Reprinted from Schlegel Villages News
By Christian Partington
Thousands of new long-term care beds are being added in the province and Schlegel Villages is honoured to be among the providers chosen to care for and support many of these new residents in the near future.
The expanding LTC sector in Ontario requires quality care partners to meet the growing need. Schlegel Villages is proud to help train them in Living Classrooms at Riverside Glen, University Gates and Wentworth Heights.These new beds will only meet an ever-increasing demand, however, if there are enough skilled care partners to work alongside the new residents. Not only are enough of these people needed, but they must be the right people, dedicated, compassionate and kind. Again, Schlegel Villages is proud to partner with educators within our Villages in Living Classrooms to bring resident-centred care to life for future Personal Support Workers and Practical Nurses.
“In our Living Classrooms, both our team members and residents can share their knowledge and wisdom which makes the learning experience so much richer and more meaningful for the students,” says Christy Parsons, Vice-President of People with Schlegel Villages. “We are honoured to support the growth of the future leaders of tomorrow in senior living where a key focus of creating a more social model of living is a priority.”
Building upon the success of the first group of PSW students in the newest Living Classroom at The Village of Wentworth Heights, a second cohort is working towards certification and The Village couldn’t be happier with how the partnership is unfolding. The team members and residents are proud to be influencing these critically-important future team members, some of whom have even found a permanent place with the Village team.
Sandra Mejia de Lemus is one such team member. She officially started working at Wentworth Heights in September, not long after finishing her studies in the Living Classroom. She has always been drawn to the caregiving professions, she says, and the opportunity to learn while directly working alongside the team and residents excited her.
“To learn and practice at the same time makes me feel so useful,” Sandra says. When she began working after completing her certification, she says she was in the perfect place because she had already developed relationships with the residents she now supports. “I’m not a stranger for them,” she says, because as a student she had time to be with them. That time, she says, was so important in her education.
“That’s why the name is ‘personal support worker’,” Sandra says, “because we need to be very close with them.”
Students like Sandra, who put their heart into the work, are exactly what is needed to meet the growing demands of the long-term care and retirement sector, says Candice Follest, the volunteer coordinator at Wentworth Heights and the conduit between The Village and the Mohawk faculty and students. “In the end, it’s a benefit for us to capitalize on recruitment opportunities, not just in this Village but across all 19 Villages.”
“The Living Classroom allows student to get in our residents’ environment and gain that hands-on experience, which is so valuable,” Candice says.