What is a Personal Support Worker (PSW)?

A Personal Support Worker assists patients who require care in their homes or in health care facilities. They take care of the day-to-day needs of patients varying from activities of everyday life to light housekeeping and assisting patients to get around.

The Personal Support Worker plays a key role in the lives of many elderly and disabled people’s lives and dedicates themselves to putting the needs of their patients first.

Here is a brief outline of where Personal Support Workers are required as well as the duties they might perform.

Places of Employment

Personal Support Workers can be found in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics and private residents. They can be hired to assist doctors and nurses, as well as to provide assistance for activities of everyday life for families struggling to care for elderly and disabled patients in their own homes.

Duties of the Personal Support Worker

There are many duties a Personal Support Worker may be asked to perform. Duties vary widely often based on the facility or private home in which they are employed. Here are some of the most common responsibilities often performed by the Personal Support Worker employed by a private family:

  • General hygiene such as baths, hair, shaving, make-up and dental care
  • Checking patients for bruises, sores and other surface wounds associated with bed rest
  • Dealing with incontinence issues
  • Assisting with mobility aids and ensuring they are safe and in working order
  • Ensuring patients are taking their medication (not administering medication)
  • Meal preparation and shopping for food
  • Assisting with tensor bandages or orthopedic hose
  • Offering companionship to maintain socialization as well as helping patients avoid boredom
  • Ensuring patients are eating and drinking throughout the day

In a personal care setting in a private home the Personal Support Worker may also be asked to perform “housekeeping” duties. However these duties are in direct relation to the patient’s care such as cleaning up after meals are prepared, laundry for beds and night clothes, keeping the bathroom area clean for hygienic purposes as well as following hygiene care and light housework such as mopping and vacuuming.

Personal Support Workers in a Hospital setting or Long-term care facility provide additional services such as:

  • Assistance to doctors and nurses
  • Assistance with patient transfers
  • Assistance in lifting patients
  • Identifying safety issues for patients
  • Answering call bells

The Personal Support Worker provides the compassionate care patients need with respect and dignity.