This page provides an overview of the PSW role in long-term care based on the information given to us by PSWs in the field and the sources outlined below. The role of a PSW may vary based on the long-term home and region. For a more comprehensive picture of this role, visit the PSW association information links below. This page is part of our Careers in Long-Term Care Initiative.
What does a personal support worker do?
A personal support worker (PSW) gives direct care to residents living in long-term care. A PSW helps residents with physical needs such as personal care (bathing, dressing, etc.), as well as getting around the home.
PSWs add to the quality of life of residents and give emotional support and friendship. PSWs are an important part of a resident’s health-care team because they know their residents well and can report any behaviour or clinical changes.
Various clips used in this video were filmed before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Infection control practices (such as wearing a mask) may be shown.
What skills will I use?
- Interpersonal communication
- Active listening
- Teamwork and collaboration
How do I become a PSW?
You need a PSW certificate to work as a PSW in Ontario. You can gain a certificate through on-the-job training or a formal college program. Formal programs take six months to one year and give both in-class teaching and practical experience.
For more information on pursuing a career as a PSW see the workforlife site, or visit OntarioColleges.ca for a list of Ontario colleges offering PSW programs.
The Accelerated PSW Training Program is a tuition-free opportunity for 6,000 new students and is expected to take only six months to complete, rather than the typical eight months. After three months of coursework, and experiential learning in a clinical setting, students will complete the final three months in paid onsite training in a long-term care home or in a home and community care environment. Registration for the program will be available through the Ontario College Application Service and is expected to open in early March.
- Resident Support Aide
- Nurse (RPN, RN, NP)
Connect to PSW associations
Ontario PSW Association. PSW Roles & Responsibilities (web page).
This profile was reviewed by PSWs in Ontario.
The webpage is part of the Ontario CLRI at RIA’s Careers in Long-Term Care Initiative