Working in a Nursing Home After Earning a Personal Support Worker Diploma

personal support worker program
Personal support workers (PSWs) have a unique role in the Canadian healthcare system, offering patients, residents or clients both clinical care and assisted living services. Although a PSW’s job description can vary significantly depending on several factors, it generally involves assistance with ongoing conditions, personal care, and home management.

PSWs are often employed by agencies that provide home care, but they may also find employment in hospitals and nursing homes. Within the nursing home, PSWs are an important member of the healthcare team, supporting nurses and other professionals to implement established plans for care with reliability, compassion and integrity. If you’re planning to enroll in a PSW program, read on for a look into a typical day in the life of a PSW working in a nursing home.

The Morning Routine for Pros with Personal Support Worker Training

A PSW’s morning routine in a nursing home involves helping residents get ready for the day ahead. The ratio of PSWs to residents will vary depending on where you work, but you would typically be required to help approximately 5 to 10 residents in a nursing home. During your personal support worker training, you’ll learn that morning duties will vary between nursing homes, but they often include:

  • Escorting residents to the washroom
  • Assisting with mobility and getting dressed
  • Helping with basic hygiene and grooming

Senior residents in a nursing home have different levels of functionality and independence. That’s why while the typical morning routine may take only a few minutes with some residents, it could take much longer with others. You’ll usually be assigned to a certain floor or group of residents, so you’ll know how to schedule your time with each resident according to their needs.

Most nursing homes bring breakfast directly to residents’ rooms, or serve it in a dining hall, so once residents are ready in the morning, you may have to escort them to a dining room to eat.

Personal Support Worker Training Teaches Students to Assist Midday Activities

After breakfast, PSWs generally help nursing home residents bathe. Some residents will only require supervision, while others might need help getting in and out of the shower or washing.

Throughout your pursuit of a personal support worker diploma, you’ll learn that it’s important to document daily activities, such as bathing and the times that medication has been given. This will ensure that shift nurses and other PSWs understand the resident’s most current status and can help as needed. Additionally, it’s important to note any changes in the behaviour of residents, so it can be addressed as quickly as possible.

At lunchtime, PSWs may be required to observe and record the eating habits of the residents they are responsible for in order to ensure there are no drastic changes in appetite. Many nursing home residents are also on a toileting schedule, so midday is usually when PSWs change residents as needed, or perform general check-ups to see if they need anything.

How Personal Support Workers End Their Shifts

In a nursing home, group activities usually take place between lunchtime and suppertime. During this time, you might be required to assist residents in getting to and from activities, escort them to their rooms for some rest, or perhaps get them to their medical appointments. If your shift includes evening hours, you’ll also escort residents to the dining hall and help them get ready for bed.

At the end of your shift, you’ll need to complete your daily reports. There can be a lot to keep track of, such as how much residents eat and drink, how many times in a day they went to the bathroom, and any behavioural changes. All of this information provides insight into the individual needs of the residents in your care.

No two days are exactly alike for a PSW working in a nursing home. In fact, working with residents will give you the opportunity to provide care, support and even companionship as you get to know their individual needs and life stories. By providing this level of care on a daily basis, you will be able to make a significant impact in the lives of others.

Looking for a personal support worker program that will prepare you for this meaningful career?

Visit Computek College for course information, or to speak with an advisor.

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