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3 Qualities Necessary to Become a Personal Support Worker

personal support worker college program

Last year, the Ontario Personal Support Workers Association told the Ottawa Citizen that there was a shortage of personal support workers (PSWs) in Ontario. In fact, other organizations have also noted an increasing need for people to fill this role. Whether in a care facility, within a community organization, or doing at-home work, PSWs are an integral part of the healthcare system.

PSW jobs are difficult but rewarding. They involve working with a large variety of people with all kinds of needs, daily routines, and challenges. Two of the most important things for a PSW to have are training and qualifications, but there are also qualities that are necessary to cultivate if you are working toward a career as a PSW.

1. Flexible in the Face of Changes and Challenges

When you become a personal support worker you will not be able to predict all the situations that you might face each day. Also, the support needed and the care you will provide will differ from client-to-client. A client with dementia, for example, will have very different needs from a client who has mobility issues. What is required of you might even change depending on a client’s mood and the kind of day they are having. The best way to prepare for this is to embrace flexibility and be ready for whatever challenges you might face.

2. Patience With Clients and Yourself

As you may encounter in your clinical placement during your personal support worker college program, some clients face extremely difficult circumstances. They may be injured or have long-term conditions that make their need for a PSW permanent. It is critical to have patience, which will show that you are sensitive to a client’s needs. For example, they may have a condition which causes memory loss and you must be able to kindly remind them of whatever it is they are forgetting without causing any undue stress.

Some clients will require more patience than others, but all deserve it

Some clients will require more patience than others, but all deserve it

You may also be called upon to help a client physically move around. While this requires strength, it also requires patience. If this is a frustrating activity for a client, your patience will help keep them calm and likely have a positive effect. This may be difficult, which is why patience with yourself will be important, too, as you learn and grow.

3. Compassion: An Unofficial Requirement for Those in PSW Classes

This quality is foundational. Without compassion it may be difficult to maintain any of the other qualities you need to succeed as a PSW. The desire to help people and care for those in need may be one of the reasons why you chose to enter this field in the first place.

Working as a PSW is an incredibly rewarding experience

Working as a PSW is an incredibly rewarding experience

A PSW must be conscious of clients’ feelings and want to validate them through care. Compassion shows a client you have respect for them and their situation. It is also a quality you’ll need to offer towards client families as well as co-workers, who may also feel stressed. Your compassion will instil genuine trust in you and your work. Beyond that, your capacity to be aware of what others are feeling will make patience, flexibility, motivation, and collaboration easier to maintain.

Do you want to enroll in PSW classes?

Learn more about the programs available at KLC!

Professionally Validate Feelings when you Become a Personal Support Worker

personal support worker coursePersonal support workers care for individuals, assisting them with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) such as washing, dressing, and eating. They’re a positive, supportive presence and are respectful of space, privacy, and feelings. Working with people in their everyday routines means interacting with them during different emotional states. When you support someone who is feeling frustrated, exhausted, angry, or sad, it’s important to make them feel comfortable sharing that with you. Both negative and positive feelings can be validated by you and help your clients feel even more supported. Read on to learn some of the ways you can do this in a professional way.

What if you Become a Personal Support Worker and Don’t Validate Feelings?

If clients feel invalidated, they may start to feel misunderstood, isolated, or unimportant. They may also feel that their emotions are a burden to you. When working with someone new, a client might feel anxious, as you are someone they are not used to and you’re helping them with very personal things. When you make it clear that it’s ok to express discomfort, it can have a diffusing effect on stress and anxiety. When you become a personal support worker, you can see this in practice as you will need to establish trust as a priority with clients.

Daniel Wegner’s theory of “ironic processes” tells us that the more we try to suppress thoughts, the more present they become in our minds. In the same way, if a client feels they should not have certain negative emotions, they will be harder to avoid. By letting clients be honest with you, they are able to process their feelings.

Stay Present in your work after a PSW Training Program

Sitting with difficult feelings or negative emotions is not easy, so many people will multitask or half-listen when other people express these things. As a supportive person in a client’s life, you can give them the validation they may need by accepting their words and not avoiding tough messages. Listening with your full attention can make a world of difference to a person you are supporting.

Sometimes people worry about saying the right thing when supporting – but in your work, you don’t always need to respond. Paying total attention to your clients in a non-judgemental manner offers them safety. Simply being physically present when someone is experiencing pain or frustration with ADLs can make them feel seen and validated in their experience.

Staying present with clients will help you build a trusting, positive relationship

Staying present with clients will help you build a trusting, positive relationship

Use the Information you have about Clients to Understand Them

As you may know from a PSW training program, you could assist people in your career who have barriers due to aging, ability, or illness. From what you know about their personal barriers, you can often gain insight into why they may react or feel certain ways. For example, if a client is frustrated while putting on a shirt in a new way, you may want to validate their frustration by saying something like, “Given that this is a new technique for something you’ve been doing all your life, I completely understand why it would be frustrating.”

New ways to do ADLs can be frustrating at first for clients. Validating this can make them feel seen

New ways to do ADLs can be frustrating at first for clients. Validating this can make them feel seen

This normalizes the way they feel and lets them know there is nothing wrong with their emotions. Normalizing their feelings by acknowledging that other people would be upset in the same situation can also be very validating. Instead of feeling like they need to hide frustration, they can be reminded that it’s a normal human reaction to something that almost anyone would find difficult.

Are you interested in taking a personal support worker course?

Contact KLC College for more information!

What is Restorative Care? A Guide for Students Considering a PSW Training Program

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Training to become a personal support worker can prepare you for a career in a number of different care settings. One type of care that you can play a role in providing is restorative care, which is offered at many hospitals as well as at some long-term care facilities.

Restorative care is a part of the rehabilitation process that focuses on helping patients regain independence to the fullest extent possible and improve their quality of life. Given that PSWs play an important role in restorative care, here’s a quick look at what you should know about it if you want to be a PSW.

Restorative Care is for Patients Who Are No Longer Suited to Acute Care

Restorative care is typically for patients who no longer need intensive rehabilitation or acute care, such as those who have suffered a stroke or traumatic injury. After acute care, restorative care is usually considered a next step of the patient’s rehabilitation. Restorative care helps patients to rebuild their strength and functional abilities at a pace that is manageable for them.

Unlike acute care, which may focus on minimizing illness or injury, restorative care focuses on helping patients regain a sense of wellness. While it is often performed at special facilities within hospitals, it may also be incorporated into long-term care homes as a way of helping residents attain their highest personal level of independence.

The goal of rehabilitative care is to help patients live as independently as possible

The goal of rehabilitative care is to help patients live as independently as possible

You Can Be Part of a Patient’s Restorative Care Team After PSW Training

Unlike intensive rehabilitation, restorative care is a slower phase in the client’s recovery. Fewer hours are spent on therapy sessions, for example, with the goal instead being on more long-term goals. Some days there may be no rehabilitation work at all, with patients undergoing therapy only a limited number of times a week. Restorative care tends to take longer than intensive rehabilitation or acute care does, but it is also less stressful for the client, allows them to build a tolerance for new tasks and activities, and helps them feel more in control of their recovery.

Restorative care helps patients rehabilitate at a slower, more comfortable pace

Restorative care helps patients rehabilitate at a slower, more comfortable pace

During restorative care, the rehabilitation program is created by the therapist and implemented by a team of professionals. When you become a personal support worker, you can be a part of that team, which may also include nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, physicians, speech language pathologists, dietitians, and social workers.

Restorative Care Benefits Both Patients and the Healthcare System

Restorative care has a number of benefits. For one, it is a more appropriate type of care for some patients who no longer require acute care, but who may still need a level of assistance that makes living at home impractical. While every patient’s restorative care is different, your PSW training program can prepare you for helping with some types of assistance that may be needed, such as nutrition and hydration, assisting with personal hygiene, and assisting with medications.

Furthermore, without restorative care, patients may end up staying in a bed in acute care long after they need it. Acute care is usually not set up to provide the long-term, slower paced type of rehabilitation that some patients need. By transferring the patient to restorative care, acute care beds are then freed up for patients who do need them, thus easing the burden on the entire healthcare system.

Do you want to become a Personal Support Worker?

Contact KLC College to learn more about our personal support worker college program.

Using the Gentle Persuasive Approach When You Become a Personal Support Worker

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Advances in medical technology and treatment means that more Canadians are able to live longer and enjoy a higher standard of care than in the past. While this progress is certainly good news, it also means that more Canadians will need caregivers who have the right training and qualifications to help them enjoy their golden years to the fullest extent possible.

The Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) is a unique, person-centred curriculum that was created in order to help personal support workers (PSWs) provide more effective care for clients affected by dementia or delirium. GPA explores and addresses the underlying behaviours influenced by dementia, as well as how to proactively respond to and manage these behaviours.

If you’re interested in becoming a personal support worker, read on to find out how GPA can help you in your future career!

A Person-Centred Model of Care Is Growing Among Personal Support Workers

There have been a few noticeable innovations arising in healthcare in recent years, including what’s known as a person or patient-centred model of care. This is an approach that emphasizes the personhood of each client, and takes their individual needs into account when planning and managing their care.

Person-centred care is at the heart of the Gentle Persuasive Approach because it helps PSWs better understand the individual motivations that influence the behaviour of each client. This can be useful when you have a client living with dementia, which manifests differently between each person and may necessitate more personalized care that fits specific needs, schedules, and preferences. In fact, this approach is so useful that more than 300,000 Canadians to date have enriched their caregiving skills with GPA training.

A Gentle Persuasive Approach Can Improve Positive Behaviour Management

Providing a supportive environment is important when you become a personal support worker because your client has just as much of a right to respect, safety, and comfort as anyone else. This can be complicated, however, when a client is living with dementia, because this disease often involves unpredictable or sudden changes in behaviour.

Students at KLC can use their training to create a supportive environment for their clients

Students at KLC can use their training to create a supportive environment for their clients

GPA emphasizes the idea that each behavioural display has meaning behind it, and a majority of these can simply come from unmet needs. Describing behaviour as ‘aggressive’ or ‘challenging’ is unfair to the client, whose behaviour can often stem from complications of their disease. Their disease means they may not be able to fully access the standard methods of expressing their wants or needs, which can lead to frustrated or upset behaviour.

A Gentle Persuasive Approach promotes positive behavioural management techniques such as validation, collaboration, celebration, and accommodation, which encourages your clients to redirect their attention to positive aspects rather than negative ones.

Compassion Is Important When You Become a Personal Support Worker

GPA is featured in a personal support worker course because it emphasizes compassionate care. Although it may seem obvious, compassion can actually go a long way in your PSW career, including improving your work and your client’s quality of life.

Compassion can help PSWs better connect with and understand their clients

Compassion can help PSWs better connect with and understand their clients

Compassion begins with understanding that the person is separate from the disease that affects them; having compassion for your clients means that you are able to sympathize with them, and want to help them in the best way possible. GPA teaches PSWs to ask themselves compassionate questions before they respond to client behaviour, such as whether or not the client may be hungry, tired, or thirsty, and are simply having trouble expressing it. The compassionate answer may in fact be the simplest one—a meal, a nap, a drink of water—and this kind of consideration can help relieve your client’s discomfort before it escalates into problem behaviour.

Do you want to find a PSW private college that can prepare you for a career in caregiving?

Contact KLC College for more information about our programs.

Appetite Stimulation: What You Need to Know if You Want to Become a Personal Support Worker

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Practising good nutrition can be difficult at any age, especially if appetite is compromised. Appetite is our body’s gateway to healthy living and nourishment, but it has a complex relationship with our bodies—it can be stimulated by our central nervous system to regulate our energy levels, and even by exterior factors such as our surroundings or meal schedules.

Our sense of appetite can change as we grow older, but maintaining proper nutrition is always important to help guard our personal well-being. For personal support workers (PSWs), good nutrition is a key component of making sure clients are healthy and happy, but a low or nonexistent appetite can sometimes make this goal seem like an uphill battle.

If you’re interested in becoming a PSW, read on to find out what you should know about stimulating your clients’ appetites.

PSWs Know that Loss of Appetite Is Common with Senior Clients

Our appetites are influenced by a complicated combination of factors inside—and out—of our bodies. As we age, our taste buds can dull, and food can begin to seem bland and unappetizing. Our appetites, like with our sense of taste, are similarly linked to our ability to smell and see; an impairment of these senses means our bodies can no longer access the same visual or olfactory cues to stimulate our appetite.

PSWs should watch out for the side effects of their clients’ medication

PSWs should watch out for the side effects of their clients’ medication

Medication also plays an important role in appetite. One of the most common side effects when taking medication—as well as a common issue for many seniors in general—is dehydration. Dehydration can lead to a decrease in appetite, sometimes simply because a client’s body is less sensitive to feelings of thirst. Medication can also lead to dry mouth and reduced saliva production, which can make chewing or swallowing difficult, so it’s always a good idea to make sure clients are properly hydrated.

These Simple Solutions Can Help PSWs Boost Their Clients’ Appetites

PSW classes introduce you to important concepts like nutrition, which help keep your clients healthy. Serving balanced, nutritional meals on a regular schedule establishes a consistent routine, which can help adjust your client’s body and mind to a set period of eating or drinking. You can also encourage healthy snacking throughout the day to keep their metabolic systems active between meals.

Students at KLC can help improve their clients’ appetites

Students at KLC can help improve their clients’ appetites

Retirement, reduced mobility, and health complications can mean a client may feel isolated or depressed, and view mealtimes as a chore rather than something to enjoy. If possible, try to suggest that your clients eat meals with others, which can make it a more social activity and give clients something to look forward to every day.

Think Outside the (Lunch) Box When You Become a Personal Support Worker

Sometimes when you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options, it’s best to get creative.

If your client has trouble swallowing or chewing, try to include blended drinks or smoothies in their menu. If they feel that mealtimes aren’t special, break out the nice tablecloths or make a meal you know they enjoy. It may be frustrating to work with a client who doesn’t have a strong appetite, but sometimes going the extra mile when you become a personal support worker can show them that someone cares, which encourages them to make an effort.

Some seniors may feel that they don’t have much control over what or when they eat. If possible, try to involve them or a loved one in their menu-planning, or ask them to help out if you need a hand in the kitchen—even something as simple as setting the table can make them feel more empowered and personally involved in the process, and thus more invested in their meals.

Are you interested in learning more about starting your career as a PSW?

Contact KLC College for more information about our personal support worker college program.

Ready to Start a New Career? 4 Reasons to Enrol in Our Personal Support Worker Course

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If you’ve already decided that becoming a Personal Support Worker (PSW) is the right career choice for you, you now have another big decision to make: which PSW program should you choose to pursue your studies?

Selecting a program that provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in the role is crucial, however, you may also want to consider a school that offers career support after graduation. A quick search online will tell you there’s no shortage of PSW programs available, so how do ensure you make the right decision?

Not all PSW programs are created equal and KLC College’s stands above the rest for a number of reasons, including our hands-on education, small class sizes, and career services.

To assist you during your search, here are a few reasons to consider PSW training at KLC College.

1. KLC’s PSW Program is by the National Association of Career Colleges

Our PSW program is by the National Association of Career Colleges (NACC), which means you can rest assured that our program meets requirements set by the NACC. The NACC is Canada’s largest organization representing private career colleges and counts 500 regulated career colleges as members. Their program confirms that a college has adhered to high-quality standards. Since our PSW program is by the NACC, you will have peace of mind knowing that you’ll receive an industry-recognized education.

2. Enjoy Small Class Sizes and Flexibility at KLC College

Our students get the personalized support they need in order to be job-ready as a PSW. You’ll benefit from small class sizes led by dedicated instructors. Limiting the sizes of our classes is ideal as it prevents students from feeling “lost in the crowd.” Instead, you’ll be able to easily ask your instructor for any clarification with the course material, and you’ll get individualized help as needed.

Furthermore, because our personal support worker courses are held during the evening, our program is a great option if you have other commitments and responsibilities during the day, such as work and family obligations.

3. We’ll Help You Land Your First Job after Your PSW Training Program

Our Career Directions Program prepares students to find work soon after graduating from their program. A dedicated advisor will work with you to identify your career goals and uncover the steps you need to take to achieve them.

You’ll also receive job readiness training, interview tips, resume writing help, and job search assistance as part of your PSW program. Developing these skills will help you market yourself as a strong candidate to employers when job hunting. In fact, over 94% of PSW graduates at our main Kingston campus find employment in their field of study within six months of graduation.

The Career Directions Program at KLC College will help you succeed during your job search

The Career Directions Program at KLC College will help you succeed during your job searchBeautiful Asian businesswoman smiling and shaking hands

4. Our PSW Training Program Includes Hands-On Experience in a Clinical Placement

Hands-on training is valuable for two reasons: it is often the best way to learn the skills that PSWs need to exceed on the job, and it provides you with work experience that employers seek in job applicants. Our PSW training program features a clinical placement that you’ll complete on weekends.

You could be placed in a range of settings, including a healthcare facility, community agency, acute care facility, or perhaps another healthcare setting. You’ll work under the supervision of your instructor and a host-provided preceptor learning and applying skills that PSWs use every day. The clinical placement will help you become job-ready and in some cases and could even lead to a job offer.

Our PSW program includes a clinical placement where you’ll get real-world experience

Our PSW program includes a clinical placement where you’ll get real-world experience

Do you want to become a personal support worker?

Contact KLC College today to learn more about our programs!

How to Plan Meals for Elderly Clients When You Become a Personal Support Worker

personal support worker college program

personal support worker college program

Personal Support Workers (PSWs) working in home-based care perform a broad range of services to help their elderly clients continue to live comfortable, healthy and fulfilling lives in their own homes. In addition to assisting them with their medications, mobility issues, household management and hygiene, PSWs often take an important role in planning and preparing meals for their clients, ensuring that their diets are varied, balanced and nutritious.
Elderly individuals sometimes have very particular requirements and restrictions when it comes to what they eat, however, and it’s important for PSWs working in home care to be aware of the issues that might affect an elderly client’s dietary needs.

If you’re interested in training to become a personal support worker, or if you’re currently enrolled in a PSW program, here’s a quick guide to healthy meal-planning for elderly clients.

Understand the Many Factors that Can Affect Seniors’ Dietary Needs

There are a number of potential complications and challenges that have to be taken into account when planning and preparing meals for elderly clients. Decreased sensitivity, for example, is a common issue among older individuals, as our senses of smell and taste weaken over time, which can in turn cause a decrease in appetite. Dental health can be another complication, as missing teeth, jaw pain or mouth sores could affect a client’s ability to comfortably consume certain types of food. The medications that elderly patients take can also have an impact on their diet, as some medications might alter the taste of certain foods, cause nausea or reduce appetite. In any case, it’s important to consult with clients before preparing a meal-plan, so that you can take into account any factors like these that might have an impact on their dietary needs or tastes.

Make Sure Elderly Clients Stay Well Hydrated

Our bodies use thirst as a signal that we need to consume more water. With elderly individuals, however, the mechanisms responsible for this signal often begin to weaken. This means that older clients are at a heightened risk of dehydration. In order to keep elderly clients hydrated, encourage them to drink small amounts of water regularly throughout the day.

Make sure that elderly clients drink plenty of water throughout the day

Make sure that elderly clients drink plenty of water throughout the day

Add Extra Ingredients to Meals to Pack them with Nutrients

One way of ensuring that elderly clients are meeting their nutritional requirements after completing your personal support worker course is to pack extra nutrients into meals wherever possible. This might include, for example, blending cauliflower and mixing it with macaroni and cheese, adding flax oil to nutritional shakes or mixing nuts and seeds into yogurts, pancakes or salads. By adding healthy ingredients this way, PSWs can find creative ways to make meals that appeal to a client’s tastes, while also targeting their specific nutritional needs.

Plan Meals in Advance When You Become a Personal Support Worker

When you become a personal support worker and are responsible for an elderly client’s diet, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure that their meals are varied and that they’re receiving all of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients they need to stay healthy. Over the course of their daily and weekly meals, PSWs should ensure that elderly clients are receiving plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, fiber and vitamins C and D through a variety of sources. One good way to achieve this is to regularly rotate through main dishes and different protein options like fish, chicken, lentils and beans.

Plan meals ahead to ensure that elderly clients get variety in their diet

Plan meals ahead to ensure that elderly clients get variety in their diet

Are you interested in pursuing a career as a personal support worker?

Contact KLC College for more information about our Personal Support Worker college program.

How a PSW Training Program Will Prepare You For A Rewarding Healthcare Career

become a personal support workerInvesting in a career as a personal support worker (PSW) can offer up a host of rich and rewarding experiences for compassionate people looking to give back to seniors. Getting trained in a PSW program is just the first step in gaining the necessary skills and expertise to make sure that the care you provide to your clients is always professional and benefits their well-being.

Choosing a career as a PSW also opens up the possibility of working in a variety of different environments alongside a diverse group of healthcare professionals. Continue reading to learn more about how PSW courses can prepare you for a wonderful healthcare career.

Qualified PSWs Enjoy Excellent Job Prospects

One of the greatest advantages of choosing a career as a PSW is job security. There will always be seniors in need of your unique caregiving skills throughout Canada, making it easy to find great opportunities.

PSWs are always in-demand

PSWs are always in-demand

Some PSW training programs, like those offered at KLC College, also provide students with practical hands-on training through clinical placements. This means that you could be placed into an actual work environment where you can practice the skills you’ve acquired during your studies, and learn some new ones!

These placements are an excellent way to build your resume and make it easier to find employment once you graduate. They are also great for networking with other healthcare professionals, who may be able to alert you of new opportunities.

PSW Training Programs Get You Ready for a Career with a Lot of Flexibility

Professional PSWs work in a variety of different environments, including long-term care facilities, palliative care, and hospitals, as well as caring for clients in their homes. As a result, PSWs enjoy a great deal of work flexibility, often choosing their own hours and working in the care settings they enjoy.

Each healthcare environment comes with its own set of perks and challenges, but a personal support worker course could help you learn how to contend with those challenges effectively. PSW programs that offer clinical placements can also give students the chance to experience these healthcare settings firsthand. For instance, at KLC, students can gain experience working in acute care facilities, for community agencies, and in a variety of other settings.

Some PSW Courses Can Offer Additional Certificates to Give You a Career Advantage

Another way healthcare colleges give students an advantage during their career is by offering additional certificates concerning certain care approaches and techniques. These certificates look great on your resume and can be an important asset for many care facilities and homecare agencies.

KLC College incorporates a wide selection of certificates into its program for aspiring PSWs, including First Aid and CPR training, which will give you the confidence and knowledge to intervene with clients in emergency situations. Students may also earn a Mealtime Assistance Certificate, which helps to train PSWs on how to best assist clients with their meals. At the end of the course, students are given an opportunity to earn certification by taking the National Association of Career Colleges exam that is recognized across Canada.

PSWs enjoy rewarding healthcare careers

PSWs enjoy rewarding healthcare careers

Are you ready to become a personal support worker?

Contact KLC College for more details!