2021 News

Investing in Personal Support Workers now, and for our future, with the Future Skills Grant

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By VHA
PSW and her client, back view

VHA Home HealthCare (VHA) is part of a network of health care providers working to protect personal support workers (PSWs) against health crises, advocate for them, and provide resources to support their line of work.

The network, which includes The Institute for Education Research (TIER) at UHN, the Centre for Ambulatory Care Education (CACE) at Women’s College Hospital, Unity Health Toronto, The Rekai Centres and the Centre for Interprofessional Education, the Michener School of Continuing Education along with VHA, has been granted $183,000 from the Future Skills Centre. The funding is set to be used for a one-year project to expand the CACE’s Home care Curriculum, which uses science-based principles to expose home care workers to realistic scenarios in their work. The aim of the project is to incorporate content in infection prevention and control, wellness and resilience, and COVID-19 protocols in home care.

The current online resource was developed by an interprofessional team of academic and health care professionals, and the reach goes beyond PSWs. It can be used to inform other health care professions, such as occupational therapists, physical therapists, and physicians on the work that is done in a home-based setting. In the long run, this project strives to foster change and increase the awareness of the challenges that PSWs face on a daily basis.

“PSWs play an essential role in our health care system and their care has been essential for making sure people can stay safe at home during the pandemic,” says Kelley Myers, Vice President, Human Resources and Organizational Development at VHA. “This expansion to CACE’s Home care Curriculum will be very beneficial to help PSWs manage their own safety and well-being as well as that of the clients and families they care for.

“VHA is pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with our partners to develop this important curriculum for PSWs working in home care,” added Dr. Sandra McKay, Director of Research at VHA. “Educational resources for PSWs are limited, particularly those providing guidance that addresses our current situation, so we hope this will be valuable and help PSWs stay safe while they continue to provide essential care.”