2018-12-05 by NAHB
Keeping your clients safe is the most important part a personal support worker’s (PSW) job. Winter, with its cold, snow, and ice, can be treacherous for older clients, especially if they have reduced mobility.
In PSW training, you learn many skills that can help senior clients feel more secure and at ease. During the colder months, that training will be particularly useful. Here’s a look at just a few of the ways you can care for older clients in the winter.
PSWs Can Help Prevent Slips and Falls, Both Inside and Out
Sidewalks or driveways that have not been cleared of snow and ice are extremely dangerous. For young people, slipping on ice usually just means a couple bruises, but for older adults it can mean broken bones and worse. While PSWs may not be expected to clear their clients’ driveways and sidewalks themselves, PSW training, especially courses focused on caring for those with reduced mobility, includes valuable tools for reducing the risk of falls. As a PSW, you can talk to clients about what snow clearing services they have. If they don’t have somebody clearing their snow, ask them if they know anybody—like a friend or neighbour—who might be able to do it.
The threat from slips and falls doesn’t just exist outside during the winter. All that snow, ice, and slush gets tracked inside too, which makes interior surfaces very wet and slippery. To reduce the risk of falls inside, encourage your clients to wear slip-proof shoes or slippers.
Use Your Personal Support Worker Certificate to Ensure Your Client Eats Healthy
In personal support worker courses you learn about meal preparation and nutrition, which is a very important topic during the winter when most people stay inside more and make fewer trips to the grocery store. For senior clients, that can mean fewer items in their pantries and less nutritional variety. Make sure your clients have a well-stocked kitchen with a variety of healthy foods. Items that are high in Vitamin D are an especially good idea.
PSW training teaches you how to prepare nutritious meals for senior clients
In the event of a power outage or during a bad storm, it may be difficult for your client to replenish their kitchen cupboards. Make sure they have at least a seven-day supply of non-perishable foods in case of such an emergency. If your client can’t make the trip to the grocery store themselves to stock up on food, encourage them to ask someone they know to do it for them. As you learn during a personal support worker certificate, each client has different needs. Some clients may be less comfortable asking friends or family for help with getting groceries. In many cases, those clients don’t want to sacrifice their independence or they are worried about “being a bother.”
Make Sure They Are Always Warm Enough
Seniors are at an increased risk of hypothermia in the winter, which happens when the body’s core temperature dips below 35⁰C. PSWs learn how to recognize potential medical emergencies like hypothermia in older clients. Certain clients will be especially vulnerable to the cold, such as those with cardiac problems.
PSWs can help senior clients learn how to keep warm in the winter
While space heaters can help senior clients stay warm during the winter, they can be dangerous if not used properly. Make sure clients use any heating devices safely, such as by keeping them far away from drapes, curtains, and anything else that could catch fire. Double-check that fire and carbon monoxide alarms are working. The interpersonal skills you develop during PSW training are invaluable for helping clients understand the risks of cold weather. Ask them if they have lots of extra blankets and if they know anyone who can check in on them when you can’t be there.
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2018-11-14 by NAHB
Compassion fatigue, sometimes known as secondary traumatic stress, is a unique form of burnout that can affect personal support workers (PSWs) and others who work in a caregiving capacity, such as doctors, nurses, or paramedics. These professionals are in regular contact with individuals experiencing traumatic pain or injuries, and in the course of providing practical support, they also provide compassion and empathy, invaluable forms of emotional support. This can be incredibly rewarding for caregivers, who get the satisfaction of making tangible improvements to the lives of those in need, but over time, it can also become draining or desensitizing, making caregivers feel hopeless, numb, or distant to the pain of others.
2018-07-25 by NAHB
There are so many important ways that seniors can benefit from technology in 2018. From expanding their social network to keeping track of appointments, there are many benefits that technology can offer. There are even a number of cognitive and, yes, physical benefits that come with seniors exploring and using technology. Technology can also help seniors become more independent, instilling them with greater confidence and higher self-esteem when they succeed in using new technology and devices.
PSWs new and old can encourage the use of technology when caring for their clients. Read on to learn why and how!
Smartphones Can Help Clients Better Maintain Their Medication Schedule
Smartphones are such useful little gizmos. While there’s a lot that can be done with them, one handy feature is the scheduling apps and automatic reminders that these little devices can provide. This can be useful for remembering events, appointments, and family visits. In addition, it can also help clients keep track of their medication schedule so that they always remember to take prescription medications at designated times.
While caring for clients, PSWs can help seniors better understand the features of their smartphone, as well as how to use the calendar or scheduling app to set reminders that, with an alarm, notify them when they need to take a certain medication. Many calendar apps also allow the user to input a written message, which clients can use to mark their dosage, should they forget.
Smartphones can be a very convenient tool for seniors!
There are also apps specifically designed not only to remind seniors whenever they need to take their medication, but when they need a refill, as well as alerts for missed doses and instructions on what they need to do should they forget to take a pill. Grads with PSW training can help clients learn to use these apps to check and track their dosage history. This means fewer problems with maintaining a pill schedule, and an added helpful tool for seniors who want to maintain their independence.
Grads with PSW Training Can Help Clients Connect With Others Over the Internet
There’s no question that the internet has helped people of all ages expand their social network. What makes mastering the internet so important to seniors is how it can help them keep in touch with their loved ones. For seniors whose loved ones are overseas or living in another city, Skype, social media, and email can help them stay connected even when regular visits may be harder to organize.
Graduates of a personal support worker course also understand how being able to talk with family and friends online can make all the difference for seniors who feel isolated from time to time. With the help of their PSW, clients will be able to see their friends and family as they chat, giving them a deeper sense of connectivity and fulfillment.
Bring on the Fun with Some Video Games for Cognitive Growth!
Video games and seniors may sound like an oxymoron, but the mental and even physical health benefits for clients can be significant. For example, seniors can play fitness games on a variety of different consoles, like the Wii and X-Box 360, to get some exercise. There are many games that can simulate sports like tennis, bowling, and even obstacle courses, helping clients stay in shape while also giving a boost to their coordination.
Video games are another great way to get seniors to socialize!
Clients can also play console or handheld video games, like Brain Age, to help them enhance their cognitive skills. Puzzles, crosswords, and Sudoku apps can also be downloaded onto smartphones, which can be used to have fun and improve memory while on the go.
Are you ready to start a fun and rewarding career in healthcare?
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2018-06-27 by NAHB
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that affects many Canadians over the age of 60. In fact, according to the most recent figures, as many as 100,000 Canadians are currently living with Parkinson’s.
Symptoms can range from extreme stiffness of the muscles and joints to shaking, making it difficult for clients to maintain their balance and complete daily activities. Clients may even begin to have difficulties speaking or swallowing, and may start to experience depression. These symptoms often become worse with time, which can be challenging for both the client and their family.
Thankfully, there are several ways that personal support workers (PSWs) can help their clients feel comfortable, healthy, and happy while receiving care. Read on to learn more!
PSWs Should Be Mindful of Any Changes in Their Client’s Mood or Symptoms
Parkinson’s comes with a plethora of symptoms, both before and after the diagnosis, and it is important for trained PSWs to keep close watch for any changes. The symptoms of Parkinson’s will usually progress in stages, from 1-5, and significantly affect a client’s ability to move normally. In fact, many clients may become wheelchair bound in the fifth stage of the disease. Clients will usually take medication to help stave off the effects of the disease. However, if a client’s symptoms—such as a signs of mental decline or an inability to swallow—begin to worsen it’s important for PSWs to inform their supervisors as the client may need to change their medication.
Depression can develop alongside other Parkinson’s symptoms
Graduates of PSW college should also be wary of any changes in their client’s overall mood, as they may become more irritable and anxious, and may be prone to outbursts. Moreover, about 40 per cent of Parkinson’s patients may end up developing depression at some point, and could require additional medication or counselling in order to cope. PSWs will need to be patient with their clients who have Parkinson’s and show empathy, as a calm and compassionate attitude can ensure that the care they receive is positive and professional.
Grads of PSW Courses Should Ensure Their Clients Get the Exercise They Need
Exercise can be very beneficial for seniors with Parkinson’s, as it can help with pain relief and might assist some clients with improving their balance. Parkinson’s clients may often need the expertise of a physiotherapist to develop some routines that graduates of PSW courses can later assist with.
Some excellent exercises for Parkinson’s clients could be simple things like walking or swinging their arms. They could even play non-strenuous sports like mini-golf or ping pong to work their arms, hips, and wrists. More complex exercises could include Thai Chi and Yoga, both of which can be modified for clients to perform while seated.
PSWs can also help clients with stretching exercises which can improve their posture, as well as strengthen their bones and muscles. Stretching exercises have even been shown to help those with Parkinson’s quicken their speed when walking. PSWs should be cautious when assisting clients with their exercises, making sure that they don’t injure or overextend themselves. PSWs should also be ready to support clients who have difficulty moving certain parts of their body, and safeguard them from falls.
PSWs Should Make Sure Their Clients Get Plenty of Rest
Another important factor that can contribute to the overall wellbeing of clients with Parkinson’s is sleep. Unfortunately, many people with Parkinson’s may end up developing sleep problems, like insomnia or sleep apnea, and some seniors may need up to 30 minutes to fall asleep. A lack of sleep has also been shown to make the symptoms of Parkinson’s worse.
In some cases, clients with Parkinson’s may be prescribed medication from their doctors. PSWs can also help their clients by doing simple things like observing bedtime routines. PSWs may also want to limit sources of noise that could disturb the sleep of their clients. Small gestures like closing windows and reducing the amount of light in the room can help clients sleep better and enjoy a greater quality of life.
Get PSW training and help improve the quality of life for clients with Parkinson’s!
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2018-02-21 by NAHB
Have you ever heard that it’s best to learn by doing? Even if you read up a lot from textbooks, listen closely to lectures, and watch instructional videos, it’s actually implementing what you’ve learned in practice that really cements your new knowledge in place. Learning by doing also leaves you aware of the fact that each situation you may face is unique and may require you to adapt your approach.
Hands-on training is especially useful for professions that include working with people. Personal support workers (PSWs) fall into this category. On a daily basis, PSWs provide hands-on assistance to their clients, aiding them with their daily living. Many of their tasks may be delicate in nature, such as helping a client get dressed or assisting with personal hygiene. Not only is it important for PSWs to be ready to do their work upon graduation, but it’s also crucial for them to know how to communicate well with their clients. Hands-on training can help with that. Keep reading to learn more.
Hands-on Training Helps to Put Theory to Practice
For a lot of the tasks that you will need to carry out on a daily basis once you earn a personal support worker certificate, just having theoretical knowledge is not enough. That’s because as a PSW, your work affects the wellbeing of real people, so it’s important to know how to perform essential tasks without needing to consult a manual or do guesswork.
A number of the tasks PSWs may need to do can be tricky and intricate, like helping a client who may have mobility issues or generally assisting with personal hygiene. In these cases, theory can help you understand why a particular approach works best, but hands-on training will help you apply that theory to help each client.
Hands-on training will leave you ready to perform the work of a PSW
Working With Real People Helps You Understand Client Individuality
Even when you know how to do something theoretically, some skills that are essential during a PSW career can only be perfected when practicing with real people. Compassionate communication with respect to the individual is one of them. Being able to work with actual clients while earning your personal support worker diploma will help you learn interpersonal skills that are key to effective communication.
Practical learning teaches you communication skills crucial to the career of a PSW
Through hands-on training, you’ll also discover that each client is unique and could require different approaches to care. For example, you may find that assisting a patient with dementia is very different from assisting a patient with mobility issues. You may also find that some clients can collaborate more easily in some areas while others have greater difficulty. Experiencing such things during training teaches you that each individual is different and has unique needs that you must take into account when performing your work.
Practical Training Leaves You Ready to Become a PSW
By obtaining a great balance of information and experience through hands-on training, graduates finish school ready to hit the ground running as a PSW. In other words, practical training whereby you practice your learned skills right away turns your knowledge into ready-to-implement know-how, and your expectations upon graduation are attuned to the real-life environment.
PSW programs that include job placements as part of the qualification process are especially helpful in this manner because not only do students get even more hands-on experience, but they also develop valuable contacts in the working world that can prove helpful once they’re searching for their first job.
Are you looking to become a PSW?
Explore the courses offered by NAHB that are complemented by a job placement!
2017-08-13 by NAHB
PSW PROGRAMS ONTARIO – STARTS IN SEPTEMBER AND NOW COULDN’T BE A BETTER TIME TO ENROLL
PSW Programs Ontario
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. As the average age of the population continues to rise, Ontario needs more PSWs than ever before.
If you’re interested in the Personal Support Worker certificate, 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 several 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 a PSW certificate 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 PSW certificate.
PSW Programs Ontario: Why Ontario Needs More Personal Support Workers Than Ever Before
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.
The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recently 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?
2017-07-12 by NAHB
Once you have completed your personal support worker training and find it’s time to go out and get a job that can put what you learned in psw courses to good use, you’ll need a solid game plan. Here are some suggestions to get you started on this rewarding career path:
Researching Potential Employers
The first thing you should do is determine whether you are primarily looking for work in a healthcare institution such as a hospital or a long-term care facility or would rather work in private residences, either through a placement agency or by getting hired directly by clients. It’s a good idea to focus on the type of work you want but keep all options open in your search.
Resources for personal support worker course graduates looking for work include:
- PersonalSupportWorkerHQ.com: This site provides, among other resources, a listing of hospitals in Ontario hiring PSWs.
- Job Search Websites: It’s a good idea to check out sites like indeed.ca and jobboom.com for postings and when searching for individual clients. Classifieds sites like Kijiji should also not be ignored.
Preparing for the Interview
When you’ve landed an interview, it’s important that you go into it prepared. Some good tips for prospective personal support workers to remember are:
- Research your potential employer
- Be able to list and know your relevant skills
- Be able to explain how your education has prepared you for this work
- Do a mock interview
- Dress professionally and leave early
Possible Interview Questions
Interviewing for a position as a PSW is generally a very in-depth process, which makes sense considering the highly personal nature of the work. Potential employers want to be sure that they’re hiring the right person for the job. Here are some questions you may hear at a PSW job interview:
- If a resident/your patient falls, what will you do? In the case of an institution, it is best to familiarize yourself with their safety protocols. One possible good responses could be “stay with the patient and call for help, then help transfer them to a bed or chair safely.”
- How do you care for a palliative patient? Your response should mention that you would care for them with the upmost dignity and respect, in accordance with their religious practises, treating them with warmth and empathy while respecting their privacy.
- What are a resident’s rights? There are over 25 rights people who live in Ontario long-term care facilities have legally. These include the right to be protected from abuse and neglect, have a safe and clean home and be cared for in a manner consistent with their beliefs. It is important to know all the rights before going to a job interview in a long-term care facility.
Where would you prefer to work as a PSW, and what steps will you take to get there?