Personal Support Worker
Program Learning Outcomes
This Seneca program has been validated by the Credential Validation Service as an Ontario College Credential as required by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.
As a graduate, you will be prepared to reliably demonstrate the ability to:
- Work within the personal support worker role in community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer’s job description, policies, procedures and guidelines.
- Act responsibly and be accountable for own actions while recognizing the boundaries of knowledge and skills within the personal support worker role that require collaboration with the clients, families, supervisors and/or other members of the interprofessional care/service team.
- Participate as a member of the interprofessional care/service team and maintain collaborative working relationships in the provision of supportive care in community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings.
- Provide client-centred and client-directed care that is based on ethical principles, sensitive to diverse client and family values, beliefs and needs, and which follows the direction of the plan of care/service plan.
- Establish and maintain helping relationships with clients and their families reflecting open communication, professional boundaries, employer’s policies and adhering to confidentiality and privacy legislation.
- Identify relevant client information using basic assessment and communication skills and report and document findings in accordance with the requirements of employer policies and procedures and all applicable legislation.
- Promote and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for clients, their families, self and others including the implementation of infection prevention and control measures and emergency first aid procedures that are in keeping with the plan of care/service plan, employer policies and procedures, and all applicable legislation.
- Assist clients across the lifespan with routine activities of daily living by applying basic knowledge of growth and development, common alterations in functioning, disease prevention, health promotion and maintenance, rehabilitation and restorative care.
- Assist clients with medication in keeping with the direction of the plan of care/service plan and under the direction and monitoring of a regulated health professional or most accountable person and in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer’s policies.
- Assist with household management tasks and instrumental activities of daily living in accordance with the plan of care/service plan and considering the preferences, comfort and safety of clients, families and significant others.
- Assist clients who are caring for dependent individuals considering client and family choices, professional boundaries and the direction of the plan of care/service plan.
- Identify and report situations of neglect, and potential, alleged or witnessed/actual incidents of abuse, and respond in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer’s policies and procedures.
- Assist in the provision of culturally relevant palliative and end-of life care to clients experiencing life threatening illness and to their families and significant others, from diagnosis through death and bereavement, and in accordance with clients’ choices and the plan of care/service plan.
- Use identified approaches and best practices to support positive and safe behaviour in clients experiencing cognitive impairment, mental health challenges and/or responsive behaviours.
Routine activities of daily living - Activities of daily living are usually performed by an individual in the course of a normal day. Examples of routine activities of daily living include eating, bathing/personal hygiene, grooming, dressing, toileting, and mobility. Personal support workers provide assistance to clients in the performance of routine activities of daily living in order to support clients’ health and well-being, promote their ability to care for themselves and their families, assist them to enjoy leisure and recreation, and help them to contribute to society and the community. The need for, clients’ responses to, and the outcomes of performing these activities have been established over time and therefore, are predictable. In addition, what may be considered a routine activity of daily living in one client situation should not be considered a routine activity of daily living for all client situations. Personal support workers assist clients with their routine activities of living according to the written plan of care/service plan, oral directions, employers’ policies, practice guidelines and all applicable legislation. These activities are supervised, directly or indirectly, by a regulated health professional/supervisor and/or they are under the direction of the client (adapted from ACCC Canadian Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers, 2012).
Instrumental activities of daily living - Activities related to clients’ independent living, involving interactions with the physical and social environment, which may include but are not limited to: preparing food, shopping, and cleaning (adapted from ACCC Canadian Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers, 2012).
Assist with medication - Assistance with medication involves the provision of physical assistance to clients in taking their medications. Assistance may include such activities as opening the container for the individual, providing a glass of water to drink while taking the medication, and/or placing the medication pack in a client’s hand. However, some specific legislative schemes may also potentially affect the circumstances and manner in which PSWs can assist clients with their medication in certain settings. For example, personal support workers are not allowed to administer drugs to clients in long-term care home settings. A member of the registered nursing staff in the long-term care home setting may permit a personal support worker to administer a topical where certain prescribed requirements are met. Where assistance with medication involves the performance of a controlled act*, such assistance must be carried out in accordance with the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (adapted from the ACCC Canadian Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers, 2012 and Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007).
Care settings – The environments where personal support workers provide supportive care to clients and their families. Settings include, but are not limited to community (private homes, assisted living and supportive housing residences, group homes, schools, hospices and adult day programs), retirement homes, long-term care homes and hospitals.
Client-centred - See supportive care.
Client-directed - See supportive care.
Culturally relevant - See supportive care.
Controlled Acts – As set out in the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 (RHPA), are specified acts considered to be potentially harmful if performed by unqualified individuals. The RHPA provides that no person shall perform a controlled act as set out in the RHPA in the course of providing health care services to an individual unless, a) the person is a member authorized by a health profession Act to perform the controlled act; or b) the performance of the controlled act has been delegated to the person by a member authorized by a health profession Act. In addition, the RHPA statutory scheme also provides for specified exceptions to the general prohibition on the performance of controlled acts by individuals who are not authorized by a health profession Act to perform the controlled act, or to whom the performance of the controlled act has been delegated. For example, the RHPA provides that persons who are not otherwise authorized to perform controlled acts, may perform certain controlled acts in certain specified circumstances, such as when assisting the person with his/her routine activities of daily living.
Dependent individual – A person who requires assistance from another family member, significant other or support person to meet their basic daily needs. A dependent individual can be at any stage in the lifespan including infants, children and youths, adults and older and frail elderly.
End-of-life - See supportive care.
Ethical (ethically) - An individual’s fundamental disposition toward what is morally good and right, and the associated action (i.e., the action an individual recognizes or believes to be the best outcome in a particular situation). Principles of ethics in health care include justice, autonomy, beneficence, and nonmaleficence (adapted from ACCC Canadian Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers, 2012).
Helping relationship – A professional relationship where clients’ needs are central to the relationship and the basis for supportive care provided. Helping relationships are client goal-directed and characterized by empathy, trust, respect and professional client-caregiver boundaries.
Household management tasks - The activities required to support clients and their families within their homes. These services include light housekeeping activities such as cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, laundry, making beds, meal and snack preparation, accompanying clients, shopping, and running errands.
Interprofessional care/service team - Individuals who by working together provide personal and supportive care, and/or home management services to clients to promote optimal levels of health and well-being. The team may consist of different configurations of the client, regulated health professionals and other professionals, unregulated care providers, and other caregivers (including the client’s family). Within the team, the client remains its centre and client-directed care its focus (adapted from ACCC Canadian Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers, 2012).
Most accountable person – The individual most able to assist a client with medication and/or care in accordance with the plan of care/service plan and agency policy; may be the client’s family member or significant other member of the client’s support system.
Plan of care/service plan - A client-centred plan of action that is based on client needs as assessed by the appropriate health care and/or service provider. The plan of care/service plan may be referred to by a variety of names in different agencies or jurisdictions. Client consent is necessary in order for the health care or service provider to provide treatment, care or services. Regulated health professionals and/or supervisors are accountable for the development of the plan of care/service plan, for the safe and competent implementation of these plans, for the evaluation of client outcomes, and for revisions to the plan of care/service plan as required. Personal support workers are responsible for competently carrying out assigned supportive care actions as outlined in the plan of care/service plan and according to established policies and procedures. As members of the interprofessional team, personal support workers provide input into the development and ongoing review of the plan of care/service plan.
Professional - This includes all aspects of performance: communication, ethics, accountability, responsibility, respect, appearance, utilization of knowledge and problem solving, and giving and receiving feedback in a positive manner. While personal support workers are not defined as regulated health care professionals, they are expected to behave in a professional manner. This means that they will conform to the technical, social, and ethical standards expected of an individual within the health care field. (adapted from ACCC Canadian Educational Standards for Personal Care Providers, 2012).
Responsive behaviours – Behaviours that often indicate an unmet need in a person whether cognitive, physical, emotional, social, environmental or other, or a response to circumstances within the social or physical environment that may be frustrating, frightening or confusing to a person (Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 Reg. 79/10).
Regulated health professionals - Those individuals who are members of a health regulatory college and who hold a valid certificate of registration from that college, as set out under the Regulated Health Professions Act,(RHPA) 1991, and any accompanying health profession specific Acts (as listed in Schedule I of the RHPA). Regulated Health Professionals (as a function of the RHPA and their respective health profession-specific Acts) have specified profession-specific scopes of practice, professional designations and are able to practise using certain restricted titles. They are also typically authorized to perform certain specified controlled acts as set out in the profession’s own health profession-specific Act. Regulated health professionals included in the RHPA that the personal support worker may interact with include but are not limited to; chiropodists, chiropractors, dentists, denturists, dietitians, occupational therapists, optometrists, massage therapists, pharmacists, psychologists, physicians, physiotherapists, registered nurses and registered practical nurses and respiratory therapists.
Restorative care – Care that is focused on the goal of maintaining or improving clients’ functional or cognitive capacities in all aspects of daily living, to the extent of his or her abilities in order to promote and maximize independence. Restorative care is integrated into the care that is provided to clients and provided on an ongoing basis. Restorative care is planned, implemented and evaluated by nursing personnel with the assistance of personal support workers and other service providers as needed. Restorative care can include therapy services. Therapy services require specific expertise and must be delivered by appropriate regulated health professionals (e.g. physiotherapists) or care staff working with appropriate education and training under the direction of the regulated health professional, in accordance with all applicable legislation (e.g. Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007, Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991, Health Profession-Specific Acts, etc.).
Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) – The Retirement Homes Act, 2010 establishes the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) to oversee administration of the Act with duties that include: licensing retirement homes, handling complaints about homes and enforcing the standards in the Act. Range of standards/requirements including: Mandatory reporting of resident abuse/harm to RHRA Registrar; Residents Bill of Rights; Emergency/Fire Safety plans and staff training; provisions related to restraints, devices; retirement home standards regarding risk of falls, behaviour management, administration of drugs/medication management; other care service standards e.g. feeding, bathing ambulation, dementia care; and Plan of Care.
Supportive Care – Holistic care delivered to the client by the personal support worker which is characterized as client-centred, client-directed and culturally sensitive. In the provision of supportive care as a member of the interprofessional care team and the personal support worker contributes to and is directed by the client’s plan of care/service plan and employer’s policies and procedures.
- Client-centred - An approach to supportive care where the client is viewed as a whole person. Client-centred care involves advocacy, empowerment and respect for the client’s autonomy, voice, self-determination and participation in decision making (Canadian Nurses Association, Therapeutic Nurse Client Relationship, 2006).
- Client-directed - An approach to supportive care delivery where clients are considered the brokers of care and receive what they ask for. This involves the clients taking an active role, controlling care delivery not just at the point of care, but in the broader healthcare system (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, 2006).
- Culturally relevant - An approach to supportive care delivery that recognizes and values cultural differences and where client and family’s cultural beliefs and practices are honoured in care delivery.
- End-of-life - An approach to supportive care delivery where, regardless of the care setting, integrated clinical and support services are provided to ensure the best quality of living for dying people and their families (adapted from British Columbia, MOH A Provincial Framework for End of Life Care, 2006).
Unregulated care providers – Care providers or assistant personnel who provide personal care, health services and home management activities. Unregulated care providers are not licensed or registered members of a health regulatory college/body do not have a legislated scope of practice, protected title or a set of professional standards for practice. Personal support workers are unregulated care providers (adapted from the Canadian Nurses Association, 2008).