May 20, 2011

Ontario to launch registry for personal support workers

Allows for verification of information, greater safety: Government

By the summer of 2012, employers in Ontario will be able to check a registry of personal support workers (PSWs) to verify their information and better meet the needs of people needing care.

Ontario announced it is launching a registry that will give PSWs the opportunity to sign up and provide information such as: contact information, current employment, educational background and years of experience. Employers and the public could use the registry to verify this information, said the government.

PSWs provide care to seniors, people with disabilities and those with complex health needs. There are about 90,000 personal support workers in Ontario, with about 57,000 providing care in long-term care homes and 26,000 in home care through community health agencies. About 7,000 personal support workers provide care in hospitals, said the government.

"Care in the community is often an intimate encounter between client and staff. This registry is a positive move which will increase safety for clients and caregivers, aid organizations and individuals in hiring qualified PSWs and reinforce public confidence in our health system,” said Susan Thorning, CEO of the Ontario Community Support Association.

The work of personal support workers ranges from assisted daily living tasks (such as personal hygiene, transferring clients between bed and chair, taking medication and doing light housework) to delegated health procedures (such as changing dressings, tube feedings and oxygen therapy).

Ontario’s registry will be up and running no later than the summer of 2012, said the government. The British Columbia government created a registry for first care aides and community health workers in January 2010.

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