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A Care Aid/PSW Perspective on How to Retain Staff & Increase Revenues In LTC

As I reflect on my journey as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) / Care-Aide I find myself deeply invested in the narrative that surrounds my profession—a narrative that, in my experience, requires a transformative change. It's from this personal vantage point that I share my thoughts on why it is crucial to look at PSWs not just as roles but as pillars of importance in the health care industry.

"I once had a coworker say to me it’s not like anyone wants to grow up to be a care-aide." This statement struck a chord in me, not because of its blunt honesty, but because it so drastically undervalues what I—and many others—see as a role of incredible significance. Being a PSW is not merely a job; it is a calling that resonates with the core of human compassion and service.

Caring for someone opens up a world beyond the immediate tasks at hand. I've gleaned wisdom from the life stories of those I care for, understanding hardship and developing a profound sense of empathy. I've learned about lives filled with joy and sorrow, about resilience, and the silent strength that often goes unnoticed. These are life lessons that cannot be quantified but are as valuable as any traditional education I have received.

In the world of long-term care, being a support worker is a vocation that requires a specialized skill set. To think that just anyone can step into these shoes with minimal training and be successful is a misconception that I wish to correct. It is not just about fulfilling tasks; it is about being present, listening, and understanding the unfolding narratives of those at the final stages of their lives.

The reality is that PSWs are at the heart of care, providing up to 80% of hands-on assistance. Recognizing this immense contribution is the first step towards reaping the true value they offer. It's about investing in that 80%—in us. When investment is made in our training, well-being, and recognition, the return on investment extends far beyond financial gains; it manifests in the quality of care that elevates the entire facility.

Increased profits and improved retention rates are just the surface-level benefits of investing in PSWs. Looking deeper, it’s about creating a sustainable model of care that doesn’t just respond to immediate demands but anticipates future needs.

To care facility owners and healthcare policymakers, I say this: Retention is the future in LTC. The only way to get consistency of service and reduce these ever increasing costs associated with staffing in my opinion, is to invest in your support staff and stop refilling positions. Opportunity awaits for those owners who want to end this never ending cycle of staff hiring that continues to affect your bottom line. It requires vision and investment to take LTC to the future.

I have witnessed these staffing issues my whole career, these issues are not new. What is new, is the direct and indirect costs associated with International recruitment and the new challenges faced by owners and managers to ensure that Investment has a return.

A shift towards a model where care providers become the coveted places of employment, where contracts are not just signed but are sought after because of the reputation of excellence built on the backs of dedicated support staff.

It is not about making the role of a PSW permanent or glorified. It is about acknowledging the intricate complexities of this role, investing in our development, and creating an environment where we are seen, heard, and respected.

In conclusion, a PSW's role is not temporary or insignificant. It is a cornerstone of the healthcare system that requires acknowledgment and investment. It is time for change—a change that starts with respect for the hands that provide 80% of the care. Only then can we truly move forward and set a new standard in the world of caregiving.

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