Did you know that Canada is currently experiencing a shift in how non-institutional care is viewed? As such, there is actually a new emphasis on this form of care that has, in turn, created an increasing demand for trained Personal Support Workers (PSWs). There is a range of organizations that employ these professionals, including: hospitals, long-term care facilities, nursing homes, community agencies, private duty and homecare, and school systems (where they work with behaviourally and developmentally challenged children). These PSWs have a range of duties they may complete depending on their client, but there are common tasks. According to the Ontario Network for Internationally-trained Professionals, common duties for PSWs include: assisting with all activities of daily living including bathing, toileting, dressing, mobility and feeding; sorting and bagging all soiled linen; making and changing beds; cleaning and tidying resident rooms; supporting client's independence regarding medications; recognizing and reporting changes in a client's behaviour/condition; providing informal counselling, as needed; collaborating and reporting observations to appropriate health care team members in an ongoing, timely manner and documenting this information promptly; and more.

At Centennial College, those who wish to enter this vital field attend the personal support worker course. This offering compresses the curriculum into two semesters worth of courses. The goal is to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide care and assistance to individuals so that they may lead active and fulfilled lives in the community and institutions.

What sets this program apart from other similar programs is not just its length, which ensures speedy entry into the field. Each Personal Support Worker course within the offering has elements of theoretical training as well as practical application and reflects the latest practices and policies in the field. For example, faculty members who are experienced, caring and supportive provide small group instruction in clinical and laboratory setting.

The offering's curriculum focuses on the full range of home and health related services required by the elderly, clients with disabilities, chronic illnesses, cognitive impairment as well as clients recovering from acute illnesses. Specific courses within this offering include: Foundations of Personal Support, Personal Support Communication, Developmental Stages & Alterations in Health, PSW Skills Laboratory, Foundations of Mental Health, Supporting Clients in Palliative Care and more.

Students have the opportunity to test their knowledge and expand their professional network during their final semester of study. This is achieved through an intensive 15-week field placement. During this time, students get extensive practical experience working with teams in hospitals long-term care institutions and in the community.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, as well as community agencies and clinical settings recognize the certificate that students obtain once they successfully complete their training.