West Nipissing General Hospital, Algonquin Nursing Home Partner with Near North District School Board on PSW Program

As a testament to the value of the program it is offering, Near North District School Board (NNDSB) has just created its third and fourth Memorandum of Understanding in two weeks. West Nipissing General Hospital (WNGH) in Sturgeon Falls and Algonquin Nursing Home in Mattawa plan to provide living classrooms in order to train Personal Support Workers (PSWs).

WNGH and Algonquin Nursing Home are the two most recent organizations to commit to working with NNDSB to provide a living classroom, in which students will learn theory in an on-site classroom, then apply those skills on the floor of the hospital. Students will do their clinical work on WNGH’s long-term care and complex continuing care units, and in the long-term care home in Mattawa.

Student costs of this program will be subsidized; tuition is covered by NNDSB.

Cynthia Dèsormiers, President and Chief Executive Officer of WNGH, says the hospital is eager to partner because, “there is a critical shortage of Health Human Resources (HHR) throughout Ontario and in our community as well. This is a program that allows us to think outside the box while fulfilling a need at WNGH and in our community. This program will provide a great opportunity for people in our community to kick start a new career in health care, and with the tuition being waived in the first year, it is like a gift for those who may have financial difficulties.”

NNDSB’s Director of Education Craig Myles says the board has worked hard to bring this hands-on learning opportunity to learners 18 years and older. “We’re excited to offer this training, which is accredited through the Personal Support Worker Professional Association. NNDSB will be training PSWs who will be ready to begin work upon completion of the course.”

The PSW program is a collaborative effort of the board, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and community organizations. The other partnerships will see living classrooms set up in Cassellholme in North Bay, and Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care in Parry Sound. (Hyperlinks are to media release about those partnerships.)

Dèsormiers says the program and partnership “is a win-win for both the hospital and the students. This is an opportunity for us to grow our own PSWs, which usually leads to recruitment and improved retention when they are from the community.”

Jay Aspin, Chair of the Board of Trustees of NNDSB, says the PSW initiative is a great way to re-engage adult learners while addressing a critical shortage of healthcare workers. “NNDSB is proud of its role in helping to educate and train skilled PSWs that are in high demand in all areas of the board. This innovative program serves so many purposes in our communities, including marvelous opportunities for our students.”

Dèsormiers says WNGH is “grateful for the opportunity to partner this year and in future years to fill a huge need in healthcare, while providing great employment opportunities and careers for people in West Nipissing and surrounding areas.”

Spaces in each program are limited. Anyone interested should plan to attend the information session on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. online. (Meeting is hyperlinked.)

Students who do not yet have their Grade 12 are eligible to apply. They can earn up to six credits towards their diploma while taking this training.

NNDSB is seeking partnerships with local long-term care homes in all regions of the board to re-engage learners who are 18+ interested in training to become a PSW. Any long-term care home interested in partnering should contact Liana Blaskievich, NNDSB’s Officer Corporate Affairs at 705-472-8170 ext. 5056 or liana.blaskievich@nearnorthschools.ca.

NNDSB Expands PSW Opportunity in Living Classroom Program to Belvedere Heights, Lakeland Long-Term Care in Parry Sound

Near North District School Board (NNDSB) is excited to announce the expansion of the Personal Support Worker (PSW) training opportunity and a promising partnership in the Parry Sound region. The partnership with Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care are welcome news in an area where PSWs are in high demand.

NNDSB will provide PSW training on site at Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care in a living classroom environment. Participants in the program will do their theoretical learning in a classroom at Belvedere Heights, then be able to apply those skills on the floor of both long-term care homes, without having to wait for theory work to end before experiencing placement.

NNDSB hopes to help fill a growing demand for trained PSWs across the Near North region and to provide people 18 years of age and older with an exciting career path. NNDSB will work closely with community partners to establish a hands-on program, inclusive of placements, in partnered long-term care facilities.

A female PSW stands behind an older woman sitting in a wheelchair
PSWs are often referred to as the backbone of healthcare. Halle Stringer is a recent PSW grad working at Lakeland LTC, seen here with resident Dorothy O’Rourke.

A PSW looks after the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of someone who is not able to do so themselves, frequently in the elderly population. The main responsibilities of a PSW include ensuring the patient has healthy and nutritious meals, helping with daily tasks and working with an interdisciplinary team to ensure the best quality of care.

People who do not currently possess their Grade 12 are also eligible. This unique program allows NNDSB to support students in completing their OSSD in tandem with this program. If you are interested, you can request an educational assessment by contacting Trina Nelson in student services at Parry Sound High School, 705-773-7979 extension 8438.

NNDSB Director of Education Craig Myles, who has been instrumental in seeking opportunities for the board to provide this innovative programming states, “NNDSB is thrilled to expand this opportunity to the Parry Sound region. The program contributes to an emergent and vital need for the Near North region. We are proud to offer a program that supports adults (18+) to find a rewarding career path in the health care industry and respond to a community need.”

Supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, the student costs of this specialty program will be subsidized. Successful students of this program will become fully qualified as PSWs. The PSW program can be only the beginning of a journey into many healthcare opportunities. PSWs are employed in many care sectors such as homecare and assisted living and in various care facilities.

NNDSB’s partners in this program, are “excited by this awesome opportunity,” says Belvedere Heights Home for the Aged Administrator Kami Johnson.

“Our homes in Parry Sound are incredibly fortunate to work with a partner like our local high school,” says Steve White, administrator of Lakeland Long-Term Care. “Kami and I believe the Near North District School Board is not only going to make a difference in the lives of adults learning a new career, but in the daily lives of our seniors and most vulnerable.”

NNDSB is in the process of hiring qualified instructors for North Bay and Parry Sound. Instructors will be RNs or NPs with experience working in this field. Please refer to www.nearnorthschools.ca and select Join Our Team in the top right corner for employment information. NNDSB is excited by the expansion and still aiming for the new year to begin both programs. Registration is planned for January with an expected start of February 2022.

Spaces are limited. Anyone interested should plan to attend one of the two following information sessions: Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. online or Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. online. (Meetings are hyperlinked.)

NNDSB Chair Jay Aspin says, “The partnership in Parry Sound and the expansion of this programming is exactly what we aimed for. The alignment with the Board goals of excellence in innovation and excellence in building relationships is clear. We are eager to work in partnership with Belvedere Heights and Lakeland Long-Term Care on a sustainable pipeline of PSW students choosing highly rewarding programming in Northern communities.”

NNDSB is seeking partnerships with local long-term care homes in all regions of the board to re-engage learners who are 18+ interested in training to become a PSW. Any long-term care home interested in partnering should contact Liana Blaskievich, NNDSB’s Officer Corporate Affairs at 705-472-8170 ext. 5056 or liana.blaskievich@nearnorthschools.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Deb Bartlett
Communications Officer
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170, extension 5010
E. Deb.Bartlett@nearnorthschools.ca

NNDSB Launches Innovative PSW Living Classroom Program at Cassellholme North Bay

Near North District School Board (NNDSB) is excited to announce the first of what it hopes will be many sustainable partnerships with long-term care facilities in all regions of the NNDSB.

NNDSB is proud to partner with Cassellholme in North Bay to provide Personal Support Worker (PSW) training in a living classroom environment at Cassellholme. Participants in the program will do their theoretical learning in a classroom at Cassellholme, then be able to apply those skills on the floor of the long-term care home, without having to wait for theory work to end before experiencing placement.

NNDSB hopes to help fill a growing demand for trained PSWs and to provide people 18 years of age and older with an exciting career path. NNDSB will work closely with community partners to establish a hands-on program, inclusive of placements, in partnered long-term care facilities.

A PSW looks after the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of someone who is not able to do so themselves, frequently in the elderly population. The main responsibilities of a PSW include ensuring the patient has healthy and nutritious meals, helping with daily tasks and working with an interdisciplinary team to ensure the best quality of care.

People who do not currently possess their Grade 12 are also eligible. This unique program allows NNDSB to support students in completing their OSSD in tandem with this program. If you are interested, you can request an educational assessment by contacting Vice-Principal Sarah Spence at Laurentian Learning Centre, 705-472-5419.

NNDSB Director of Education Craig Myles has been instrumental in seeking out opportunities for the board to provide innovative programming. He stated, “Providing this type of opportunity is extremely important to the Near North community in that it serves adult students who need that leg up to a diploma and a rewarding career with many opportunities for growth. The program supports an emergent and vital need for the Near North region. We are proud to offer programs that support students and respond to a community need.”

Supported by the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, the student costs for this specialty program will be subsidized. Successful students of this program will become fully qualified as a PSW. The PSW program can be only the beginning of a journey into many healthcare opportunities. PSWs are employed in many care sectors such as homecare and assisted living and in varied long-term care facilities.

NNDSB’s partner in this program, Cassellholme, has engaged employees in continued opportunities to learn as they earn and seek certification as Registered Practical Nurses (RPN), Registered Nurses (RN) or Registered Nurse Practitioners (NP). “Cassellholme is always looking for ways to be a community partner. By working with NNDSB, we can help foster a new generation of healthcare professionals which may very well be someone’s first step to a rewarding career,” said Cassellholme Chair Chris Mayne.

NNDSB is in the process of hiring a qualified instructor who is a RN or a NP with experience working in this field. Excited to start, NNDSB is aiming for the new year to begin this program. Registration is planned for January with an expected start of February 2022.

Spaces are limited. Anyone interested should plan to attend one of the two following information sessions: Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. online or Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. online. (Teams meeting information is hyperlinked.)

Near North District School Board Chair Jay Aspin said, “This is another proud moment for Near North District School Board in supporting our community. This innovative new program aligns with the Board goals of excellence in innovation and excellence in building relationships. We are enthused to work in partnership with Cassellholme and Ontario Health on what looks like just the beginning of highly rewarding programming in the North.”

“This partnership is a good example of increasing the accessibility of PSW training and education – a focus area of the North East Ontario Regional PSW Workforce Steering Committee,” said Michel O’Connor, Ontario Health North Eastern Region. The committee has come together to identify and to socialize some of the challenges affecting the retention, the recruitment and the sustainability of the PSW workforce. “We hope that the success of this collaboration will be sustained in the future and that the area will benefit from the investment in health human resources required to deliver healthcare services,” he said.

NNDSB is seeking partnerships with local long-term care homes in all regions of the board to re-engage learners who are 18+ interested in training to become a PSW. Any long-term care homes interested in partnering should contact Liana Blaskievich, NNDSB’s Officer Corporate Affairs at 705-472-8170 ext. 5056 or liana.blaskievich@nearnorthschools.ca.

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For more information, please contact:

Deb Bartlett
Communications Officer
Near North District School Board
P. (705) 472-8170, extension 5010
E. Deb.Bartlett@nearnorthschools.ca

Immersive Courses Bring Professionals and Students Together in Long-Term Care

Over the course of the past year, frontline health care workers have been a vital support to the long-term care sector. Whether personal support workers, nurses, allied health professionals, or support staff, these roles serve our residents and their loved ones each day.

The devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the challenges faced by the sector and the need for greater capacity in these roles. By the end of 2020, the Ministry of Long-Term Care launched a call to prioritize the education and recruitment of health care workers to strengthen long-term care and invest in a better future for the sector’s workers and residents.

Bruyere, La Cite and CLRI logosIn response, La Cité, in partnership with Bruyère’s Saint-Louis Residence, launched a Living Classroom designed to accelerate the training for new personal support workers in our community. The partnership integrates practical education sessions directly into the long-term care home to support workforce development in the sector through a culture of shared learning and real-life experience. The Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI), which has been an integral support in the program’s launch, brings knowledge and expertise to support improvements to quality of life and care in the sector through applied research, education, and training.

“Saint-Louis Residence is thrilled to be part of this collaboration with La Cité to launch a francophone living classroom within our home,” says Melissa Donskov, VP of Residential and Community Care Programs at Bruyère. “Learning from staff within a long-term care setting is a fantastic way to prepare future personal support workers for a career in the sector. It is also engaging for our current long-term care heroes, offering them opportunities to develop in their careers and to share all of their knowledge and expertise.”

With dozens of students enrolled in the first spring training cohort, Bruyère expects to see more than 20 additional students benefit from an education directly embedded in the workplace before the end of summer. Covering many of the basic techniques for residential care, including supporting mobility and transfers, students are gaining skills firsthand and stepping into careers with confidence. In this experiential learning environment, students are learning side-by-side with our dedicated Saint-Louis Residence’s frontline staff who have stepped up as teachers and supported the program.

“This is a good opportunity for personal care work students to gain valuable knowledge at Saint-Louis Residence,” said Jesule Balmir, a student in the first classroom cohort. “This program that leads to a certificate will open the door to other related training that may be useful in the future. Our teachers are highly qualified. They give us training based on years of experience so that we are well prepared for the personal support worker profession.”

Despite still navigating the challenges of COVID-19, the outpouring of engagement and interest to train the next generation of health care workers has been overwhelming among staff members. The response from staff at Saint-Louis Residence to foster a space for compassionate and integrated learning once again shows the incredible generosity and strength of our teams that continues to ripple through the community.

Students and instructor in the Living Classroom
“It is a privilege to be able to share the knowledge I have gained in my 40-year career as a personal care attendant. The live class not only teaches the theory, but also allows for direct practice with the students and validates if the different approaches and methods have been understood. For example, when working with a resident who has dementia, there are tips and tricks that make the experience better for the resident. Being able to directly relay these different nuances to them is great!

I love my experience as a living lab teacher at Saint-Louis Residence. We’re training the next generation of attendants, the heartfelt people who make all the difference, especially with our residents who are so vulnerable!”

—Monique Van Den Akerboom, personal support worker

“It is very motivating to take up this challenge as a living classroom teacher,” says Mireille Nduami, RPN at Saint-Louis Residence and former student at La Cité. “It is a great opportunity to bring my contribution during such a difficult time when the demand for health care workers is really a priority. By training the next generation, I too am growing and strengthening my knowledge. I am so grateful to be part of this innovative program!”

“It is truly a lesson that inspires the whole life. We had very good teachers,” said Hortense Mugandakazi Cikwanine, another student in the program.

La Cite students practicing at the bedside
“I find this experience very dynamic as we interchange our ideas and experience the theoretical lessons with practice which allows for a more direct and easy assimilation.

It will help us better understand the functioning of patients, their physical and psychological environment, to define our relationship with them and our responsibilities towards them.

I learned how to use the different tools necessary for the comfort and transfer of patients; I also understood the best attitude to have depending on the condition of the client to facilitate and embellish his daily life.”

— Nicole Bernisse Nkakanou Tchokotcheu, student

The Living Classroom partnership model was first implemented in Ontario through a collaboration with Conestoga College, the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA) and Schlegel Villages. Conestoga and the RIA, with support from the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care, are working to spread the model and support workforce development for the senior living sector.

John Noble Home partners with Grand Erie Learning Alternatives to open new Living Classroom

John Noble Home in Brantford, Ontario, has partnered with Grand Erie Learning Alternatives to deliver a new Living Classroom within the home to nurture the growth and professional development of Personal Support Workers. … Continue reading

John Noble Home in Brantford, Ontario, has partnered with Grand Erie Learning Alternatives to deliver a new Living Classroom within the home to nurture the growth and professional development of Personal Support Workers.

Registration for the January 2021 class is now open. For more information, visit https://www.granderie.ca/schools/gela/student-services/interested-becoming-personal-support-workerpsw.

Fairview Seniors Community and St. Louis launch a new Living Classroom

Fairview Seniors Community has partnered with St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres to offer a progressive Living Classroom experience for 22 PSW students, who will receive their training in the newly constructed 1,000 square foot classroom at Fairview Mennonite Home in Cambridge, Ontario…. Continue reading

Fairview Seniors Community has partnered with St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres to offer a progressive Living Classroom experience for 22 PSW students, who will receive their training in the newly constructed 1,000 square foot classroom at Fairview Mennonite Home in Cambridge, Ontario. The inaugural part-time St. Louis PSW class began on Tuesday, October 6, 2020.

Read more about the new Living Classroom:

Webinar – Grow Your Own PSWs: Regional Adaptations of the Living Classroom in Long Term Care

Join us for a Living Classroom webinar, part of AdvantAge Ontario’s Virtual Summer School. Visit the website for the full program and registration details.

Grow Your Own PSWs: Regional Adaptations of the Living Classroom in Long Term Care

Tuesday, August 11, 2020, 10:15 am-11:15 pm

  • Learn about the benefits of the Living Classroom, a postsecondary partnership program for addressing PSW shortages, including its impact on PSW recruitment and retention.
  • Explore evidence collected from use and regional adaptation of this model in different long-term care settings, and implementation strategies for successful program delivery from a range of stakeholder perspectives.
  • Identify how to assess your organization’s readiness to start a Living Classroom.

Speakers

Photo of Scott MitchellScott Mitchell, Knowledge Broker, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

Scott Mitchell is a Knowledge Broker at the Ontario Centre for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) hosted by the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging in Waterloo. He is a co-founder and coordinating committee member of the Canadian Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Community of Practice.


Photo of Shelley SheedyShelley Sheedy, Director, Long-Term Care, Bonnechere Manor, Renfrew and Miramichi Lodge, Pembroke

Shelley Sheedy is an experienced health care leader with a diverse range of acute care, community, education and long-term care experience. Within long-term care, Shelley has held progressive leadership positions including Resident Care Co-ordinator, Director of Care, Administrator and is currently the Director of Long-Term Care for both of the County of Renfrew’s Homes — Bonnechere Manor and Miramichi Lodge — with responsibility for 346 residents, over 500 staff, approximately 300 volunteers and a $32M budget. She also oversaw the redevelopment of the 166-bed Miramichi Lodge. Both Homes have achieved Accreditation Canada’s highest “Accreditation with Exemplary Standing” Award.

Shelley holds a Masters degree in Health Studies and a certificate in Healthcare Leadership from the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa) and sits on a number of regional and provincial committees. She has published several articles including “A Call to Action — Dispelling the Myths and Reducing the Negative Factors Impacting Nursing Recruitment in LTC”; “Should Upper Tier Municipalities in Ontario Contribute to the Operations of a LTC Home?”; and “Improving the Image of Nursing in Ontario — What Can you Do?”

Shelley’s career passions include leading change with a continuous quality improvement focus on evidenced-based practices and implementing innovative human resource practices.

Photo of Heather Klein-HorsmanHeather Klein-Horsman, PSW and PN Program Coordinator, Algonquin College

Heather Klein-Horsman, RN, graduated from University of Ottawa in 2006 and continued on to complete her Critical Care Course through Algonquin College. She worked at the intensive care unit at the Ottawa Civic Hospital from 2006-2009. In 2009 she moved to the Renfrew Valley region and started in the ICU/ER department at the Pembroke Regional Hospital and part-time clinical teaching with Algonquin College Pembroke campus. She completed her Masters in Nursing through Charles Sturt University, was hired full time at Algonquin College in 2014 and now coordinates both PSW and PN programs (the PSW Living Classroom is in its second year) and teaches throughout the Nursing programs. Heather has a passion for teaching, leadership and change management and serves on multiple committees through the College and Provincial level.

Photo of Lori CrossonLori Crosson, Director of Continuing Education and E-Learning, Sault College

Lori is responsible for various PSW programming including online offerings, in-community offerings and in-facility offerings. She has been a member of the Sault College Continuing Education team for over 10 years and has experience in various models of flexible education.

Enhancing nursing home care for seniors: impact of a living classroom on nursing assistant’s education

Veronique M. Boscart, Lynn McCleary, Paul Stolee, Linda Sheiban Taucar, Jessica Wilhelm, Keia Johnson, Josie d’Avernas, Paul Brown & Marlene Raasok, Educational Gerontology, 46:8, 461-472
https://doi.org/10.1080/03601277.2020.1774842

Abstract

Nursing Assistants (NAs) are the largest workforce in nursing homes, but often lack adequate preparation for their role. The Living Classroom (LC) is an integrated learning approach, whereby a NA program is delivered in a nursing home (NH) in collaboration with a community college. This paper describes the implementation and evaluation of the LC. Mixed methods were used to gather data from 48 NA students, 5 faculty, and 42 NH staff over 30 weeks. Students, faculty, and nursing home staff described the LC as a positive learning experience. Students’ gerontological knowledge increased over time (p = .0012). Students reported very positive relationships with program mentors and NH residents. The LC provides a unique approach to prepare NAs to work in nursing homes. This model could expand to other educational programs with a gerontology focus.

Aged care: Some workers feel they’ve drawn the short straw

Aged care workers are among the lowest paid and the least qualified in the sector with many feeling like they had “drawn the short straw” if they ended up in their jobs. Yet a highly successful Australian program that provided on the job training, research and education in 16 aged care facilities was dropped in 2015 because the federal government wouldn’t fund it…. Continue reading

By Julie Power, Brisbane Times.

Aged care workers are among the lowest paid and the least qualified in the sector with many feeling like they had “drawn the short straw” if they ended up in their jobs.

New models of “teaching nursing homes”, though, had improved retention with many seeing a job in aged care as a career, the Royal Commission on Aged Care Quality and Safety heard on Tuesday.

Yet a highly successful Australian program that provided on the job training, research and education in 16 aged care facilities was dropped in 2015 because the federal government wouldn’t fund it.

A report found the Teaching and Research Aged Care Services (TRACS) program had proved the value of providing “ongoing education to the existing aged care workforce to further build their skills and understanding of care for older people”.

Read the full story at Brisbane Times