Celebrating PSW Day 2022

Celebrating Personal Support Worker Day at VHA

Every year on May 19th, Personal Support Worker Day is a chance to acknowledge and celebrate the significant contribution personal support workers (PSWs) and home support workers (HSWs) make to Ontario’s health care system. PSWs and HSWs play a critical role in supporting disability, health and age-related needs in various health care settings, and as the average age of Ontarians continues to rise, PSWs and HSWs are needed more than ever before. Personal Support Worker Day is an important way to help recognize the value of this work and to say thank you for all that PSWs and HSWs do.

At VHA Home HealthCare (VHA), our personal support teams help clients live more comfortably, safely and independently at home. PSWs provide personal care services including bathing, dressing, grooming, and medication management and both PSWs and HSWs help with meal preparation, household duties, companionship and respite care for overwhelmed caregivers.

We are so proud of our personal support staff and their commitment to the highest quality of care. To help us celebrate Personal Support Worker Day, a few VHA support workers shared what they love about their profession, how they have navigated the last couple of years and what they wish everyone knew about their career.

 

PSW Alma Pineda

Alma Pineda, PSW
What do you love about being a support worker in the community?
I love my job and really feel like it’s my calling. Working in the community means that I can give one-on-one care and my clients have more of a say in the care that they receive. That’s really important to me. Moving from one home to the next in my car also means that I get a chance to breathe, reset and recharge to give my all to the next client.

What has it felt like to be an essential care provider during the pandemic and to play such a vital role in the lives of clients and families?
Most people can agree who the real heroes of the pandemic are—frontline workers. It’s been scary and stressful as well as physically and emotionally difficult. There has been a lot of loss but also a lot of strength.

What is something you want people to know about personal support workers?
Most of the clients and families I work with know how important PSWs are to their daily lives, but other people still have no idea. We make our clients happier, healthier and more comfortable and I truly think that PSWs are angels.

 

PSW Christine Froude

Christine Froude, PSW

What do you love about being a support worker in the community?
I love being a PSW because I know how important it is for clients to stay in their homes. Clients tend to be more hopeful when they receive care at home. I also like the relationships that I form with my clients and their families.

What has it felt like to be an essential care provider during the pandemic and to play such an important role in the lives of clients and families?
This pandemic has brought a lot of unknowns for me and I wasn’t sure at first if I would stay on the job. My mother, a long-term-care nurse, inspired me when she stepped up and volunteered to administer vaccines and COVID testing for staff and residents in her care. She showed me what it means to be an essential worker during a crisis.

What is something you want people to know about personal support workers?
I truly feel that PSWs are one of the most important healthcare workers. We are the ‘observers’ on the front lines. The ones who see our clients most regularly, recognize if something is off and can report it. This keeps clients out of the hospital or long-term care and in their homes where they want to be. We passionately advocate for client’s needs, keep them comfortable, safe and socially engaged and this has a big impact on their overall health.

 

PSW Kaila Jonsen

Kaila Jonsen, PSW

What do you love about being a support worker in the community?
I take deep pride in my career as a personal support worker. There are significant daily reminders of my impact as I watch clients remain dignified and independent in their safest place–at home. I love perfecting my bedside manner to every clients’ individual needs and personalities while also learning about their culture, history or religion.

What has it felt like to be an essential care provider during the pandemic and to play such an important role in the lives of clients and families?
Being an essential care provider during the COVID-19 pandemic meant experiencing a variety of feelings including a lot of fear and anxiety. Overwhelmingly though, I have felt gratitude for the responsibility and trust my clients and their families have given to me at such a difficult time and that’s been really motivating. It’s rewarding to know that a client can go from being a stranger who reluctantly accepts that they need help, to someone who not only wants and looks forward to your visits, but is genuinely concerned for your wellbeing.

What is something you want people to know about personal support workers?
I’d like for people to know that personal support workers are brave, creative, flexible, observant and resilient. We need the support of our communities to appreciate these qualities in ourselves and to continue to grow and develop our specialized skills.

 

PSW Bola Okanlawon

Omobolanle ‘Bola’ Okanlawon, PSW

What do you love about being a support worker in the community?
Being a PSW is my life passion. I love helping people each and every day that I go to work.

What has it felt like to be an essential care provider during the pandemic and to play such an important role in the lives of clients and families?
It has not been an easy to be a single, working mom during a pandemic, but my community needs me. I love being a helping hand during a hard time.

What is something you want people to know about personal support workers?
I want people to know that personal support work is unique and important. It’s not just about helping clients with their daily needs but supporting their entire health and wellbeing.

 

Happy Personal Support Worker Day from all of us at VHA Home HealthCare. We recognize and appreciate your contributions and commitment to our clients and families today and every day.