April 2, 2018 | News

Reprinted by permission from Kenora Online

A shortage of Personal Support Workers in the region has piqued Confederation College’s interest. Hospital beds are full or near-full in Kenora, Dryden and Sioux Lookout, and long-term care facilities in the district are struggling to find staff to work in the PSW field.

To improve the college’s PSW program in the hopes to attract more students and help graduation rates, Confederation College, Patricia Region Seniors Services Inc., ParaMed and the District of Kenora Home for the Aged teamed up to create a ‘living classroom’ in Pinecrest in Kenora last year, and now the program is expanding to Dryden.

The ‘living classroom’ model combines classroom learning and hands-on experience to support students in completing the PSW program. Students will immediately be able to apply the theory they learn in the classroom by practising their skills in the health-care setting.

“We’re so pleased to partner with these organizations to help provide a solution to the shortage of PSWs being faced by the local community,” said Jim Madder, President of Confederation College.

Dryden’s Confederation College will host the program beginning this fall at the connected Princess Court and Patricia Gardens facilities.

“In the long term care field we are experiencing an increase in demand for personal support workers while at the same time the College is experiencing decreasing enrolment in the personal support worker program,” said Kevin Queen, CEO and District Administrator of District of Kenora Home for the Aged.

“This unique collaborative approach with four organizations brings the classroom into the workplace providing the student the ability to practice the classroom lessons in the workplace immediately. The result is a more confident and proficient graduate. We are very pleased to be part of this effective collaboration.”

Earlier this year, Queen’s Park announced it is investing $187 million in 2018-2019 to improve access to hospital beds and reduce wait times in hospitals across the province. Ontario’s Minister of Health and Long-Term Care says they will also be investing in more home and community care services, as well as more long-term care beds across the province.

The 2018 Ontario Budget doubled-down on the initiative, announcing funding for another 30,000 long-term care beds being created over the next 10 years, adding 5,000 new beds by 2022.