Miranda Ferrier started her career as a Personal Support Worker, and now works for PSW regulations and rights as president of OPSWA.
Please tell us about yourself, your educational background and how you got involved with Personal Support Workers advocacy.
I graduated from Mohawk College in 2006 as a Personal Support Worker, I entered the field immediately in Homecare and Long term Care. Once I was in the field It didn’t take me long to realize that PSW’s had no voice and no support so I started a Facebook group in 2006 called Personal Support Workers unite – within one week we had over 700 members and that is how PSW Canada was born. PSW Canada (Now known as the Canadian Support Workers Association) was an online forum and support for PSW’s in across Canada. Since 2010, we have grown to over 33,500 PSW’s in Ontario and been featured on CBC Marketplace, CTV W5 and other news outlets in Ontario.
What are some of the top issues and challenges a personal support worker addresses during their daily patient routines? i.e., falls, incontinence, dressing….
A PSW faces many different issues in relation to their everyday work. Their work may include showering, dressing, feeding, mobility, oral care and so much more. The PSW takes care of their client’s whole being. Issues may arise from an aggressive resident or client, fall risks occur daily and rapid decline in health are some of the daily issues. In relation to their work, the PSW may be required to travel from home to home with no time for lunch or breaks for themselves, only being given a very short window to provide the care to the vulnerable person. In Long Term Care, the PSW may be required to care for as many as 15 residents with varying degrees of physical or mental issues on one shift. The work is hard and not just anyone can be a PSW. It takes a truly special person to do this work.
How does adaptive clothing help patients and caregivers?
Adaptive Clothing gives confidence to the patients because they take pride in how they look and feel. Adaptive clothing helps caregivers by offering the same benefits to patients through preventative rather than reactive precepts. Adaptive clothing worn regularly may reduce the impact of repetitive physical activities and duties associated with daily care.
Why are staffing issues more prevalent in long-term care homes?
The staffing issue is not just locked into Long Term Care, the staffing is across the board with not one more than the other.
What should families know about adaptive clothing?
Families need to be made aware of the range and benefits of adaptive clothing because it provides ease, support, comfort, safety and increased mobility.
How can educational institutions better prepare PSW’s for fieldwork?
Educational institutions can prepare future PSW’s for fieldwork by inviting experienced professionals come into the classroom to describe real life working situations and how to deal with them. They can also prepare students by making them aware of certain associations such as their national professional association.