The help of a Personal Support Worker (PSW) can make a world of difference in the lives of seniors. From assisting with basic daily living activities like eating and bathing, to helping facilitate a more active lifestyle, to providing simple companionship, PSWs can make their clients’ lives richer and more fulfilling in a number of ways.
Not only that, but PSWs also take responsibility for the safety of their clients. Seniors can be at increased risk of illness, injury or accidents, and trained caregivers must do everything in their power to limit potential risks.
If you’re considering a career in this rewarding field, read on to learn how PSWs can help keep clients safe.
Removing Potential Hazards from a Client’s Living Space
A large part of ensuring the safety of seniors is assessing their living area in order to spot any potential hazards and remove them. For instance, seniors are at increased risk of suffering from falls, which can lead to serious injuries. PSWs should check that all walkways are clear of anything a client might trip over, like electrical cords. Another good tip is to tape down any rugs or mats to the floor to prevent them from moving when walked upon and causing clients to slip.
PSWs dealing with those who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or other cognitive impairments may also need to take additional measures to prevent clients from putting themselves in danger. This might include securing entrances and exits to prevent them from wandering, and keeping medications, cleaning products and other hazardous materials out of sight to guard against poisoning. A personal support worker course like the one offered at KLC College will include specialized training in cognitive and mental health issues to fully prepare you for the challenges of working with these clients.
Safety Aids for Seniors You Can Use After Your PSW Training Program
Depending on a client’s circumstances, it may also be possible to introduce a number of safety aids to their living environment in order to limit potential problems. For example, hand rails could be installed in the bathroom to help clients support themselves when showering or using the toilet.
For clients who live at home, it can also be a good idea to recommend buying kitchen appliances which have an automatic shut-off feature. That way, if a client accidentally leaves an appliance on, it will automatically power down after a few minutes, reducing the risk of fire.
Another very simple safety aid you can recommend for clients is a pill organizer. This is a compartmentalized box that will help them keep track of their medications so that they don’t forget to take their pills or accidentally overdose.
Ensuring a Client’s Safety When They Are Unsupervised
Depending on where you choose to work after your personal support worker college program, there may be times when your clients are left unsupervised. In these situations, it’s important that you take steps to prepare for any emergency situations that may arise when they are left to their own devices.
You should encourage clients to keep a phone nearby at all times, and write down emergency numbers so they can contact someone immediately if an accident occurs. An emergency response system, which is a necklace or wristband the client can wear with a button that can be pressed to call for medical assistance, can also be a potentially lifesaving device.
Above all else, it’s important to communicate with your client and be sure that they are aware of what to do in any emergency situation, and of any precautions they should take when they are alone. Doing this will help them take charge of their own safety, and ultimately allow them to foster a greater sense of independence.
Interested in helping improve the quality of seniors’ lives?
Contact KLC College to learn more about our PSW training program!