Personal support workers (PSWs) are a critical component of Canada’s healthcare system, especially when caring for our rapidly growing aging population. As demand increases for home care and long-term care services in 2023, a skilled and sufficient supply of PSWs will be vital.
PSWs provide hands-on care and assistance to patients and seniors with medical needs and daily activities. Their day-to-day responsibilities include:
- Assisting with mobility and transfers
- Bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting
- Meal preparation and feeding
- Memory care and companionship
- Medication reminders
- Light housekeeping and errands
- Transporting clients to appointments
With more limited mobility, chronic conditions, and the desire to age at home, Canada’s seniors rely heavily on PSW services. Over the next decade, the number of Canadian seniors is projected to increase by 68% as baby boomers continue to enter their 80s and 90s.
This will place unprecedented demand on PSWs.
However, the PSW workforce faces challenges with high turnover, part-time positions, minimal benefits, low wages, and a high risk of injury. The pandemic further exacerbated these issues. Without efforts to improve training, working conditions, and career advancement opportunities, PSW shortages could significantly impact patient care quality and access.
Potential solutions for strengthening this critical workforce include:
- Enhanced education standards and qualifications
- Increased full-time job opportunities
- Financial incentives like wage increases and benefits
- Professional development and specialization
- Workplace safety initiatives like safe patient handling
- Public awareness campaigns highlighting the value of PSWs
As Canada’s population ages, personal support workers will be vital for maintaining seniors’ health, dignity, and quality of life. Investing in these frontline healthcare workers is an investment in the well-being of our communities.
To learn more about the PSW check out our program.
- Government of Canada, Job Bank. (2022). Personal support worker job profile. https://www.jobbank.gc.ca/marketreport/profiles/4412/ca
- Statistics Canada. (2020). Population projections for Canada, provinces and territories. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/91-520-x/91-520-x2019001-eng.htm
- Sherman, R.O. (2014). Leading innovation in Personal Support Worker practice: A case study. Nursing Leadership, 27(3), 26-38. https://doi.org/10.12927/cjnl.2014.24057