Personal Support Worker

  • Program TitlePersonal Support Worker
    Credential: Diploma
    Delivery: Online
    Program Length: 3 Semesters (One year)
    Program Availability: Full time or Part time
    Offered: This program is available starting every Monday.

    Program Description


    The Personal Support Worker (PSW) program prepares graduates to provide supportive care to individuals across the lifespan including clients experiencing cognitive impairment, physical disability and mental health challenges, by assisting them with their activities of daily living. Graduates may find entry-level employment in a variety of care settings including community, retirement homes, long-term care homes and hospitals.

    Learning Outcomes


    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Provide client-centered 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 are/service plan.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Use identified approaches and best practices to support positive and safe behaviour in clients experiencing cognitive impairment, mental health challenges and/or responsive behaviours.

    Your Career


    Personal support workers are unregulated health professionals who provide long- or short-term care. They act as companions, preventing loneliness and bringing positivity to the lives of others; as well as personal aides by assisting people with their day-to-day activities.

    New personal support workers and those who are employed in care centres, usually work under the supervision of nurses or other healthcare professionals. Policies, legislation, and the condition of clients or residents determine just how much personal support workers can do on their own.

    Personal support workers perform a wide range of duties, including: physical care (such as personal hygiene, dressing, and mobility); home management (such as laundry, shopping, and cleaning); taking care of children; and arranging social outings and recreational activities. In everything personal support workers do, they aim to preserve the dignity, independence, privacy, and desires of the people they care for.

  • Admission Requirements


    College Eligibility

    • Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent; OR
    • Academic and Career Entrance (ACE) Certificate; OR
    • General Educational Development (GED); OR
    • Mature Student status (19 years of age or older and without a high school diploma at the start of the program).

    Other Requirements

    Students must be in good physical and mental condition and meet the same physical and immunization requirements as those for the staff employed by the agency/facility where the practicum is taking place

    Complete immunization record including immunization against Hepatitis B.

    Valid Standard First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)-C for Health Care Provider (HCP) certificates

    Police Record Check: Students in programs or occupations involving direct contact with vulnerable persons are required to undergo a police record check, vulnerable sector screen. The police record check may have to be renewed every three to six months thereafter.

  • Courses


    Semester 1
    Report Writing
    CPR and First Aid (adult, child and infant)
    Study Skills Strategies
    Individuality of the Person
    Role of the Personal Support Worker
    Interpersonal Skills

    Semester 2
    Safety
    Assisting Persons with Mobility
    Abuse
    Household Management and Meal Preparation
    Providing Optimal Support/Care Planning
    Assisting a Person with Personal Hygiene
    Assisting the Family

    Semester 3
    Cognitive Impairment and Mental Health Issues
    Assisting a Person to Manage Ongoing Conditions
    Assisting a Person with Medication
    Assisting the Person Who is Dying
    Essentials in Hospice & Palliative Care
    Field Placement: Practicum in Nursing or Long Term Care Facility

  • Course Descriptions


    Semester 1
    Report Writing (2 hours)
    In this course students will learn four stages of report writing, and nine tips for effective writing that will help them create materials that are engaging, understandable, and most important, get read. In addition, students will learn about using persuasive language to write effective proposals.

    CPR and First Aid (adult, child and infant) (2 hours)
    This online CPR (adult, child, and infant) and First aid certification is for the healthcare provider. If you are currently certified with Red Cross, AHA, National Safety Council, ASHI or Medic First Aid, you are welcome to utilize the course and receive a new, two-year FirstAid Advanced certificate.

    Study Skills Strategies (14 hours)
    This course will enable students to assess their current study skills and plan for improvement. Students will practice time-management techniques for successful studying. Students will learn to develop powerful reading skills and practice memory techniques to enhance ability to learn and improve test performance. This course will also help students to develop specific study skills for mathematics and related subjects and implement an action plan to improve them.

    Individuality of the Person (15 hours)
    This course introduces students to the concept of individuality of all persons, their experiences, rights, interests and needs. Participants will be given the opportunity to identify and examine their own beliefs, values and attitudes about aging, disability, independence and interdependence. The course encourages students to assume the consumers / clients wishes to be involved, unless there are specific indications that s/he does not. The concepts introduced in this course are expressed throughout all courses, which follow. The intent of this course is to introduce, rather than provide extensive opportunity to apply concepts.

    Role of the Personal Support Worker (18 hours)
    In this course students will be introduced to the role and scope of practice of workers providing support to consumers / clients and families in individual homes and long term care facilities. The variety of settings, work relationships, levels of supervision, the need to adapt to variety settings as well as, time and stress management will be covered. Legislation related to the worker, the work setting and consumer / client rights will be discussed. Finally the student must recognize that they cannot be all things to all people and the consumer / client must not be exposed to unsafe practice. This course clearly outlines the scope of the personal support worker including consequences for exceeding that scope. Participants will be introduced to the regulated Health Professions Act. The steps to taken when the worker has concerns in these areas will be discussed.

    Interpersonal Skills (22 hours)
    This course introduces students to the more importance of communication and interpersonal skills essential to establishing and maintaining effective relationships with consumers/clients. The components of messages, the ways in which they are given, and factors affecting communications are discussed. Problem solving and conflict resolution skills will be presented. Participants will be provided with opportunity to practice these skills. Use of written materials, including documentation, will be covered.

    Semester 2
    Safety (9 hours)
    This course deals with aspects of safety as they relate to both the client and the worker. One of the fundamentals activities of the PSW is assisting the client with routine activities of living. It is essential that the PSW provide assistance in a manner, which is effective, safe and provides for the client’s comfort. As part of this, the PSW must be aware of potential risks posed by unsafe equipment or setting and the appropriate actions to take if unsafe situations are identified. Infection control methods will be taught as infections can cause distress for both the client and the worker.

    Assisting Persons with Mobility (18 hours)
    The PSW practices good body mechanics in many aspects of the work he/ she performs to ensure safety and comfort for her/himself and the client. It is recognized that workers in this field are at risk for developing back injuries from improper use of body mechanics. Consistency in transferring, lifting techniques and the use of equipment increases safety and reduces client anxiety, confusion and dependency. This course also discusses promoting proper positioning in a bed or chair for the comfort and safety of the client. PWS’s have the appropriate knowledge, skill and attitude to assist the client with routine activities of living. They recognize the importance of providing assistance, which supports the client’s sense of self-determination and well-being in such that the client feels well served by their actions.

    Abuse (9 hours)
    This course introduces students to the concepts of family violence and abuse, including its possible signs, as well as appropriate actions to be taken including legal requirements if abuse is suspected. Personal beliefs and attitudes about family violence and abuse are examined, as is the concept of worker abuse of the client. Finally, abuse of the worker is discussed. Personal Support Workers identify the concepts of abuse and are able to recognize both causes and indicators. They are able to identify the requirements of legislation and respond in accordance with legislation, employer policy and provisions of the service contract or support plan. They recognize That PSW’s and Home Makers may also be the focus of abuse.

    Household Management and Meal Preparation (18 hours)
    In this course students will learn to assist the clients with their nutritional needs, household activities and household management according to client preferences, comfort and safety, with employer guidelines as required. Nutritional needs include planning nutritious menus, preparing shopping lists, shopping, and safe handling of food, storage and specific cooking techniques. Special dietary needs of infants, pregnant and nursing mothers, persons with specific cultural and religious preferences will be addressed. Students will have the opportunity to practice and demonstrate skills in a lab environment.

    Providing Optimal Support/Care Planning (28 hours)
    This course builds on the materials presented in the introductory course “Interpersonal Skills”. It identifies the support to be provided and the significance of the support and of the need for the support to the client. Supporting the client to relearn/regain routine abilities and issues of the rights of the client as receiver of support will be presented.

    Assisting a Person with Personal Hygiene (18 hours)
    The PSW is required to have knowledge, skills and sensitivity to provide appropriate assistance to another person, since a significant number of clients for whom the PSW provides service, have disabilities that affect their ability to look after their personal hygiene. Sufficient knowledge about structure, function, aging changes and common conditions of the skin is covered in this course to enable the PSW to understand why specific personal hygiene methods are recommended. The necessity of a positive attitude and sound interpersonal skills when working with clients experiencing a disability is discussed. The importance of supporting the clients control over their own personal hygiene to the extent possible / desired is also covered, as is the need to respect the client’s rights to make choices as to how they wish assistance to be given. Throughout the course, sensitivity and respect for the client’s dignity and privacy while providing assistance is stressed.

    Assisting the Family (18 hours)
    This course assists students to understand the characteristics of today’s families in terms of structure, functions, roles, lifestyles and relationships. An understanding of the influence of cultural values, practices, religious beliefs as well as the effects of illness stress disability on family relationships will be emphasized as central to the PSW’S ability to provide effective support.

    Semester 3
    Cognitive Impairment and Mental Health Issues (35 hours)
    This course will introduce the student to common psychiatric conditions (effective disorders and schizophrenia), substance abuse and cognitive impairment. The possibility of multiple conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression will be discussed. The role of the family caregiver will be reviewed.

    Assisting a Person to Manage Ongoing Conditions (33 hours)
    This course introduces the student to basic concepts of assistance as well as the general effects on the person of common disabilities, ongoing conditions and diseases. Focusing on the importance of providing support safely, effectively and comfortable, the student has the opportunity to gain skill in necessary techniques. Concepts of maintenance, rehabilitation and restoration are discussed, as is the importance of the support team in providing assistance. Activities which require additional training, who is responsible for providing the training and transferability of these additional skills will be discussed.

    Assisting a Person with Medication (12 hours)
    Students will identify: purpose of medication, required instruction/information about medications to be administered, and cautions with regard to medications. Students will develop and demonstrate skill in reading and interpreting information on prescriptions containers, and demonstrate assistance with oral/topical medications as well as eye, ear and nose drops. The importance of observations for both desired and undesired outcomes will be described. Finally, procedures to be followed in the event of concern about or problems with medications will be discussed.

    Assisting the Person Who is Dying (22 hours)
    This course allows students to discuss the concept of dying as part of life and the possible impact of life-threatening illness on the person and their family. They will also have the opportunity to examine personal beliefs about life-threatening illness, dying and the provision of support to the dying person, her/his family and friends. Assisting the dying person to maintain a desired lifestyle and respecting her/his right to make decisions with regard to support are also discussed. Specific approaches within the scope of the support worker to reduce discomfort or pain (within the context of a plan of support of care) are covered. Care of the person at the time of death, care of the body after death, as well as any procedures which must be followed are discussed. Finally students will have the opportunity to examine personal reactions to the death of a client and to learn and demonstrate ways in which they may assist grieving family members.

    Essentials in Hospice & Palliative Care (8 hours)
    Students will develop supportive strategies for both patients and family. This course is designed to enhance students understanding of the nature of grief. Students will strengthen communication skills and avoid common roadblocks.

    Field Placement: Practicum in Nursing or Long Term Care Facility (175 hours)
    Designed to provide an opportunity to apply classroom theory and practical exercises to a supportive supervised work environment. On the job shadowing will prepare the students for the workforce and will enhance in the development of qualitative professional competency. Field placement practicum / clinical is completed in a host community setting. Supervised practicum takes place in an institutional setting.

  • Fees & Expenses


    Tuition fees listed are in effect for the 2015-2016 academic year.

    • Application Fee: $100.00
    • Textbooks: $975.00
    • Postal Fee: $49.00
    • Tuition Fee: $3,825.00

    Total Tuition & Fees: $4949.00