Support for the personal support worker (PSW)
Being a Personal Support Worker (PSW) is probably one of the most difficult jobs out there. PSWs work extremely hard and they are often under-staffed, work under considerable time constraints, and sometimes in environments that are not fully equipped or accessible. Documentation and paperwork is also deemed a priority for PSWs which takes time away from providing care to clients. The job is physically demanding and can be emotionally draining as well.
It truly takes a special person to be a “good” PSW and to perform this job “well”. PSWs work intimately with our most frail and vulnerable members of society – our elderly loved ones and those with physical and/or cognitive limitations. And, they (PSWs) are trusted to provide quality, compassionate care in a respectful manner.
When a PSW delivers services in a kind, caring and gentle manner, the exchange between two human beings is quite special. A trusting bond forms between these two individuals that provides comfort and security not only for the person receiving care, but for their family members as well. A PSWs job is not only about “completing a task”, it is about treating the individual receiving care with dignity and respect throughout the process and ensuring their emotional needs as well as their physical needs are met.
This sounds logical, doesn’t it? Yes.
Is it always easy? No, not at all.
Is it truly possible? Of course it is!
PSWs do face a great challenge. The health care system is relying on lower paid PSWs to provide cost-effective solutions to meet the increasing demands of an already-strained system. As more and more people live longer lives and with multiple and chronic conditions, PSWs must care for individuals who present with complex medical, physical, cognitive, and functional needs. The unfortunate part is that the current level of education a PSW receives in a 26 week training course does not fully equip them with the background knowledge and skills they require to meet the high level of care that the older adults require and at the standard that the families and health care system expect. An added layer to the situation PSWs face is the fact that they are not yet a regulated profession. Regulation would protect the public by ensuring PSWs are competent, ethical, and accountable for the care they provide. Until they are regulated, the onus is on those who employ PSWs to be accountable for the care delivered by their organization, and to ensure that their staff have the skills and support needed to provide quality care and services.
The founders of Attune Aging Strategies & Solutions, Jim Salituri (Physiotherapist) and Anita Salituri (Occupational Therapist), have been closely monitoring the changes taking place in the health care system. They decided to play a role in effecting future change, and to be part of the solution. Drawing on their skills and experience in rehabilitation, Jim and Anita Salituri design, deliver and help implement customized educational and skill-development programs specifically for PSWs. Through a deeper understanding of individual needs and presenting conditions, Attune’s goal is to help PSWs improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills so they can better identify and respond to different situations as they occur. Attune’s philosophy that permeates all training is that care is provided “with” the client not “for” the client, to promote a sense of involvement, and to maximize movement and independence. Our goal is to improve the quality of care received by individuals in need, and ultimately have a positive impact on their quality of life.
Attune welcomes the opportunity to discuss the educational needs of PSWs with you or your organization. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anita Salituri is an Occupational Therapist and founded Attune Aging Strategies and Solutions with her husband and Physiotherapist, Jim Salituri. With over 45 years of combined experience in the field of rehabilitation, they work together to create exercise programs for seniors and deliver educational workshops and skills enhancement training to professional and family caregivers. Attune is focused on enhancing the care and quality of life of older adults as they strive to remain living at home for as long as possible.