Personal Support Worker
- Ontario College Certificate
- College Code:
- Health & Life Sciences
- Program Code:
- Accelerated Delivery:
- DO, GU, WA
- Academic Year:
- 2017 / 2018
About the ProgramAs a member of an interprofessional health-care team, a Personal Support Worker (PSW) provides supportive person-centered care across the lifespan to individuals and families, at various levels of health and wellbeing, in a variety of care environments including: long-term, community and/or hospital care settings. Conestoga's PSW program prepares students to become preferred graduates for the profession; one that truly makes a difference in the lives of others.
Students will progress from beginning engagement to an entry-to-practice prepared professional PSW; one who participates in the delivery of care as directed by the plan of care/service plan with activities of daily living, comprising personal care, home management and nutrition and family responsibilities. Throughout the program, students learn how to promote a comfortable and safe environment for all clients including those experiencing responsive behaviours, risk for injury and/or clients requiring end-of-life care. Provincially recognized certificates related to these areas of learning will be received.
Experiential learning, which is central to Conestoga's program, is integrated throughout to support student application of knowledge, skills and judgment. Students have the opportunity to study in the state-of-the art, technology-enhanced Cowan Health Sciences Centre (Doon - Kitchener) or in one of two Living Classrooms (Guelph - Riverside Glen and Waterloo - Schlegel Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging).
The Living Classroom is an innovative curriculum delivery model, combining classroom and real-life experiences for students to build increased knowledge and confidence working with older clients and care teams obtained by immediate integration of learning in long-term care and retirement living environments.
Program InformationLength: One-year Ontario College Certificate program (also available part-time)
Doon (Kitchener) - September/2017 - Fall | Winter
Doon (Kitchener) - January/2018 - Winter | Spring/Summer
Guelph - September/2017 - Fall | Winter
Guelph - January/2018 - Winter | Spring/Summer
Waterloo - September/2017 - Fall | Winter
Doon (Kitchener), Guelph (Schlegel Village - Riverside Glen, Guelph), and Waterloo (Schlegel Village of University Gates, Waterloo)
Start: September and January
First-Year Capacity: 72 (Doon - Sept), 36 (Guelph - Sept), 48 (Waterloo - Sept), 48 (Doon - Jan), 24 (Guelph - Jan),
- Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD), or equivalent, or 19 years of age or older with mature student status (See Mature Student definition for details.)
- Grade 12 compulsory English, C or U, or equivalent, OR Conestoga College Preparatory Communications (COMM1270)
- For more information on preparatory programs, visit Academic Upgrading
Note re: Admission Requirements
- Applicants are strongly advised to ensure that they have a clear Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS) if considering this program. Access to clinical placements requires a clear VSS, and students will not be allowed to complete the program without successful completion of practicum placements.
- An academic strength is calculated by averaging the submitted marks of required subjects. If more than one mark is received for a required subject, the highest mark will be used in the calculation.
- Ten (10) additional marks are added for each Advanced Level, OAC, U, U/C, and post-secondary course used in the calculation of academic strength.
- A sound English background is important for success in this program and is considered during the admissions selection process. Minimum cutoffs may apply.
- Mandatory practicum health and safety requirements must be completed by students prior to student field/clinical placements (these are required on day one to attend Living Classroom programs at University Gates or Riverside Glen). Successful placement completion is required for students to progress to program completion. To qualify for field/clinical placement learning experiences, students must present the following at the start of the program in accordance with pre-admission information provided by the College:
- A complete immunization record including MMR, Tdap, Varicella, and Hepatitis B. Seasonal flu vaccination is required during flu season (October - March).
- TB Testing: Evidence of current 2-step or previous 2-step + current 1-step if more than one year has passed since 2-step testing.
- Standard First Aid and CPR - HCP level
- An annual Police Check for Vulnerable Sector Screening (VSS). Police Checks must be clear of any unpardoned criminal offences. An unclear criminal record may result in the inability to participate in field placement/clinical which will jeopardize progress in the program. Acceptance for placement is at the discretion of the agency; some agencies may request students to provide a VSS completed within six months of placement start date. Students with criminal records are advised to meet with the program chair for academic counselling to determine program suitability.
- Travel within the program: Students are responsible for arranging their own travel to and from learning settings external to the College and for covering any costs incurred.
- Applicants are advised that accessibility to a car is required for clinical placements in the home-care setting.
- Applicants must have a strong desire to work with older adults and/or clients with disabilities and/or long-term health problems.
- Applicants are advised that good oral and written communication skills are essential for the program.
- Applicants are advised that a latex-free environment in the College or clinical setting is not guaranteed.
- Attendance in classroom skills lab and clinical experiences is essential.
Tuition & Fees
Tuition fee details for the 2017-2018 year are listed below. Books and supplies are additional.
Financial AssistanceThe Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) is a needs-based program designed to help Ontario students cover the cost of post-secondary education. Funded by the federal and provincial governments, OSAP is intended to promote equality of opportunity for post-secondary studies through direct financial assistance for educational costs and living expenses. These interest-free loans are intended to supplement your financial resources and those of your family. The majority of students apply for loan assistance via the OSAP website. Students can also print the application booklet through the OSAP website.
For more information, please visit Financial Services/Awards.
Graduate OpportunitiesPersonal support workers contribute to the quality of life of individuals by promoting their independence and dignity; social, emotional and physical needs; mobility; personal appearance; comfort and safety. Graduates understand the roles, responsibilities and limitations of the personal support worker and work as a member of the health-care team, communicating effectively, and observing and reporting changes in clients' conditions.
On average, 93% of graduates from the last three years (2013 to 2015) found employment within six months of graduation.
For more details on related occupations, job market information and career opportunities, see the Government of Canada website: https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/home
Pathways & Credit TransferConestoga pathways enable students to build on their academic achievements in order to earn a degree or additional credential. Pathways are formed through agreements between Conestoga programs or partner institutions.
Often applicants have earned credits from another college or university that may allow a student to be granted advanced standing or exemption. Learn more about credit transfer opportunities at Conestoga.
Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR)Conestoga recognizes prior learning of skills, knowledge or competencies that have been acquired through employment, formal and informal education, non-formal learning or other life experiences. Prior learning must be measurable at the required academic level and meet Conestoga standards of achievement for current courses. Challenge exams and portfolio development are the primary methods of assessment. Other methods of assessment may be available depending upon the nature of the course objectives. Successful completion of the assessment results in an official course credit that will be recorded on the student's Conestoga transcript. PLAR cannot be used by registered Conestoga students for the clearance of academic deficiencies, to improve grades or to obtain admission into a program.
Learn more about PLAR.
|Course Code||Course Title and Description|
|COMM1085||College Reading & Writing Skills
Description: This course focuses on the reading, writing and critical thinking skills needed for academic and workplace success. Students will analyse, summarize, and discuss a variety of readings and apply the steps of planning, writing, and revising in response to written prompts. This course prepares students for post-secondary writing tasks, research, and documentation.
|OHS1320||Safety in the Workplace
Description: This course focuses on developing awareness and skills for the student to safely manage and conduct him or herself within a variety of employment settings. Through the nine units of the course, participants will have the opportunity to enhance their understanding and knowledge of General Health and Safety guidelines, including WHMIS, Fire Safety and Workplace Violence. The unit on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act will instruct the student on the requirements for Accessible Customer Service and Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulations. General information on Safe Driving, Privacy of Information and Hand Washing will be addressed as well. The course also provides participants with critical information regarding their insurance coverage (WSIB or other) while employed. As well as guidelines to follow in the event of an injury. Participants will receive a printable Record of Completion upon successful conclusion of this course, in order to demonstrate awareness of safe working practices to their employers.
|PSW1020||Supportive Care Theory I
Description: This course intentionally introduces the PSW student to concepts and principles of supportive person-centred care including age-related changes and the development of relevant knowledge, attitudes, skills and judgment including evidence informed practice, to assist residents/patient/clients across the lifespan with personal care and routine activities of daily living. Nutrition will be discussed, incorporating assisting residents/patient/clients to eat who are at a high risk for choking. Infection control, safety, body mechanics, oxygen therapy and ostomy care will be examined. The student will continue to develop an understanding of interprofessionalism related to the role of the PSW and the health care team while providing supportive care. Related processes that influence supportive care are incorporated from Structure and Function of the Body for Resident Centered Care.
|PSW1030||Supportive Care Practice I
Description: This course allows the learner to apply the knowledge from Supportive Care Theory I to the development and practice of the skills needed by the Personal Support Worker (PSW). Students will be given experiential learning opportunities to practice application of the skills required to assist the resident/ patient/clients with personal care and the routine activities of daily living. The student will be provided opportunities to practice and demonstrate a resident centered approach, professionalism, accountability, safety, critical thinking, and communication skills while providing clients with skin care, positioning, mobility, and assisting with high risk eating. Infection control, body mechanics, and safety techniques will be applied throughout the experience. Students will be accountable for tracking achievement of learning outcomes and will be evaluated on their demonstration of practice application.
|PSW1050||Structure and Function of the Body for Resident Centered Care
Description: This course introduces the PSW student to the normal structures and functions of the human body. The body systems, medical terminology and abbreviations, and age-related changes will be covered which provide the student with the foundation for understanding and describing the physiology behind the common diseases, disorders and conditions that will be explored in Supportive Care and Resident Centered Care.
|PSW1060||Resident Centered Care
Description: This course introduces the PSW student to the principles of person-centered care, health promotion, rehabilitation and restorative care with a focus on the PSW's role in supporting family members and care partners and assisting clients who are experiencing alterations in functioning. Mental health care needs such as delirium, depression and dementia will be examined. Structure and function of the body related to alteration in functioning are integrated throughout the course. Related communication skills and how to maintain a supportive relationship with families, clients, and the interprofessional team using a resident centered care approach are addressed.
|PSW1100||Professional Practice I
Description: This course introduces the PSW student to the foundational concept of being a professional including the role, responsibilities, accountability and scope of practice of the PSW as a member of the interprofessional team working in community, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings. This course presents strategies for being a successful college student. Relevant workplace legislation and the importance of following established policies and procedures, ethical principles and professional boundaries in a variety of health care settings will be discussed. The student will be introduced to the roles of the interprofessional health care team with a focus on collaboration using a professional approach to provide supportive person-centered care across the lifespan. Current issues and trends in the health care delivery system and their impact on the PSW role will be examined. A focus on communication and interpersonal skills, including observing, reporting, documenting and transferring accountability essential to establishing and maintaining effective helping relationships with interprofessional team members, clients and family members will be discussed. Topics of neglect and abuse and appropriate responses for the PSW will be explored. Problem solving, critical thinking, and reflection will be incorporated as themes throughout the course.
|PSW1620||Supportive Care Theory II
Description: This course continues to expand on the concepts and principles of supportive person-centered care including the development of relevant knowledge, attitudes, skills and judgment using evidence informed practice required in the PSW role to assist with medications, taking and recording vital signs, child care, enteral nutrition, as well as intravenous care, catheters and specimen collection. The student will be introduced to the community setting and the principles of home management and safety. The importance of the interprofessional team in relation to supporting the client will be discussed. Related processes that influence supportive care are incorporated from Structure and Function of the Body for Resident Centered Care.
|PSW1630||Supportive Care Practice II
Description: This course allows the learner to apply the knowledge from Supportive Care Theory II to the development and practice of the skills needed by the Personal Support Worker (PSW). Students will be given experiential learning opportunities to practice application of the skills required to assist the resident/patient/client with medications, taking and recording vital signs, enteral nutrition, catheter care, intravenous care, and specimen collection. The student will be provided opportunities to practice and demonstrate a resident centered approach, professionalism, accountability, safety, critical thinking, and communication skills while providing client care. Infection control, body mechanics, and safety practices will continue to be applied throughout the experience. Students will be accountable for tracking achievement of learning outcomes and will be evaluated on their demonstration of practice application.
Description: This course prepares the PSW student to provide culturally relevant palliative and end of life care to support clients, families, and significant others. Concepts of loss and grief, nonpharmacological comfort measures, and the rights of the client, family and significant other in decision making related to palliation will be explored. The PSW role related to the process of dying and preparation for death will be discussed with an emphasis on observation, reporting and use of identified communication tools.
|PSW1650||Resident Centered Care II
Description: This course will deepen the student's knowledge of person-centered care for the client with complex care needs. Concepts from Structure and Function of the Body related to understanding these needs are incorporated. The student will expand on the role of the PSW as it relates to supporting family members and assisting clients using the principles of person-centered care. Themes to be discussed include developmental, neurological, cardiovascular, mental health disorders and communicable diseases.
|PSW1660||Professional Practice II
Description: This course deepens the awareness of the role of the PSW within the interprofessional team working in community, long-term care homes and/or hospital care settings. Concepts will be explored including leadership, mentoring, delegation, and the concept of caregiver burnout. Observation skills, current assessment instruments and documentation methods used to provide quality care will be further developed. Evidence-informed practices to support positive and safe behavior for clients experiencing responsive behaviours will be applied. Opportunities to apply knowledge of and commitment to continuous quality improvement, including the responsibility of ongoing and continuing professional development, will be given.
|PSW1675||Professional Care Practice, Community and Long Term Care
Description: This course provides the learner with opportunities to apply their knowledge and skills acquired throughout the program to a practical health care setting experience. The student will apply a resident centered approach, professionalism, accountability, safety, critical thinking, and communication skills while providing client care in the health care setting. The students will participate as a member of the interprofessional team to deepen their understanding of the PSW role in providing client centered care.
Description: This course will provide the PSW student with a preceptored pregraduate consolidation experience in a long-term care facility to facilitate the transition of the student from an emerging professional to a proficient professional. The student will apply and integrate knowledge, behaviour and strategies gained in previous learning experiences. The student will participate as a member of the interprofessional team under the guidance of a preceptor.
- Work within the PSW role in a variety of care settings including: long-term, community and/or hospital care settings in accordance with applicable legislation and employer's role and job description, policies, procedures and guidelines.
- Practice professional work ethics and demonstrate professional behaviours in interactions with clients, families, care partners, supervisors, and interprofessional team members in a variety of care settings.
- Act responsibly and be accountable for one's own actions while recognizing the boundaries of knowledge and skills within the PSW role that necessitates using problem solving, time management, stress management and critical thinking skills and strategies and requires collaboration with the client, family, care partners, supervisor and/or other members.
- Participate as a member of the interprofessional care team and maintain collaborative working relationships, accept and integrate constructive feedback, and use effective and appropriate communication and relationship skills to provide supportive client-centered care in a variety of care settings.
- Provide client-centered and client-directed care that promotes independence and is based on ethical principles, sensitive to diverse client and family values, beliefs and needs and which follows the direction of the interprofessional care team.
- Assist clients across the lifespan with routine activities of daily living supporting clients' rights and preferences and applying knowledge and skills of growth and development, evidence informed practice, common alterations in functioning, health and wellness promotion or maintenance, risk prevention and reduction, rehabilitation and restorative care.
- Assist clients with medication and treatments in keeping with the plan of care/service plan and under the direction and/or monitoring of a regulated health professional or most accountable person and in accordance with relevant legislation and employer policy.
- 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 the client, family and care partners as well as the safety of the PSW and the safe use of household equipment.
- Assist family and care partners who are caring for dependent individuals, considering clients' and family choices, the direction of the plan of care/service plan, and the PSW's professional boundaries.
- Assist in the provision of client-centered, culturally relevant, palliative and end of life care to clients, their families and care partners including observing, reporting, documenting and transferring accountability in accordance with the plan of care/service plan.
- Observe, report and document relevant client information using the appropriate mode of verbal or written communication and written or electronic documentation in a timely manner and in accordance with the required employer policies and procedures and applicable legislation.
- Understand how to establish and maintain helping and professional relationships with clients, their families and care partners and support systems which reflect open communication, advocacy, professional boundaries, employer's policies and adherence to confidentiality and privacy legislation.
- Promote and maintain a safe and comfortable environment for clients, their families, and care partners, self and others including recognition of environmental and personal safety risks, the implementation of infection prevention and control measures, and emergency first aid procedures that are in keeping with the plan of care/service plan and employers' policies and procedures.
- Identify and report situations of neglect and potential, alleged or witnessed/actual incidents of abuse of clients, family, care partners, and/or PSWs and respond in accordance with all applicable legislation and employer policies and procedures.
- Use identified approaches and evidence-informed practices while providing client centered care to support clients experiencing mental health illness, cognitive impairment and/or responsive behaviours.
- Apply knowledge of and commitment to continuous quality improvement and change initiatives, including the responsibility of ongoing and continuing professional development.
Program Related Resources
Program Advisory CommitteesThe College appoints Program Advisory Committee members for diploma, degree, certificate and apprenticeship programs. Committees are composed of employers, practitioners and recent program graduates. College representatives (students, faculty, and administrators) are resource persons. Each committee advises the Board on the development of new programs, the monitoring of existing programs and community acceptance of programs.
For a list of the current members, please visit our Program Advisory Committees.
Apply NowDomestic students should apply online at www.ontariocolleges.ca or by phone at 1-888-892-2228.
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Detailed steps on the application process may help you to apply.
International students should apply online using the Conestoga College International Application Portal. Please note: not all programs are open to international students. Interested students should check the listing of open programs on our international students web page before applying.
The College reserves the right to alter information including requirements and fees and to cancel at any time a program, course, or program major or option; to change the location and/or term in which a program or course is offered; to change the program curriculum as necessary to meet current competencies in the job market or for budgetary reasons; or to withdraw an offer of admission both prior to and after its acceptance by an applicant or student because of insufficient applications or registrations, over-acceptance of offers of admission, budgetary constraints, or for other such reasons. In the event the College exercises such a right, the College’s sole liability will be the return of monies paid by the applicant or student to the College.
Students actively registered in cohort delivered programs who take longer than the designed program length of time to complete their studies are accountable for completing any new or additional courses that may result due to changes in the program of study. Unless otherwise stated, students registered in non-cohort delivered programs must complete the program of study within seven years of being admitted to the program.