Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that affects many Canadians over the age of 60. In fact, according to the most recent figures, as many as 100,000 Canadians are currently living with Parkinson’s.
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that affects many Canadians over the age of 60. In fact, according to the most recent figures, as many as 100,000 Canadians are currently living with Parkinson’s.
Unhealthy habits are difficult to turn around, especially if they’re already having an impact on physical wellbeing. Exercise and a good diet are important for people of all ages, and a personal support worker (PSW) knows the importance of those habits, especially later on in a client’s life. When it comes to managing hypertension (high blood pressure), lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
It’s estimated that one out of every five Canadians lives with hypertension, and it’s particularly common among older adults. It’s regarded as a silent killer because it has no symptoms, but high blood pressure can eventually lead to serious conditions like heart attack, stroke, or coronary artery disease. May is Hypertension Awareness Month, so it’s the perfect time to take on board some tips to address this health problem.
Home blood pressure monitors are quite common, and regularly taking measurements can be a good idea. The cuffs with this equipment should be appropriately sized for the client to ensure that an accurate reading is taken.
A healthy blood pressure range is usually seen as 120/80. The first figure refers to Systolic Pressure—the pressure in arteries when the heart beats. The second figure measures Diastolic Pressure—the pressure in arteries between heartbeats. Both figures record in millimeters of mercury and higher figures mean increased blood pressure levels.
Clients should avoid food, exercise, caffeine, or smoking for one hour before blood pressure readings are taken in both arms. That’s because these activities could lead to an inaccurate reading where problems are left unidentified.
The diet needed to combat high blood pressure follows an almost identical pattern to a regular healthy diet. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is seen as a helpful guide, and it seeks to limit the consumption of saturated and total fats like dairy and meat products. Salt also contributes to high blood pressure. As you assist your clients during mealtimes throughout your PSW career, you should be mindful about this and limit the amount of salt included in meals.
Potassium, magnesium, and calcium are seen as the three key elements of a healthy diet aimed at reducing hypertension. These elements are more prevalent in vegetarian diets, so fruit and vegetables should be increased in your client’s diet. Low-fat dairy products—which are a terrific source of calcium—are also promoted as well as brown rice, potatoes, and tomatoes—which are high in magnesium.
Maintaining a healthy weight lowers blood pressure, so exercise should be encouraged too. For older clients, this could mean walking a bit more during the day or participating in an age-appropriate exercise class. Chair exercises are a great form of exercise for people who have difficulty with mobility, and can easily be worked into a daily routine.
Dietary and lifestyle change may not be enough to adequately reduce hypertension levels. For some clients, their doctor may have had to prescribe medication. There are three main groups of blood pressure medication. Thiazidediuretics target the kidneys by eliminating salt and water, Beta Blockers slow down the heartbeat, while ACE inhibitors ease pressure by opening up blood vessels. Professionals with a personal support worker certificate know it’s important to follow the doctor’s advice and ensure clients are taking their medication at the right time.
Dietary supplements may also be seen as an easier way to achieve a balanced diet. If a doctor has recommended these as well, ensuring that clients regularly take them will help to improve their health and prevent further problems form arising.
Personal support worker courses are the first step on the path to a range of rewarding careers.
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Isolation is real problem that affects 28 per cent of seniors aged 65 and older, most living alone without a spouse or family member. Seniors often become isolated because of uncontrollable external factors, such as disability, the death of a family member, or retirement. Studies have shown that social isolation among seniors can increase the risk of death, poor physical and mental health, and impaired mobility. Isolated seniors are also at a higher risk of being the victims of elder abuse as well as long-term illnesses such as depression, dementia, chronic lung disease, and arthritis.
Thankfully, there is a way for compassionate individuals to contribute to ending isolation among seniors, and enhancing the quality of their care. Students pursuing a career as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) can reduce feelings of isolation, helping their clients feel included as valued members of their communities.
Here are some of the ways a career as a PSW can help you prevent isolation among seniors.
Being able to assess and adapt your care to the needs of each individual client will be an important part of your PSW career. For example, clients who experience anxiety or depression may require more mental stimulation or encouragement to join in a group activity. Some may even benefit from having a pet, or from regular visits by therapy animals.
Being able to properly attend to each client’s unique requirements can make all the difference. It’s why top schools like the National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB) include courses dedicated to the individuality of the patient. Throughout your career, your ability to help each client in the way that best addresses their unique challenges and concerns can help them break free from feelings of isolation.
Another important issue for many seniors suffering from isolation is safety. Isolated seniors may have more difficulty maintaining an adequate diet or getting enough physical activity. For some, vision loss can also make them more prone to tripping and other accidents. This can present a dangerous problem. Seniors may experience a fall or other safety problem, which can have serious consequences on their health. In addition, an accident can further isolate a senior, as it can reduce their mobility and make it more difficult for them to leave the house or engage in activities.
Fortunately, professionals with PSW training have a clear, complete, and grounded understanding of safety standards, such as general techniques for assisting a senior with their mobility, medication assistance, and CPR/ first aide. Each of these skills can help you ensure that your clients stay safe, even when they may have a smaller support network of friends and family to rely on.
For many seniors, a visit from their PSW can be the highlight of their day. A friendly, compassionate, and engaged PSW can create a social environment that keeps seniors feeling connected to those around them. Asking a client about their day, remembering their hobbies and interests, and enjoying friendly conversations together can all help to build connection and reduce isolation.
For this reason, communication is an essential skill students learn to develop during their training. For example, at NAHB students learn to develop their interpersonal skills, and even get to practice these skills in a real work setting through practical placements. As a result, students graduate knowing how to best connect with their clients. For many, it can be one of the most rewarding aspects of this career path.
Are you ready to contribute to enhancing the quality of care for seniors?
Earn your certification by enrolling in personal support worker courses at the National Academy of Health and Business!
Job interviews can feel a bit stressful, especially when it’s for a position you’ve always wanted. Fortunately, preparing ahead of time can lessen those fluttering nerves. One of the best ways to prepare is to do some research on questions that might come up during the interview. This way you have the chance to pre-formulate answers to some of the questions that you may be asked.
Some questions—like “what are your strengths and weaknesses”—come up in most job interviews, whether you’re applying to work as a personal support worker (PSW) or not. However, as you begin your career as a PSW, you might encounter a few other common career-specific interview questions often asked by employers. Here are some of the questions you might hear, as well as a few standard interview prep tips you should never forget.
The most common interview questions often asked when applying for PSW positions are scenario-based ones. This means that you are asked about how you might apply your skills and knowledge to a specific situation, or how you may have done so in the past.
An example of a scenario-based question is how you might care for a palliative client. Another scenario-based question you could be asked is what you might do if a client falls. Remembering the training you completed when earning your personal support worker diploma will help you answer these kinds of questions. You can provide an example of a time when you encountered this type of situation during your community placement or arranged long-term care placement, or discuss how the courses you completed in Palliative Care, Assisting the Family/Coping Mechanisms, and more helped equip you with the skills to handle these scenarios. Demonstrating how your training has prepared you for many different situations will show employers that you are ready for the challenges of this role.
A common set of scenario-based questions aspiring PSWs often encounter are those asking how you may deal with aggressiveness and other difficult situations during your personal support worker career. Aggressiveness, frustration, and anger can sometimes come from a resident, their family members, of even a stressed co-worker. While these negative situations might not be a common occurrence, they could happen from time to time throughout your career.
A client might feel scared and frustrated about a medical condition they have, or family might have difficulty processing what their loved one is going through. Sometimes, aggressiveness can be a symptom of a medical condition such as dementia. Often in these circumstances, your ability to remain calm and professional can help diffuse the situation. Knowing that a caring professional is listening to them and taking their concerns seriously can go a long way towards soothing a stressed client or family member.
By telling employers how you would address these types of situations, and by providing examples of how you have remained professional in the past, you can demonstrate that you would be a valuable member of the team.
No matter what position you may be interviewing for, there are a number of things you should always do—before, during, and after your interview. Prepare for the interview in advance not only by reviewing and answering possible questions, but also by figuring out how long it will take you to get there and what you want to wear for the interview. This way, you won’t have to worry about running late or forgetting something important. During the interview you should also maintain eye contact, smile, and take your time to answer questions without rushing in. Also feel free to ask questions to the interviewer as well, which can help demonstrate your interest in the position and the organization. By keeping these points in mind, you’ll be able to shine during your job search after graduation.
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Going back to school can be an intimidating experience, especially after years in the real world. Many students worry that their study skills might be a little rusty, or that balancing a busy schedule with school work will be too difficult to do. Fortunately, top personal support worker (PSW) programs are there to help students every step of the way. Whether by providing students with helpful support in finding financing options, or even assisting them in landing their dream job after graduation, our dedicated staff are there to help students launch their PSW careers. The expert instructors at National Academy of Health and Business (NAHB) also care deeply about the success of their students, and will happily answer any questions you might have throughout your studies.
In addition, there are also plenty of qualities that you might already possess which can be a true asset, both in the classroom and during your career. What are they? Read on to find out!
If you’re considering a career as a personal support worker, there’s a good chance that you care deeply about the wellbeing of others. Maybe you love to help others, or want to make a positive difference in your community. Perhaps you’ve been a caregiver for a loved one, and want to make sure that others get much-deserved attention as well.
Whatever reason you have for becoming interested in personal support worker training, your compassion will be an important key to your success both during your training and in your career. Whether helping a senior enjoy a tasty meal, or making sure a client with a disability is assisted with activities like personal hygiene, your compassion will shine through to all around you.
As you begin your different personal support worker courses, you’ll soon learn that attention to detail is an important part of this career path. That’s because each client under your care will be a unique individual with their own personality and medical history. Top personal support workers know to pay attention to key details and personalize the care each client receives. In fact, PSW programs like the one offered at NAHB even include an entire module on the individuality of the patient, so that students graduate ready to provide top-quality care. Your ability to notice details about clients will help you stand out during your classes, as well as in your long-term care and community placements.
Strength can come in many different shapes and sizes. It could be the physical strength to assist a client get in and out of bed safely. It can also be the strength to help clients and their families as they go through a very difficult time.
Many clients in long term care might be living with health problems, dementia, or other illnesses. For both the client and their family, this can be a difficult time. Palliative care, as well as coping mechanisms and tools for helping families, are included in PSW programs for this very reason. For many students returning to their studies, the life experience and personal strength they have developed are true assets. As you begin your studies, you’ll soon discover that your strength, combined with your compassion and attention to detail, will help you excel in your courses and truly make a difference in the lives of others.
Are you ready to earn your personal support worker certificate?
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Individualized care is a common method that personal support workers (PSWs) use to provide care to patients. This technique focuses on patients as individuals, and steers PSWs away from simply completing the mandatory tasks required of them. Professional PSWs know that individualized care involves putting patients and their families first, and considering their valuable feedback when making important decisions—like choosing the best ways to provide care, for example. It also means that PSWs should consider their patients’ values, backgrounds, family situations, lifestyles, and social circumstances in order to best work with them in developing appropriate and rewarding solutions.
Because individualized care has to be applied to the needs of different individuals, it cannot be defined in a single way. If you’re planning to pursue a personal support worker career, read on to learn how you can incorporate more of an individualized approach once you break into the field.
The basic philosophy behind individualized care is that everybody matters. Once you begin your career, after completing your personal support worker training, it’ll be important to take the time to get to know each individual you care for. When providing home care, the early stages of patient relationships are an excellent time to better connect with them.
PSWs are often required to help patients with meal preparation. When planning meals with your patients, ask them what some of their favorite dishes are. Perhaps they enjoy certain foods that you don’t necessarily know how to prepare. If this is the case, you might ask them to share some of their family recipes with you. If you take the extra steps needed to prepare a meal that your patients will enjoy, not only will you be providing good individualized care, but you will also be learning something new!
Always try to keep conversations going during your visits. Whether you’re helping patients with bathing and grooming, or helping them take their medication for the day, speak to them as though you are getting to know a new friend. Ask them about their interests, families and friends. Talking with your patients rather than at them will set a warm tone, which can help you both look forward to your visits together.
Another great way to get to know patients better is to connect with their immediate circle. Earning your personal support worker diploma will make you an important part of a health care team. Therefore, speaking with doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals can give you some tremendous insight into how to provide individualized care.
Does your patient have any medical conditions that cause physical discomfort? Does their medication have any side-effects that would make them need more rest? Obtaining answers from health practitioners can really help you fine-tune your approach for your following visits.
Family members also know the story of their beloved relative’s medical history, personal preferences, moods, habits and more. Gathering bits of information about patients from family members can broaden your understanding of patients and help them feel confident that they are in good hands.
Broaden your employment opportunities by enrolling in personal support worker courses at a leading career college.
Visit NAHB to learn more about our training programs or to speak with an advisor.
A personal support worker is responsible for the well-being of someone who is no longer able to care for themselves. Upon completing your PSW courses, this kind of responsibility may seem overwhelming; however, ensuring the proper care of others can be an extremely rewarding experience. Being a PSW is a unique line of health care work, because the bond you form with your patients is able to grow and flourish over time. Often, you will become one of their dearest friends.
A personal support worker also has the responsibility of being aware of the dangers facing their patients. Some of these dangers can come from seemingly innocuous objects around the house, which can easily be safeguarded. Other times, the threats come from other family members in the form of abuse or neglect. In any case, your personal support worker training will help you recognize these dangers in order to provide the utmost safety and wellbeing for your clients.
The most common household injuries are caused by falling down the stairs. For patients who may be suffering memory loss, injuries on the stairs can happen for reasons as simple as forgetting the way to the bathroom at night. A PSW may suggest that a patient install night lights in their hallways to avoid such incidences.
A common danger for those with restricted mobility is slippery floors. This could be an oil spill in the kitchen or a slippery bathtub. To keep a patient safe, a PSW should make sure the house is kept clean, and suggest that the patient have railings installed in the shower, paired with a safety-grip shower mat.
It’s important to note that elderly abuse can come in many forms, be it physical, psychological or sexual. There are certain telling symptoms a PSW will be able to recognize as a result of their personal support worker courses. If you notice inexplicable scars, bruises or other injuries on your patient, they may be suffering physical abuse by someone close to them.
Sometimes, the elderly patient may not be able to remember who caused the injuries. In other instances, they are hiding the truth to protect a loved one who may be suffering from mental or psychological distress. If a patient’s family refuses to see you alone, this could also be an indication of problems.
Psychological symptoms of abuse may be harder to recognize. If a PSW witnesses a relative speaking sternly or cruelly to the patient, it may be necessary to speak to them about their behaviour. If it is clear this is an ongoing pattern, a personal support worker should look for ways to assist the patient and remove them from the situation.
A wealthy patient whose mind may be slipping into dementia can be taken advantage of by family or friends. Unexplained withdrawals of money or suddenly missing valuables may be a sign that the patient’s condition is being taken advantage of. While these instances are rare, it can be necessary for the PSW to step up in these situations, as the patient may be unable to themselves.
Do you know any other ways a PSW can keep help maintain a patient’s safety?
Healthcare is in a state of constant change. We are perpetually looking to solve the world’s health problems through new and innovative procedures, equipment, drugs, antibiotics and much more. Because of our reluctance to settle for the care and cures that we have, healthcare will always be in a state of constant change and improvement. This means that as years go on, trends begin to emerge within the medical climate. 2014 is barely through the first quarter and already we’ve seen some very surprising and exceptional medical trends start to pop up. These are just a few of the more exciting ones.
2014 has seen a large amount of attention drawn to how we can improve the processes with which we handle chronic care for patients with long term disabilities and terminal illnesses. Chronic care has always been a notoriously tricky area of healthcare, and organizations are looking to improve many aspects of how it’s handled. One idea that an increasing number of healthcare providers are suggesting is the use of Ambulatory Intensive Care Units or “A-ICUs,” which are intensive care units that are mobile and able to meet the needs of the patient in home. This will also mean a rise in the number of people interested in taking a personal support worker course, in order to meet the rising demand for more in-home care workers.
They are most commonly found as modified ambulances and healthcare providers hope that they will be able to better meet behavioral health and chronic care needs with them, increasing the amount of beds in hospitals and lowering the length of stay and readmission rate. Medical office assistant training numbers have also increased dramatically because of the rise in paperwork and bureaucracy involved with increasing chronic care.
An increasingly large number of companies are now offering incentives for healthier behaviour in employees, as well as penalties for unhealthy behaviors or non-compliance. This includes giving employees free pedometers to monitor their activity, or subscriptions to health and wellness websites like iFit. Staying healthy can lead to benefits like discounts or gift cards, paid leave and more. There are even some corporations like Hollywood Casinos that have a hiring ban on employees who test positive for nicotine.
Companies are pushing hard for better employee health, mostly as a way to curb their costs on increasingly expensive healthcare plans for employees. Who knows, maybe in a few years it won’t matter if you took accounting courses, you might not be able to get a job simply because you smoke. While it’s an inventive system, many employees or potential hires are sure to get miffed about being penalized for personal choices. While it may not be a terribly popular way to cut costs, at least according to skeptics, it’s certainly an inventive one, and it’s definitely going to inspire people to head to the gym after work instead of the bar.
Healthcare is a continuously changing field, and these are just some of the more interesting changes we’re seeing so far in 2014. However, there’s much more to come, so keep your eyes peeled!
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