2019-02-06 by NAHB
Pursuing a career as a personal support worker is an incredibly rewarding endeavour. As a PSW, you’ll be providing care to the people who need it most. However, as with many professions in healthcare, the rewards of this career also come with certain challenges.
If you pursue a career as a personal support worker, you may at some point interact with families as they cope with difficult news. This is especially common if your client passes away or if they have recently received a discouraging diagnosis. As a PSW, navigating this grief can present challenges, especially since different families grieve in different ways.
To help you thrive in your career, here are some points to keep in mind as a PSW.
Personal Support Workers Can Show Empathy While Acknowledging Limitations
Providing empathetic support to families of seriously ill clients can be a balancing act. This is because you’ll need to show families that you are sympathetic to what they are going through without crossing any boundaries.
It’s usually best to avoid phrases such as “I know how you feel”. Even if you have a loved one who is ill, you can’t know what another person is feeling, and often this well-intentioned statement can backfire. Instead, it is often best to simply admit that you can’t imagine what they are going through.
Furthermore, while it’s normal to feel saddened when a client passes or when their illness progresses, it is important to remain composed and professional when communicating with the family. If you don’t, they may become uncomfortable or start to feel like they are the ones who need to support you. If you find an instance particularly difficult to manage, it may be best to have a colleague take your place temporarily.
PSWs need to strike a balance between offering empathy while not overstepping boundaries
Use Personal Support Worker Training to Provide Families with Practical Assistance
Regardless of whether news was sudden or expected, many families may find it difficult to cope. For some individuals, this may be the first time they have dealt with such a situation. The practical support offered by graduates of personal support worker training can be especially valuable during this time. For example, if a client has received a difficult diagnosis or has lost mobility, the assistance you provide with things like personal hygiene and mealtimes can help them maintain a high quality of life. This in turn can reassure families that their loved ones are receiving the best care they can.
Personal Support Workers Can Take Their Cues from Grieving Families
Everybody grieves in their own way, which is something to be cognizant of in your profession after completing a personal support worker diploma. Some people will be very emotional, while others may appear the opposite. People going through grief often worry that they are not doing it the “right” way. As a PSW, you need to remain non-judgemental of how people grieve. Some may want to talk to you about their loved one, while others will want to be left alone. Again, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, so take your cues from the family when approaching these situations.
Are you interested in a career as a personal support worker?
Contact the National Academy of Health and Business to learn more about our personal support worker courses.
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.
Are you interested in how to become a PSW?
Check out the National Academy of Health and Business’ programs today!
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.
2018-06-27 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!
Are you ready to start a rewarding healthcare career where you can help clients in your community?
Contact the National Academy of Health and Business and become a PSW.
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.
Check out what’s on offer at the National Academy of Health and Business!
2018-04-11 by NAHB
Isolation is real problem that affects 28 per cent of seniors aged 65 and older, most living alone without a spouse or family member. Seniors often become isolated because of uncontrollable external factors, such as disability, the death of a family member, or retirement. Studies have shown that social isolation among seniors can increase the risk of death, poor physical and mental health, and impaired mobility. Isolated seniors are also at a higher risk of being the victims of elder abuse as well as long-term illnesses such as depression, dementia, chronic lung disease, and arthritis.
Thankfully, there is a way for compassionate individuals to contribute to ending isolation among seniors, and enhancing the quality of their care. Students pursuing a career as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) can reduce feelings of isolation, helping their clients feel included as valued members of their communities.
Here are some of the ways a career as a PSW can help you prevent isolation among seniors.
PSW Training Can Teach You How to Address the Individual Needs of Each Client
Being able to assess and adapt your care to the needs of each individual client will be an important part of your PSW career. For example, clients who experience anxiety or depression may require more mental stimulation or encouragement to join in a group activity. Some may even benefit from having a pet, or from regular visits by therapy animals.
Being able to properly attend to each client’s unique requirements can make all the difference. It’s why top schools like the National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB) include courses dedicated to the individuality of the patient. Throughout your career, your ability to help each client in the way that best addresses their unique challenges and concerns can help them break free from feelings of isolation.
Knowing each client’s specific needs can help PSWs enhance care
PSW Training Also Prepares You to Meet the Specific Safety Needs of Clients
Another important issue for many seniors suffering from isolation is safety. Isolated seniors may have more difficulty maintaining an adequate diet or getting enough physical activity. For some, vision loss can also make them more prone to tripping and other accidents. This can present a dangerous problem. Seniors may experience a fall or other safety problem, which can have serious consequences on their health. In addition, an accident can further isolate a senior, as it can reduce their mobility and make it more difficult for them to leave the house or engage in activities.
Fortunately, professionals with PSW training have a clear, complete, and grounded understanding of safety standards, such as general techniques for assisting a senior with their mobility, medication assistance, and CPR/ first aide. Each of these skills can help you ensure that your clients stay safe, even when they may have a smaller support network of friends and family to rely on.
PSWs Can Help Seniors Just by Being There
For many seniors, a visit from their PSW can be the highlight of their day. A friendly, compassionate, and engaged PSW can create a social environment that keeps seniors feeling connected to those around them. Asking a client about their day, remembering their hobbies and interests, and enjoying friendly conversations together can all help to build connection and reduce isolation.
A friendly and compassionate PSW can have a positive impact
For this reason, communication is an essential skill students learn to develop during their training. For example, at NAHB students learn to develop their interpersonal skills, and even get to practice these skills in a real work setting through practical placements. As a result, students graduate knowing how to best connect with their clients. For many, it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of this career path.
Are you ready to contribute to enhancing the quality of care for seniors?
Earn your certification by enrolling in personal support worker courses at the National Academy of Health and Business!
2018-01-24 by NAHB
Job interviews can feel a bit stressful, especially when it’s for a position you’ve always wanted. Fortunately, preparing ahead of time can lessen those fluttering nerves. One of the best ways to prepare is to do some research on questions that might come up during the interview. This way you have the chance to pre-formulate answers to some of the questions that you may be asked.
Some questions—like “what are your strengths and weaknesses”—come up in most job interviews, whether you’re applying to work as a personal support worker (PSW) or not. However, as you begin your career as a PSW, you might encounter a few other common career-specific interview questions often asked by employers. Here are some of the questions you might hear, as well as a few standard interview prep tips you should never forget.
Scenario-Based Questions Are Frequently Asked During Interviews for PSW Positions
The most common interview questions often asked when applying for PSW positions are scenario-based ones. This means that you are asked about how you might apply your skills and knowledge to a specific situation, or how you may have done so in the past.
Scenario-based questions help employers know how you would approach different responsibilities
An example of a scenario-based question is how you might care for a palliative client. Another scenario-based question you could be asked is what you might do if a client falls. Remembering the training you completed when earning your personal support worker diploma will help you answer these kinds of questions. You can provide an example of a time when you encountered this type of situation during your community placement or arranged long-term care placement, or discuss how the courses you completed in Palliative Care, Assisting the Family/Coping Mechanisms, and more helped equip you with the skills to handle these scenarios. Demonstrating how your training has prepared you for many different situations will show employers that you are ready for the challenges of this role.
Questions About Dealing With a Difficult Situations in Your Personal Support Worker Career
A common set of scenario-based questions aspiring PSWs often encounter are those asking how you may deal with aggressiveness and other difficult situations during your personal support worker career. Aggressiveness, frustration, and anger can sometimes come from a resident, their family members, of even a stressed co-worker. While these negative situations might not be a common occurrence, they could happen from time to time throughout your career.
A client might feel scared and frustrated about a medical condition they have, or family might have difficulty processing what their loved one is going through. Sometimes, aggressiveness can be a symptom of a medical condition such as dementia. Often in these circumstances, your ability to remain calm and professional can help diffuse the situation. Knowing that a caring professional is listening to them and taking their concerns seriously can go a long way towards soothing a stressed client or family member.
By telling employers how you would address these types of situations, and by providing examples of how you have remained professional in the past, you can demonstrate that you would be a valuable member of the team.
There Are a Number of Things You Should Not Forget Prior to Any Interview
No matter what position you may be interviewing for, there are a number of things you should always do—before, during, and after your interview. Prepare for the interview in advance not only by reviewing and answering possible questions, but also by figuring out how long it will take you to get there and what you want to wear for the interview. This way, you won’t have to worry about running late or forgetting something important. During the interview you should also maintain eye contact, smile, and take your time to answer questions without rushing in. Also feel free to ask questions to the interviewer as well, which can help demonstrate your interest in the position and the organization. By keeping these points in mind, you’ll be able to shine during your job search after graduation.
Are you looking to change lives by becoming a personal support worker?
Explore the PSW courses offered by NAHB!
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?
Contact National Academy of Health and Business to get started!
2015-12-09 by NAHB
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.
2015-02-04 by NAHB
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?