Post Graduate Diploma

Personal Support Worker – Program Outline

Program Outline

Semester 1

PSW01 – PSW Foundations

  • This module provides an overview of the Personal Support
    Worker role in a variety of settings. Students will learn the
    principles of client-centered versus client-directed care,
    emphasizing the individuality of the client and his/her
    relationship with family, friends, and others.
  • This module introduces the concept of individuality of all
    persons, their experiences, rights, interests, beliefs, and needs.
    Students will be introduced to the role and scope of
    responsibilities of PSWs, including the variety of settings, work
    relationships, stress and time management, and applicable
    legislation. Consequences of exceeding the scope of the PSW
    role will also be covered.
  • This module will also introduce students to interpersonal skills
    and communications, including conflict resolution and problem

PSW02 – Safety and Mobility

  • This module deals with aspects of safety as they relate to both
    the consumer/client and the worker. One of the fundamental activities of the Personal Support Worker is assisting the consumer/client with routine activities of living. It is essential that
    the PSW provide assistance in a manner that is effective, safe,
    and provides for client comfort. As part of this, the PSW must be
    aware of potential risks posed by unsafe equipment or settings
    and the appropriate actions to take if unsafe situations are
    identified. Infection control methods will be taught, as infections
    can cause distress for both the consumer/client and the worker.
  • This module will also discuss body mechanics as well as
    consistency in transferring, lifting techniques, and the use of
    equipment to increase safety and reduce client anxiety,
    confusion, and dependency. Students will also learn the
    importance of proper positioning in a bed or chair for the
    comfort and safety of the client.

PSW03 – Body Systems

  • This module will introduce the student to the basics of anatomy
    and physiology. Students will gain an understanding of human
    body systems in order to apply that knowledge in their daily
    work as a Personal Support Worker. These body systems are:
    the musculoskeletal, digestive, urinary, integumentary,
    reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and
    endocrine. Common disorders and age-related changes for each
    body system will also be covered.

PSW04 – Assisting with Personal Hygiene

  • PSWs must have the knowledge, skill, and sensitivity to provide
    appropriate assistance to another person, since a significant
    number of clients for whom they provide service have
    disabilities that affect their ability to look after their personal
    hygiene. The Personal Support Worker will assist clients with all
    activities or routines of daily living. These tasks include bathing,
    grooming, mobility considerations, toileting, and skincare.
  • This module will consider caring for the ill, disabled, injured,
    and/or a confused client. Frailness, dignity and levels of
    dependence will be considered. Personal hygiene involves
    personal safety, self-esteem, and dignity considerations.

PSW05 – Abuse and Neglect

  • Family violence is a significant aspect of current society,
    incorporating child abuse, spousal abuse, and elder abuse.
    Research also indicates an increased awareness among support
    workers of abusive behaviour toward clients.
  • This module introduces students to the concepts of family
    violence and abuse, including its possible signs, as well as
    appropriate actions to be taken if abuse is suspected, including
    legal requirements. Personal beliefs and attitudes about family
    violence and abuse are examined, as is the concept of worker
    abuse of the client.
  • Finally, abuse of the worker is discussed. Personal Support
    Workers identify the concept of abuse and are able to recognize
    both causes and indicators. They are able to identify the
    requirements of legislation and to respond in accordance with
    legislation, employer policy, and provisions of the service
    contract or support plan. They recognize that the PSW may also
    be the focus of abuse.

PSW06 – Household Management, Nutrition and Hydration

  • In this module, students will learn to assist the client with their
    nutritional needs, household activities, and household
    management according to client preferences, comfort, and
    safety within employer guidelines as required. Nutritional needs
    include planning balanced nutritious menus, preparing shopping
    lists, shopping, safe handling of food, storage, and specific
    cooking techniques.
  • Special dietary needs of infants, pregnant and nursing mothers,
    persons with specific conditions (diabetes, feeding tubes, etc.),
    as well as persons with specific cultural and religious
    preferences, will be addressed.
  • Students will have the opportunity to practice and demonstrate
    skills in a lab environment.

PSW07 – Care Planning / Restorative Care / Documentation / Working in the Community

  • Support of various types is the main function of the PSW. Yet,
    support is more than providing help— it relies on a number of
    factors, not the least of which are skill and sensitivity. Optimal
    support refers to the ability to provide sufficient support to
    assist clients to do what they wish without inhibiting them.
  • This module builds on the materials presented in the
    introductory module PSW Fundamentals. It identifies the
    support to be provided and the significance of the support to
    the client, and of the need for the support. Supporting the client
    to relearn/regain routine abilities and issues of the rights of the
    client as a receiver of support will be presented. The care plan or
    service contract is the framework within which the worker provides support to the client. The worker must know the purpose of planning, the ways in which planning is done, and the
    persons who are involved, including clients, support workers, caregivers, and professionals.
  • As members of the support team, PSWs will learn about
    implementing parts of the care plan and communicating
    information accurately and without judgment. These activities
    are conducted in accordance with employer guidelines (agency
    or client).
  • Students will also be introduced to working in the community
    health care environment, providing support to patients and
    families in communities, including Individual Homes and
    Retirement Homes, Long Term Care Facilities, Acute Care
    Settings and Acquired Brain Injury Programs.

Semester 2

PSW08 – Assisting the Family, Growth and Development

  • This module builds a foundation for students to understand family characteristics in terms of structure, functions, roles,
    lifestyles, and relationships. The influence of cultural values,
    practices, religious beliefs as well as the effects of illness, stress,
    disability on family relationships will be emphasized as central to
    the PSWs ability to provide effective support.
  • This module also explores the role of the PSW in providing
    respite and assistance to families and their children, including
    those with special needs. Observation of selected commonly
    occurring conditions related to family functioning and life cycle
    events are included.
  • A central focus is on the need for awareness of and sensitivity to
    family reactions to the presence of the PSW, family routines,
    preferences, and involvement in decision-making. Assisting the
    family with specific practical approaches in balancing caregiving
    and rest, skills related to infant and childcare, as well as assisting
    a child with special needs are addressed. The stages of growth and development throughout the life cycle are also discussed.

PSW09 – Assisting the Dying Person

  • In this module, students learn about hospice, palliative and end-
    of-life care, the integration of a palliative approach to care, ways of being, communication and practical strategies to provide
    psychosocial support and physical comfort care for both the
    person and their family.
  • This module addresses provincial palliative care competencies
    (2018-2020) including competencies for caring for First Nation,
    Inuit, Metis and urban Indigenous peoples.

PSW10 – Assisting with Medications

  • The PSW’s ability to assist a client with medication is essential in
    supporting client independence or in supporting a family
    caregiver to attend to tasks or take needed respite. Students
    gain basic knowledge of the drugs used in the treatment of
    common diseases and disorders, including drug classification,
    use, therapeutic effects, side/adverse effects, brand/generic
    names, dosage forms, routes of administration, and directions
    for use of these medications.
  • Students will identify purposes of medication, required
    instruction/information about medications to be administered,
    and cautions with regard to medications.
  • Students will develop and demonstrate skill in reading and
    interpreting information on prescription containers and
    demonstrate assistance with oral/topical medications, as well as
    eye, ear, and nose drops.

  • The importance of observation for both desired and undesired
    outcomes and procedures to be followed in the event of
    concern about or problems with medications will be discussed.
    PSWs are able to provide specific assistance with medications
    (oral, topical, eye, nose or ear drops) to the client, in keeping
    with the directions stated in the client care/support plan, and
    under the direction and monitoring of an appropriate person,
    whether health professional, caregiver, or family member. It is

    understood that this assistance is provided on the basis of case-
    by-case instruction by the appropriate person and cannot be generalized among clients or between support workers.

PSW11 – Cognitive and Mental Health Issues and Brain Injuries

  • Personal Support Workers recognize that behaviours or changes
    in behaviour can be related to illness or other conditions such as cognitive impairment, brain injury, substance abuse or mental
    illness. They use approaches and techniques to assist clients
    with these changes or conditions in keeping with the
    care/support plan and report observations to the appropriate
    team member. They also identify factors that can increase the
    risk of suicide and recognize signs of possible suicidal behaviour.
  • This module introduces students to common psychiatric
    conditions (affective disorders and schizophrenia), substance
    abuse, cognitive impairment, and brain injuries. The possibility
    of multiple conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and
    depression will be discussed. The role of the family caregiver as
    well as the importance of observation, documentation, and
    reporting will be reviewed.

PSW12 – Health Conditions

  • As a result of an ongoing condition, many clients will require the
    assistance of another person in order to accomplish routine
    activities of living. Although PSWs are not expected to make
    functional assessments, they do require an understanding of the
    effects of disability, disease, or condition on functioning in order
    to provide appropriate assistance. As partners in a support or
    care team (along with the client and others), PSWs need to
    understand why, what, when, and how maintenance,
    rehabilitation, and restorative care are used to benefit the client.
    They will likely assist the client in a variety of activities, and must
    be able to interpret and carry out the instructions of clients and
    professionals involved with the client so the client receives the
    maximum benefit from their assistance.
  • This module introduces students to basic concepts of assistance
    as well as the general effects on the person of common
    disabilities, ongoing conditions, and diseases. Focusing on the importance of providing support safely, effectively, and
    comfortably, students will gain skills in necessary techniques.
    Concepts of maintenance, rehabilitation, and restoration are
    discussed, as is the importance of the support team in providing
    assistance. Activities will be discussed that require additional
    training, who is responsible for providing the training, and the
    transferability of these additional skills.

PSW13 – Clinical Placement (Community) – summary only 

  • Clinical placement provides students with an opportunity to
    practice their new skills in a work setting. While on placement,
    students gain experience in a wider range of PSW skills, become
    more self-confident, and in some cases receive offers of
    employment from the placement site.
  • In this module, the students will spend time working in a facility
    setting for 100 hours under the supervision of their instructor
    and under a preceptor provided by the host site for an
    additional 100 hours. The instructor will be available by phone
    and email at all times during the preceptor-supervised portion
    of the placement.
  • Students must meet the hour requirements and have a
    satisfactory rating with no critical deficiencies in all placement
    activities to pass the program.

PSW14 – Clinical Placement (Facility) – summary only

  • Clinical placement provides students with an opportunity to
    practice their new skills in a work setting. While on placement,
    students gain experience in a wider range of PSW skills, become
    more self-confident, and in some cases receive offers of
    employment from the placement site.
  • In this module, the students will spend time working in a
    community setting under the supervision of a preceptor
    provided by the host site. The instructor will be available by
    phone and email at all times during the placement.
  • Students must meet the hour requirements and have a
    satisfactory rating with no critical deficiencies in all placement
    activities to pass the program.

Please note*: The mandatory Community and Facility clinical placements should be completed through the long-term care centres affiliated with NACPT Pharma College.

Personal Support Worker Program NACPT Pharma College

Personal Support Worker

Credential Awarded: Post-secondary Diploma

Duration: 37 Weeks

Program Intakes: 

Intake 1 May 30, 2022
Intake 2 Aug 22, 2022

Kindly Note

Due to COVID-19, all training classes have been moved online (live, interactive, and instructor-led) or onsite until further notice. Hybrid Learning Mode will be used for programs that include hands-on training (theory will be delivered online and hands-on training will be delivered on-site). Students who wish to receive onsite instruction may request the college. Please get in touch with us for more information!

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