In the Canadian healthcare system, personal support workers (PSWs) are critical in providing people with the care and support they need in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, and homes. Understanding the socio-demographic variations among PSWs across various care sectors is essential for optimizing the delivery of healthcare services and addressing potential inequities because PSWs are critical members of the healthcare workforce.
The Role of Personal Support Workers in Canada
Let’s briefly explain the function of personal support workers in Canada before getting into the socio-demographic variations. PSWs are licensed healthcare professionals that help patients with daily tasks like dressing, bathing, moving around, and managing medications. Additionally, they offer companionship and emotional support to their clients, improving their general well-being. PSWs are an essential part of the healthcare team, collaborating with nurses, doctors, and other experts to provide complete treatment.
Care Sectors in Canada
In Canada, there are three primary care sectors where personal support workers are employed:
Long-Term Care Facilities: PSWs are essential in long-term care facilities, where they help and support elderly people who need ongoing care due to chronic illnesses or conditions brought on by aging.
Hospitals: PSWs are also employed in hospitals, where they help patients with a variety of tasks like mobility, nutrition, and cleanliness during their stay.
Home Care: PSWs who work in the home care industry offer crucial services to people who would rather receive care in the convenience of their own homes. They support independence while assisting with everyday routines and medical duties.
Socio-Demographic Differences Among Personal Support Workers
Age and Experience: In different care sectors, PSWs may have varying ages and degrees of experience. We might discover more experienced PSWs with a wealth of knowledge working with senior folks in long-term care institutions. In contrast, healthcare facilities like hospitals and nursing homes may employ a mix of senior and junior PSWs.
Education: Depending on the care sector, PSWs’ educational backgrounds can vary. While some PSWs might have obtained on-the-job training without formal credentials, others might have finished formal training programs or certificates.
Gender Distribution: Historically, women have held a predominance in the caregiving profession. Even though the gender split is rapidly shifting, more female PSWs are still most likely to be found in all care-related industries.
Cultural Diversity: The PSW workforce in Canada reflects the country’s well-known cultural diversity. Urban regions may have a higher concentration of PSWs from different cultural backgrounds, which supports a healthcare system that is inclusive of all cultures.
Working conditions and employment benefits: Depending on the type of care industry, PSWs may receive different working conditions and employment benefits. PSWs may choose to work in particular industries based on variables such as shift schedules, wage rates, and chances for professional progression.
Job Satisfaction: Job satisfaction varies among PSWs depending on the care industry they work in. Others might like the lively environments of hospitals or home care settings. Some people could find more fulfillment in long-term care, where they can forge close bonds with residents.
Personal Support Workers (PSWs) in Canada vary significantly by care sector across several socio-demographic parameters, including gender, health, family, and education features, according to a study by Zagrodney et al. (2022).
Gender: Compared to PSWs working in hospitals (77.4%) or long-term care (LTC) homes (75.6%), HC PSWs were more likely to be female (83.8%).
Health: In comparison to LTC (16.8%) or hospital-based PSWs (13.5%), HC PSWs were more likely to have a disability (23.2%). The percentage of people with disabilities who reported difficulty switching employment was highest among HC PSWs (48.3%), followed by LTC (39.0%), and hospital (37.8%).
Family: HC PSWs had a higher single rate (44.3%) than LTC or hospital-based PSWs (38.3% or 36.3%, respectively). Additionally, they were more likely than LTC PSWs (37.4%) or hospital-based PSWs (35.5%) to be parents of children under the age of 18 (43.0%).
Education: University degrees were less common among HC PSWs (18.8%) than LTC (26.8%) or hospital-based PSWs (31.3%).
The study also discovered that PSWs’ job characteristics, such as hours worked, overtime, and paid sick leave, varied significantly by the care industry. Part-time employment was more common among HC PSWs (53.4%) than among LTC (44.5%) or hospital-based PSWs (41.1%). Additionally, they had a higher rate of overtime work (33.3%) than LTC PSWs (27.1%) or PSWs employed in hospitals (24.6%). However, HC PSWs were less likely than LTC or hospital-based PSWs to have access to paid sick leave (72.0% vs. 82.3%).
The results of this study emphasize the value of sector-specific activities for recruitment and retention. For instance, HC PSWs could require greater assistance concerning accommodations for disabilities and the availability of paid sick leave. The study also contends that the effects of PSW retirement will differ by industry, with HC PSWs being the most likely to do so in the upcoming years. This indicates that it is critical to begin making plans as soon as possible for how to close the HC workforce shortage.
Personal Support Worker Socio-Demographic Differences Across Care Sectors in Canada.