Since October 2017, long-term care (LTC) homes across Ontario have participated in the Personal Support Worker (PSW) Education Fund for LTC. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has worked with the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) to coordinate continuing education and training for PSWs through the delivery of Excellence in Resident-Centred Care (ERCC). The ERCC program is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College. Élisabeth Bruyère Residence (ÉBR) is one of the homes benefitting. The Ontario CLRI recently visited one of the training workshops at ÉBR. It was evident why the ERCC training is important for this small home in downtown Ottawa.
Who is at the centre of attention?
PSWs who work in LTC spend most of their time caring for and interacting with residents. Many residents and their families depend on PSWs to provide necessary assistance with daily activities. This results in a lot of one-on-one time and strong caring relationships. Since PSWs work on the front line and impact the lives of so many residents, they need support. Part of this support is providing best practice-based resources and learning opportunities they can use to continue fine-tuning their skills.
ERCC promotes best practices in senior’s care environments. The program aims to help teams achieve better care and better outcomes. These goals are achieved using a person-centred, train-the-trainer approach to advance practice development.
ÉBR is running several workshops this winter. “These workshops have been a really big eye opener for everyone involved. Sometimes it’s easy to forget to look at situations through a resident’s eyes. The exercises and activities give the PSWs a chance to experience what challenges residents may experience daily,” explains Suzanne Doré. Suzanne is one of the PSW-trainers at ÉBR. “The workshops provide refreshers to remind PSWs of what’s most important in this field – the residents.”
Laying the groundwork, two PSWs from ÉBR participated in an ERCC train-the-trainer workshop in December. As reported at the time, the train-the-trainer workshop brought Conestoga faculty, affectionately known as “super-trainers,” to Ottawa. The super-trainers shared dynamic facilitation skills and tools, all aimed to reinforce teamwork. ÉBR sent PSW team members who were recognised by their peers as champions and role models for resident-centred care.
Advancing practice change at ÉBR
ÉBR’s PSW-trainers returned to their homes empowered by the train-the-trainer workshops. They were eager to share their knowledge with their fellow PSWs with whom they work every day.
Following this, in early 2018, the ÉBR PSW-trainers ran several in-house ERCC workshops for groups of PSWs. Using a module-based approach, the workshops cover a variety of topics essential for PSWs: person-centred care, oral and skin integrity, continence, nutrition and hydration, working with others, end-of-life care, observational assessment, and more. Each module delves into relevant principles, the importance, factors to consider, techniques, and strategies for optimization of care delivery.
“At ÉBR, we’re training 36 PSWs to provide these excellent levels of care to residents. That number is just across one LTC home. This is a great initiative, and I’m excited to see how it will enhance the quality of care provided in LTC homes across the province,” reflects Suzanne on the ERCC experience.
Recognising the important role PSWs play in LTC teams, in 2017, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care launched the PSW Education Fund for LTC. The goal of the Fund is to help develop and enhance the PSW workforce in LTC to deliver high-quality and safe care that meets resident needs. The Fund supports LTC homes to train a critical mass of PSWs in elements of resident-centred care and to sustain ongoing learning that will continue to benefit residents. To make the training possible, the Ministry worked with the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care to deliver “Excellence in Resident-Centred Care” (ERCC), in partnership with Conestoga College.