs in hospitals, long-term care facilities and private homes, the Ontario provincial government has taken several measures in recent years.
In 2012, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care developed a PSW Registry to collect information about the training and employment status of the nearly 100,000 PSWs working in Ontario, in an effort to better understand PSWs and to help make sure they had all they needed to provide proper care.
Ontario’s government also took a major role in developing personal support worker programs for career colleges which improves and standardizes the level of personal care given to clients. The programs are a balance between practical theory and hands-on training, so if training to become a PSW is something that interests you, you’ll graduate with all the knowledge you need to step right into the workplace!
What aspects of a personal support worker career most interests you?
2015-03-04 by Mark Harrington
If you’ve ever been in a car accident, or suffered from a sports injury, you may have received physiotherapy to aid in the healing process. Physiotherapy is also applied to patients with amputations, arthritis, strains (especially in the spine), or who have had any sort of medical operation. Physiotherapy helps make movement and everyday living easier for a patient through a series of treatments that are tailored to each patient’s needs. If you’re thinking of becoming a physiotherapist assistant, here are some of the most common treatments you’ll discover in your physiotherapist assistant courses, and the benefits associated with each technique.
Range of Motion (ROM) Exercises
Although rest is often prescribed during preliminary stages of recovery from broken bones or surgery, extended periods of immobility may actually prolong or thwart the healing process. For this reason, physiotherapists often prescribe range of motion exercises to promote movement, encourage joint mobility and facilitate circulation. Frequently moving the affected joints and muscles will prevent muscle atrophy and related postural problems. ROM exercises are used by a range of healthcare practitioners – for example, students learn range of motion techniques in personal support worker training to help patients with restricted mobility improve their flexibility and maintain their independence.
Soft Tissue Mobilization
Also referred to as therapeutic massage, soft tissue mobilization can help relax a patient’s muscles and reduce swelling in certain areas, making this treatment excellent for relieving pain associated with athletic injuries. Soft tissue massage also helps circulate blood and lymph flow, and reduce tissue swelling around the inflamed joints.
Electrotherapy is a more recent evolution of energy-based physiotherapy techniques. In this form of treatment, electrical stimulation is provided by attaching electrodes to the skin. The electrodes cause the muscles to shorten, which in turn helps prevent atrophy—best used in patient with paralysis or severely reduced range of motion. Electrotherapy may also be used in conjunction with laser and ultrasound therapy.
Cryotherapy and Heat Therapy
Sore, stiff muscles are a common complaint of both people with desk jobs and professional athletes. If a patient complains of muscle tightness anywhere on their body, it may be beneficial to apply heat or cold to the aggravated areas. Heat therapy includes the application of hot packs or even paraffin wax. Cryotherapy may involve ice pack application or an ice massage.
Anyone studying to become a physiotherapist assistant is probably familiar with the colourful, neon tape that is sometimes used on patients. Kinesio tape can be applied straight to the skin, and is a great way to stabilize the joints and muscles while the patient undergoes treatment. Additionally, the flexibility of the tape means that it doesn’t interfere with range of motion exercises, making it a perfect tool to use when stretching and flexing muscles.
While ultrasound isn’t normally associated with physiotherapy, in recent years, doctors have been able to utilize sound waves to treat injuries in the body. Ultrasound frequency provides a gentle method for targeting damaged tissue with soft beams. Like a mini massage, the sound waves of the ultrasound stimulate and are absorbed by the ligaments, tendons and fascia. This treatment can be used for patients suffering from arthritis, tendonitis and muscle strain.
Do you know of any other new physiotherapy treatments?
2015-02-04 by Mark Harrington
A personal support worker is responsible for the well-being of someone who is no longer able to care for themselves. Upon completing your PSW courses, this kind of responsibility may seem overwhelming; however, ensuring the proper care of others can be an extremely rewarding experience. Being a PSW is a unique line of health care work, because the bond you form with your patients is able to grow and flourish over time. Often, you will become one of their dearest friends.
A personal support worker also has the responsibility of being aware of the dangers facing their patients. Some of these dangers can come from seemingly innocuous objects around the house, which can easily be safeguarded. Other times, the threats come from other family members in the form of abuse or neglect. In any case, your personal support worker training will help you recognize these dangers in order to provide the utmost safety and wellbeing for your clients.
Dangers Around the House
The most common household injuries are caused by falling down the stairs. For patients who may be suffering memory loss, injuries on the stairs can happen for reasons as simple as forgetting the way to the bathroom at night. A PSW may suggest that a patient install night lights in their hallways to avoid such incidences.
A common danger for those with restricted mobility is slippery floors. This could be an oil spill in the kitchen or a slippery bathtub. To keep a patient safe, a PSW should make sure the house is kept clean, and suggest that the patient have railings installed in the shower, paired with a safety-grip shower mat.
It’s important to note that elderly abuse can come in many forms, be it physical, psychological or sexual. There are certain telling symptoms a PSW will be able to recognize as a result of their personal support worker courses. If you notice inexplicable scars, bruises or other injuries on your patient, they may be suffering physical abuse by someone close to them.
Sometimes, the elderly patient may not be able to remember who caused the injuries. In other instances, they are hiding the truth to protect a loved one who may be suffering from mental or psychological distress. If a patient’s family refuses to see you alone, this could also be an indication of problems.
Psychological symptoms of abuse may be harder to recognize. If a PSW witnesses a relative speaking sternly or cruelly to the patient, it may be necessary to speak to them about their behaviour. If it is clear this is an ongoing pattern, a personal support worker should look for ways to assist the patient and remove them from the situation.
A wealthy patient whose mind may be slipping into dementia can be taken advantage of by family or friends. Unexplained withdrawals of money or suddenly missing valuables may be a sign that the patient’s condition is being taken advantage of. While these instances are rare, it can be necessary for the PSW to step up in these situations, as the patient may be unable to themselves.
Do you know any other ways a PSW can keep help maintain a patient’s safety?
2015-01-28 by Mark Harrington
Students pursuing careers as early childcare assistants (ECAs) know that they will one day be responsible for supervising and providing care to young children enrolled in preschools, daycares or kindergartens. They will be required to prepare daily activities which will help promote cognitive and physical development in children, which also involves monitoring and recording any progress made. Every professional early childhood assistant understands the importance of building meaningful relationships not only with the children they are supervising, but with their families as well. Continue reading for strategies on effectively communicating with parents as an ECA.
The Importance of Good Parent Communication
When early childcare assistants communicate with a child’s family, both parties should be able to collaborate and assess the child’s strengths and weaknesses while working together to come up with ways to better support him or her. And of course, anyone with an early childcare assistant diploma knows that a good parent-caregiver bond builds the foundation for a healthy education environment. When the parent makes a positive association with educators and the learning environment, this is inevitably reflected in the child’s attitude and level of success.
ECAs recognize that the best and most effective way to communicate with a child’s parents is by having a two-way conversation. This can be accomplished either by means of a phone call or by meeting face-to-face. Meeting in person is preferred because it allows the ECA to listen to the parents directly and personally address any questions or concerns they might have.
In cases where two-way communication is not ideal, one-way communication can be just as effective. Early childcare assistants will often use progress reports to communicate the events of a child’s day to the parents. Progress reports can be given to parents when they drop off their child in the mornings or pick them up in the evenings. A progress report is a method of quickly outlining both the negative and positive parts of a child’s day in order to keep their parents informed. These can either be formal or informal, depending on the ECA’s relationship with the parents. These progress reports are usually very short and to the point – sometimes just a sentence or two is enough.
Another tactic that professionals with early childcare assistant training might use to communicate a child’s progress to his or her parents is by writing a monthly newsletter. It should not come as a surprise that this letter would be much lengthier than a progress report, as it would outline an entire month of a child’s progress. Some ECAs might even attach some of the work (drawings, paintings, etc.) that a child has created within that time. ECAs can also include lists of ways in which a parent might be able to extend a child’s learning at home, or perhaps even inform parents on volunteer opportunities that may be available at the daycare or preschool.
Can you think of any other effective strategies that a childcare assistant might use to communicate effectively with parents?
2015-01-14 by Mark Harrington
If you plan to pursue personal support worker training, you may one day find yourself working in a nursing home, hospital, or private residence. Here, you will be responsible for caring for the elderly. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that the people you’ll eventually be helping will likely face a range of chronic health conditions. Though PSWs do not follow a set list of duties, one common skill that they are all required to master is the ability to react effectively and efficiently in emergency situations. Read on to find how a personal support worker uses first aid to react in an emergency while on the job.
Treating Someone Who is Choking
Anyone who has taken a personal support worker course knows how to properly react in a situation where a person is choking. The first thing these professionals do is give the choking individual five blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of their hand. If the choking persists, the PSW moves on to abdominal thrusts. In order to perform these effectively, they:
- Stand behind the person and wrap their arms around the waist
- Place a clenched fist directly above the person’s navel, grabbing the fist with the other hand
- Quickly pull inward and upward
The PSW will alternate between cycles of five back blows and five abdominal thrusts until the object that the person is choking on is coughed up or dislodged and they begin to breathe regularly. It’s important to note that if the individual is pregnant, the personal support worker will perform the abdominal thrusts by placing his or her hand just above the stomach at the base of the breastbone to ensure that the baby will not be harmed.
Identifying the Signs of Stroke
As people age, the risk of stroke increases – this means that personal support workers (who work with the elderly) definitely need to understand how to identify the symptoms of stroke, as well as know the protocol for providing help. Students enrolled in PSW courses know that it is important to contact emergency services immediately if they notice a patient is experiencing the telltale signs of stroke, these include:
- Numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs (especially if the numbness occurs on only one side of the body)
- Slurred speech
- Trouble seeing
- Difficulty walking, dizziness or balance problems
- Sudden confusion
- Severe headache
A PSW will be expected to record the time when the symptoms first appeared. There are several different types of strokes, and some can be treated with a medication that reduces the long-term effects. If this medication is available, it will be administered to the patient within the first four hours of noticing the symptoms. If the individual is diabetic, blood sugar level should be measured – low blood sugar can be treated with a glucose tablet, or even a glass of a sugary beverage, like orange juice.
Have you ever delivered first aid during a medical emergency? What tips can you offer for remaining cool and calm?
2014-12-31 by Mark Harrington
It may be because you have an entrepreneurial spirit, or perhaps you simply want to be your own boss. Maybe the thought of using your own hands to create something that makes money is what drives you. Whatever the reason, starting your own business can be an intensely liberating experience, where you will have complete control over what happens to your own product. However, starting a business can also be very costly. That’s why it’s important to keep track of the businesses that are doing well, and learn from their success!
Online Baby Products
Many may not know that Jessica Alba is in fact the CEO of her own company. In 2012, the actress began her own line of non-toxic baby products. The company, The Honest Co., is now worth $1 billion. It seems like many others are jumping on the baby bandwagon as well, and with good reason – the products sell! Her online store even offers a monthly delivery service with packages containing diapers, and other products that busy mothers often do not have time to pick up from a store. Given that the baby product industry has had low levels of innovation historically, it is the perfect platform on which entrepreneurial business administration students could build their first start-up.
Did you know that NASA gave 22% of its federal contracts to small businesses in 2013? By definition, an independent contractor is someone who provides their goods and services under a contract. The term is normally applied to professionals who boast skills in fields like plumbing, architecture and home construction. However, graduates of dental school – as well as other medical professionals – can also become independent contractors. If you are a professional with personal support worker training, you too may decide to provide personal care under contract one day, serving individuals or working in a healthcare facility.
Health and Wellness
It was only a few years ago that yoga studios seemed to be popping up everywhere. Now companies like Lululemon Athletica have hit it big, ensuring that the yoga industry is here to stay. Today’s studios offer prenatal yoga classes, hot yoga classes and a large variety of other health and wellness options. With the “natural” health craze that has recently begun, there is no better time to start a business that offers specialized wellness products and services. This is a commercial trend that is sure to continue gaining traction over the next several years.
With all of the development going on in Canada’s major cities, there is a growing need for professionals who understand the logistics of disposing discarded materials from old homes and buildings. That’s why junk removal businesses have been cropping up left and right, and they are certainly making money. The best thing about this venture is that it has very minimal start-up costs. Really, all that is necessary is a large truck and a few strong hands – and of course excellent accounting, organizational and communications skills with which to attract clients and maintain efficient operations (something all business graduates possess). What is also great about junk removal businesses is that they almost all have a recycling mandate, which means they are environmentally friendly too – another powerful trend that is sure to dominate many industries in the years to come.
If you were to start your own business, what product or service would you focus on?
2014-12-24 by Mark Harrington
Students taking personal support worker training today will likely go on to serve Canada’s growing elderly population, assisting in their everyday tasks and day-to-day needs. An important aspect of PSW courses is learning to help patients manage their disabilities – both physical and mental – that are commonly associated with old age. While some students may have some experience helping family members cope with ailments, many age-related disabilities are quite complicated. PSWs need knowledge and training to do their job well. Read on to learn more about some of the most common disabilities and conditions associated with older patients.
Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that progresses over time, gradually causing the loss of bodily functions. Alzheimer patients usually begin by suffering memory loss, furthered by mood swings, speech problems and disorientation. Alzheimer’s has three stages: mild, moderate and severe. In the severe stage, patients will usually require assistance with eating, dressing and general mobility.
Patients with arthritis often find waking up in the morning most difficult, due to overnight joint stiffness. Since arthritis patients are mostly affected at their joints, it is important they keep active, but not strain themselves. Being overweight can make arthritis worse, which is why personal support worker courses train students how to prepare and cook healthy meals for patients. Exercise may also be necessary, as will some minor assistance carrying heavy or awkward items.
Characterized by a high risk of fracture, osteoporosis is a disease that causes deterioration of the bone tissue and bone mass. Lifestyle habits can greatly improve an osteoporosis patient’s life, since bones grow stronger with activity. A personal support worker may help clients perform some light exercises – those involving lifting weights are best for exercising the bone. Other exercises may include dancing, walking, stairs or small weight lifting.
Like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease. The disease is characterised by tremors due to a lack of dopamine and a subsequent loss of muscle control. Parkinson’s patients may have difficulty walking, moving, and the disease can cause constipation and issues swallowing. Personal support workers assigned to a Parkinson’s patient are responsible for monitoring changes in the patient’s disease, such as dizziness or confusion, which may put them at risk for falling.
A stroke is a complicated condition with a wide variety of health consequences. Someone is more at risk for stroke if they are overweight, elderly or lack physical activity. A stroke can be extremely debilitating, causing paralysis in half the body, slowed body movements, vision problems and short term memory loss. After having one stroke, a patient has a higher risk of suffering another. A personal support worker may help a patient with speech exercises, playing memory games, puzzles or crosswords. Range of motion exercises can also be beneficial for stroke sufferers to promote flexibility and reduce stiffness in their muscles.
Have you had experience working with a patient with one of these conditions? What were the main challenges?