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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2018-05-02 by NAHB
Unhealthy habits are difficult to turn around, especially if they’re already having an impact on physical wellbeing. Exercise and a good diet are important for people of all ages, and a personal support worker (PSW) knows the importance of those habits, especially later on in a client’s life. When it comes to managing hypertension (high blood pressure), lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
It’s estimated that one out of every five Canadians lives with hypertension, and it’s particularly common among older adults. It’s regarded as a silent killer because it has no symptoms, but high blood pressure can eventually lead to serious conditions like heart attack, stroke, or coronary artery disease. May is Hypertension Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to take on board some tips to address this health problem.
Blood Pressure Readings Should Be Carried Out Regularly
Home blood pressure monitors are quite common, and regularly taking measurements can be a good idea. The cuffs with this equipment should be appropriately sized for the client to ensure that an accurate reading is taken.
A healthy blood pressure range is usually seen as 120/80. The first figure refers to Systolic Pressure—the pressure in arteries when the heart beats. The second figure measures Diastolic Pressure—the pressure in arteries between heartbeats. Both figures record in millimeters of mercury and higher figures mean increased blood pressure levels.
Clients should avoid food, exercise, caffeine, or smoking for one hour before blood pressure readings are taken in both arms. That’s because these activities could lead to an inaccurate reading where problems are left unidentified.
Grads of Personal Support Worker Courses Can Help Clients With Diet and Exercise
The diet needed to combat high blood pressure follows an almost identical pattern to a regular healthy diet. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is seen as a helpful guide, and it seeks to limit the consumption of saturated and total fats like dairy and meat products. Salt also contributes to high blood pressure. As you assist your clients during mealtimes throughout your PSW career, you should be mindful about this and limit the amount of salt included in meals.
A healthy diet can make all the difference for clients with hypertension
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium are seen as the three key elements of a healthy diet aimed at reducing hypertension. These elements are more prevalent in vegetarian diets, so fruit and vegetables should be increased in your client’s diet. Low-fat dairy products—which are a terrific source of calcium—are also promoted as well as brown rice, potatoes, and tomatoes—which are high in magnesium.
Maintaining a healthy weight lowers blood pressure, so exercise should be encouraged too. For older clients, this could mean walking a bit more during the day or participating in an age-appropriate exercise class. Chair exercises are a great form of exercise for people who have difficulty with mobility, and can easily be worked into a daily routine.
Making Sure That Clients Take Blood Pressure Medication at the Right Times
Dietary and lifestyle change may not be enough to adequately reduce hypertension levels. For some clients, their doctor may have had to prescribe medication. There are three main groups of blood pressure medication. Thiazidediuretics target the kidneys by eliminating salt and water, Beta Blockers slow down the heartbeat, while ACE inhibitors ease pressure by opening up blood vessels. Professionals with a personal support worker certificate know it’s important to follow the doctor’s advice and ensure clients are taking their medication at the right time.
Help your clients take their medications regularly
Dietary supplements may also be seen as an easier way to achieve a balanced diet. If a doctor has recommended these as well, ensuring that clients regularly take them will help to improve their health and prevent further problems form arising.
Personal support worker courses are the first step on the path to a range of rewarding careers.
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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!
2017-12-20 by Isabelle Schumacher
Going back to school can be an intimidating experience, especially after years in the real world. Many students worry that their study skills might be a little rusty, or that balancing a busy schedule with school work will be too difficult to do. Fortunately, top personal support worker (PSW) programs are there to help students every step of the way. Whether by providing students with helpful support in finding financing options, or even assisting them in landing their dream job after graduation, our dedicated staff are there to help students launch their PSW careers. The expert instructors at National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB) also care deeply about the success of their students, and will happily answer any questions you might have throughout your studies.
In addition, there are also plenty of qualities that you might already possess which can be a true asset, both in the classroom and during your career. What are they? Read on to find out!
Compassion: A Key Part of All Personal Support Worker Courses
If you’re considering a career as a personal support worker, there’s a good chance that you care deeply about the wellbeing of others. Maybe you love to help others, or want to make a positive difference in your community. Perhaps you’ve been a caregiver for a loved one, and want to make sure that others get much-deserved attention as well.
Whatever reason you have for becoming interested in personal support worker training, your compassion will be an important key to your success both during your training and in your career. Whether helping a senior enjoy a tasty meal, or making sure a client with a disability is assisted with activities like personal hygiene, your compassion will shine through to all around you.
Attention to Detail: An Important Component to Any PSW Career
As you begin your different personal support worker courses, you’ll soon learn that attention to detail is an important part of this career path. That’s because each client under your care will be a unique individual with their own personality and medical history. Top personal support workers know to pay attention to key details and personalize the care each client receives. In fact, PSW programs like the one offered at NAHB even include an entire module on the individuality of the patient, so that students graduate ready to provide top-quality care. Your ability to notice details about clients will help you stand out during your classes, as well as in your long-term care and community placements.
PSWs work hard to personalize care for each client
Strength: An Essential Quality Found in All Personal Support Workers
Strength can come in many different shapes and sizes. It could be the physical strength to assist a client get in and out of bed safely. It can also be the strength to help clients and their families as they go through a very difficult time.
Many clients in long term care might be living with health problems, dementia, or other illnesses. For both the client and their family, this can be a difficult time. Palliative care, as well as coping mechanisms and tools for helping families, are included in PSW programs for this very reason. For many students returning to their studies, the life experience and personal strength they have developed are true assets. As you begin your studies, you’ll soon discover that your strength, combined with your compassion and attention to detail, will help you excel in your courses and truly make a difference in the lives of others.
The strength and compassion of PSWs makes a world of difference for their clients
Are you ready to earn your personal support worker certificate?
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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?
2017-02-15 by Isabelle Schumacher
Today, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is taught in healthcare programs around the globe. It’s seen as an effective means to help a person’s body circulate oxygenated blood until the heart can be restarted, and it has proved to be extremely effective. In 2010, it was estimated by Dr. James Jude—one of the creators of CPR—that over two million lives have been saved using this technique.
In the 1800s there seemed to be limited hope amongst medical professionals that an effective method for keeping the body alive during cardiac arrest was possible. A physician at the time even declared “We are powerless against paralysis of the circulation”. However, it wasn’t long after that declaration that the invention of modern day CPR began to unfold.
Are you interested in beginning healthcare courses? Read on to learn more about the history of CPR.
The Need for a Procedure like CPR Was Formally Recognized in the 1700s
Amsterdam is a city famous for its beautiful canal waterways. In the eighteenth century the canals were the main mode of transportation for those living in the city, and as an unfortunate result, hundreds of drownings occurred every year. To help combat this problem, a group of elite individuals came together to form the Society for Recovery of Drowned Persons in an effort to develop a standard for treating people after they had been pulled from the water.
The society came up with seven recommendations that were meant to stimulate the body’s functions. While students in a PSW course will definitely not use all of the steps today, some of them are reminiscent of modern day CPR.
The first four techniques recommend by the society, warming the person, repositioning the head to evacuate water from their body, putting pressure on the abdomen, and breathing into the person’s mouth, are used in different variations today. However, outlandish recommendations like bloodletting and tickling the person’s throat are no longer in use.
The Concept of CPR Was Created in 1960 and Used by Those with Healthcare Training
After the recommendations made by the society in Amsterdam, there weren’t many major developments in resuscitation for quite a while. However, at the turn of the twentieth century everything started to change.
In 1904 the first described chest compressions were recorded. But it wasn’t until 1958 when the discovery of chest compressions and their effectiveness was formalized by William Bennett Kouwenhoven, Guy Knickerbocker, and James Jude at John Hopkins University. The discovery happened by accident while they were performing defibrillation on dogs and noticed that when pressure was applied forcefully to a dog’s chest it created a pulse. Realizing what they had discovered, the three started conducting a study.
By 1960, they reported that out of 20 patients who underwent chest compressions while in cardiac arrest, 14 survived. In a meeting with the Maryland Medical Society in 1960, the researchers proposed the new life-saving technique. Peter Safer, an anesthesiologist who separately discovered the efficacy of breathing for a patient in 1956, specified in the meeting that the two techniques (mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions) would be most effective at saving lives when used together. Thus CPR, as students in healthcare training know it, was born.
CPR is now taught across the world
How CPR Was Adopted Around the World and Used by Pros With Healthcare Training
To bring life-saving CPR to the world, Jude, Knickerbocker, and Safar all set out on a tour around the globe to speak about the topic. In 1962, a short film called the “Pulse of Life” was created describing the procedure. The video has been used in thousands of classrooms to teach individuals in all types of careers how to perform effective CPR. Finally, in 1963 the American Heart Association formed a CPR committee and CPR was formally recognized as an effective means of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Are you interested in completing a personal support worker certificate?
Contact the National Academy of Health and Business today!