2019-03-06 by NAHB
Interpersonal skills refer to any skill that makes interaction and communication between yourself and others easier and more open. Given that personal support workers (PSW) spend so much time caring for and interacting with clients, interpersonal skills are an essential part of their work. While many people have the mistaken belief that such skills are innate, the truth is that they can be taught and developed over time.
In fact, an important part of PSW training is developing interpersonal skills. As a PSW, you’ll use the skills learned during training extensively while on the job. Here are just three ways you’ll put your interpersonal skills to use if you pursue a career as a PSW.
Talking with Clients Is an Important Part of Your PSW Career
PSWs help with many practical activities such as personal hygiene, meal preparation, and housekeeping. What you may not realize, however, is that a key part of a PSW’s job is simply talking to clients. Some clients may feel socially isolated because of their health condition, especially if it prevents them from leaving their home very often. Being able to provide conversation helps decrease this feeling of isolation and can improve their overall mental health.
By talking with clients, PSWs help them feel less socially isolated
Your interpersonal skills help facilitate this social aspect of your career. For example, by maintaining a positive and friendly demeanour, you can help your clients feel cared for and safe opening up to you. Likewise, showing empathy through both verbal and nonverbal communication will help clients know they can trust you and talk freely with you.
Active Listening Helps PSWs Identify the Individual Needs of Clients
Active listening is a key interpersonal skill to have during your PSW career. By actively listening, you show your clients that you are engaged in what they are saying. You can indicate that you are actively listening by maintaining eye contact, acknowledging what the client is saying, and, once they are done speaking, responding in a way that directly addresses what they have just said.
Active listening helps build trust and comfort between yourself and clients. Furthermore, as you will learn during your personal support worker courses, PSWs respect the individuality of their clients by recognizing that each one has different needs. Through active listening you can better understand what those needs are so that you can respond to them effectively.
Interpersonal Skills Help PSWs Provide Support and Reassurance to Family
PSWs don’t just communicate with clients; they also communicate with their clients’ families. Indeed, families will understandably want to make sure that their loved one’s PSW is compassionate and trustworthy.
Your clients’ families will feel supported and reassured by your interpersonal skills
Furthermore, family members may turn to you to learn how they can help assist in the care needs of their loved one. It’s one of the reasons why the training provided in a personal support worker diploma program includes how to assist family members. With your interpersonal skills, you can more effectively communicate to them how they can provide such assistance, helping them feel empowered and supported.
Are you ready to take the first step towards a PSW career?
Contact National Academy of Health and Business to learn about our programs!
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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2018-04-11 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!