Today is Personal Support Worker (PSW) Day. If you don’t know what they do, check out their website here.  I see PSWs working every day at long term care facilities and retirement homes. They feed the residents, bathe them, look after them and provide reassurance when the residents feel lonely, lost or sad. They know exactly what may trigger an individual to have an outburst, or see, at first hand, when someone may be declining.

They do what most mothers would do to their toddlers, clean up their mess, pick up their poos and dress them so they don’t get cold… except they are not as cute or little anymore. Yes, it’s not pretty work. They look after residents with dementia when families can no longer cope or look after them.

It’s hard work that doesn’t get paid a lot. When I see a very good personal support worker, it melts my heart because he or she does the work not just for money but out of pure heart to help another individual.  Sometimes we forget how much hard work they put in for the residents. Sometimes we forget how draining their jobs can be. Sometimes we forget how much they have to deal with, with such limited resources.

They deserve respect BIG TIME.  Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with a group of personal support workers about antipsychotics, to educate them on the role of antipsychotics in managing dementia and behaviours. Even though I was supposed to be teaching them, I turned it into a group discussion where everyone was able to contribute. I learned a lot from them. They had some great ideas to share.  They are a group of workers who have to deal with residents with the most difficult behaviours.  They are a big part of the healthcare team. We should include them more, listen to them more and recognize their contribution to quality care.

Happy Personal Support Worker day. Hope you all recognize how much we need you on our team!

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