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PSW vs. HSW: Which is which?

PSW vs. HSW: Which is which?

Are you currently looking for care for yourself or a loved one? Are you finding the process challenging? Are you getting confused with all of the different types of care? There are a lot of things to consider when looking for care. The main one being exactly what time a care and from whom it should be performed. In this article we will focus on the two main types of non-registered healthcare professionals, Personal Support Workers (PSW) and Home Care Workers (HCW). Although both roles are quite similar, there are many marked differences that you should be aware of before making a decision. We will explore these differences further on.

Personal Support Worker (PSW); their role and responsibilities

If you are looking for more personal care to help with performing daily tasks, such as bathing, toileting, feeding, etc. you will benefit more from a PSW. Health Meadows Personal Support Workers are highly trained, professional and experienced in providing this type of care. Our PSW’s are trained to perform lifts and transfers in order to safely aid patients with the following tasks:

    • Bathing and grooming
    • Getting dressed
    • Toileting
    • Personal Support Workers also provide the following services:
    • Light housekeeping and laundry
    • Meal planning and preparation
    • Medication reminders
    • Watchful companionship
    • Escorting to medical appointments and social events
    • In addition to caring for individuals in their homes, PSWs can provide care in these common health care facilities:
      • Hospitals
      • Retirement homes and long-term care homes
      • Community care centres
      • Social and family service centres

Home Care Worker (HCW); their role and responsibilities

If you are looking for some help with performing daily tasks, such as cooking and cleaning, then you may benefit more from a Home Care Worker (HCW). The main difference between a PSW and HCW is that HCW’s are not allowed to have physical contact with clients.

Health Meadows Home Care Workers are highly trained in empathy, professionalism and are experienced in providing this type of care. Our HCW’s are trained to help with the following tasks:

    • Light housekeeping and laundry
    • Meal planning and preparation
    • Medication reminders
    • Watchful companionship
    • Escorting to medical appointments and social events

Since HCWs do not physically touch clients, their scope of practice isn’t as broad. This is reflected in the cheaper price point (see Price Comparison below). Additionally, unlike Personal Support Workers who work in a variety of different settings and health care facilities, Home Support Workers only work in individuals’ homes.

Education Needed to Become a Personal Support Worker

In order to become a Personal Support Worker, the completion of a PSW certificate program is recommended, and if working in publicly funded home care settings, program completion may be mandatory. At Health Meadows we require each PSW to have completed the PSW course from an accredited institution and have their Certificate on file.

Typically in Ontario, a PSW program runs for 2 semesters (8 months in length) and includes hands on clinical experience in a long-term care facility or hospital. PSW’s differ from other healthcare professionals such as nurses in the fact that they are not required to join an association membership. Nurses in Ontario are required by law to join the CNO and receive a registration number under which they practice. PSWs are not required, but have the option of joining the newly established Ontario Personal Support Worker Association (OPSWA) 

Education Needed to Become a Home Care Worker

In the case of a Home Care Worker there is no formal post-secondary education required for this position. The only education required to become a HCW is an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent. At Health Meadows we require all HCW’s to undergo our Home Care training program specifically designed to focus on professional empathic service. In addition to this Health Meadows requires all of their employees to provide current CPR/First Aid Training as well as a clean Vulnerable Sector Check from the police.

Comparing Prices – PSW vs HCW

There are individuals who qualify for publicly funded care coordinated by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), and the LHIN will determine the type of care you’ll receive. For more information on LHINs you can go to https://www.ontario.ca/page/homecare-seniors and if you qualify for care.

This service may soon see some changes under the new super agency set to be launched in Ontario in spring 2019.

In private home care, there is a big difference between the price of a PSW and a HCW. Personal Support Workers can range anywhere from $29-49 per hour, whereas a Home Care Worker is usually priced between $24-33. Prices will vary based on the organization, but generally speaking they will be within this range. 

PSW vs. HSW: Which Care Is Best For Me?

It all depends on your wants and needs. Do you need some help around the house with daily chores, a caregiver to give you a hand or even someone to sit with your loved one for company? Then a Home Care Worker would be your best option. A HCW is the more affordable solution for individuals that require extra help around home, but don’t need physical assistance with bathing, toileting, etc.

If you are looking for physical assistance, someone to help you with more delicate tasks, someone trained through a certified program, then a Personal Support Worker would be the right choice for you.

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