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

Conestoga workshop shares best practices for implementation of Living Classrooms

College administrators and faculty from across the province recently attended a full-day best practices workshop delivered by Conestoga’s Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care to discuss the key features of implementing a successful living classroom — an innovative interprofessional approach to preparing students for successful careers working with seniors in long-term care and retirement living…. Continue reading

Reprinted from Conestoga College News

College administrators and faculty from across the province recently attended a full-day best practices workshop delivered by Conestoga’s Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care to discuss the key features of implementing a successful living classroom — an innovative interprofessional approach to preparing students for successful careers working with seniors in long-term care and retirement living.

Conestoga’s first Living Classroom opened in 2009 in partnership with Schlegel Villages at the Village of Riverside Glen in Guelph, and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA). In 2015, a second Living Classroom opened at the Village of University Gates in Waterloo.

The experiences of Conestoga, Schlegel Villages and RIA in developing these Living Classrooms has been compiled in an implementation guidebook for other institutions interested in launching similar models.

“Seniors deserve the health care they need and it’s our responsibility to develop a workforce that can serve them,” said Dr. Veronique Boscart, director of Conestoga’s Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care, as she welcomed participants at the Doon campus. “Today we want to focus on the Living Classroom and share our experiences, including what works well and what doesn’t.”

The motivation behind the first Living Classroom was to increase the number of personal support worker (PSW) and practical nursing graduates to meet workforce demands in Guelph. PSWs comprise more than 70 per cent of the staff in long-term care, but there aren’t enough of them to support the care needs of the growing older adult population. The situation is only expected to worsen over coming years as the population of seniors continues to grow.

Boscart stressed that the solution goes beyond just placing a classroom within a long-term care setting.

The Living Classroom is an interprofessional approach where a post-secondary program is delivered within the context of a long-term care home, with team members consisting of faculty, students, long-term care teams, residents and families who engage with each other within a culture of learning. Students bridge the gap between theoretical learning and clinical practice in the actual setting where they will eventually practice.

During the interactive workshop, Boscart introduced participants to the 10 building blocks for the Living Classroom, which are grouped under four stages of implementation: exploring the potential of a Living Classroom, developing the foundations, implementation, and promotion and sustainability.

The approach has proven successful with a variety of stakeholders, including residents and families, who report they have been positively impacted by the Living Classroom.

“I really do believe that we can change things,” said Boscart when discussing the current challenges of seniors’ care and the role colleges play in building a workforce that will contribute to the continual improvement of long-term care. “Together we are a lot stronger than we think we are.”

The Living Classroom at Riverside Glen delivers PSW programming, and both PSW and practical nursing students attend classes at The Village of University Gates. To date, more than 800 Conestoga graduates have trained at a Living Classroom and approximately 90 per cent of them continue to work with seniors.

The Schlegel Centre for Advancing Seniors Care at Conestoga College works in collaboration with Schlegel Villages and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging to develop innovative education, improve workforce development and strengthen care practices to support care for seniors and their families across Canada. It provides a hub for collaboration with partners to advance training and practice approaches and share best practices and resources to enhance seniors care and living.

Educating future LTC PSWs through a Living Classroom

The Living Classroom at Perley Rideau is based on a successful model introduced by Conestoga College and the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. The program meets all of the requirements for the one-year Ontario College PSW Program Certificate…. Continue reading

Reprinted from Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care

It’s hard to argue with the numbers. Government of Canada projections indicate that by 2030 nearly one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65. Less than a decade ago, this figure was closer to one in seven. At the same time, the pool of personal support workers (PSWs) in long-term care (LTC) has been declining to the point where the Ontario Personal Support Workers Association (OPSWA) refers to it as “an occupation in crisis.”

One LTC home in Ottawa South is doing something about it. In an effort to recruit motivated new PSWs into careers in long-term healthcare, the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre is going back to school. Or, rather, school is coming to them through an innovative Integrated Personal Support Worker (IPSW) project in partnership with Algonquin College’s School of Health and Community Studies.

They call it the Living Classroom, an interprofessional healthcare education program delivered on-site at the Perley Rideau campus. Working out of a specially outfitted classroom laboratory, Algonquin College PSW students learn theory and skills from their own teachers, and are then able to put what they’ve learned into practice by engaging with residents, families, and healthcare team members inside a real work setting. The first cohort graduated in January 2018.

The Living Classroom at Perley Rideau is based on a successful model introduced by Conestoga College and the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (CLRI) at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. The program meets all of the requirements for the one-year Ontario College PSW Program Certificate.

The environment for this IPSW immersive, shared learning project could not be more ideal. The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre is one of Ontario’s largest and most progressive LTC homes with 250 veteran residents and 200 community residents. It is also an innovative Seniors Village that also includes 139 independent-living apartments and a guest house. The Perley Rideau has a long history in the nation’s capital and was established in its present configuration in 1995. Today, it is served by 800 staff and 350 volunteers, and is rapidly positioning itself as a centre of excellence in frailty-informed care.

According to Director of Clinical Practice Jennifer Plant, plenty of opportunity exists for students to see how PSWs at Perley Rideau are treated as integral members of the healthcare team. The goal of the Living Classroom, she says, is ultimately to produce strong graduates who will want to take up staff positions in LTC.

“It’s very difficult to recruit healthcare professionals into long-term care,” Plant says. “By having the Living Classroom on site, we have an opportunity to showcase what we do so that students can see how our PSWs are valued as peer trainers and as members of our quality improvement teams that recommend, develop and implement leading practices.”

Research Coordinator Enrique Soto, PhD, a sociologist with an extensive background in health care research, has been with Perley Rideau since 2017, and is heavily involved in a comprehensive evaluation of the Living Classroom’s first cohort. The Ontario CLRI at Bruyère is assisting with the qualitative data analysis of the evaluation through the expertise of researcher Shelly Crick, PhD, and in sharing what is being learned through the offices of knowledge broker Michele Fleming.

“We thought this was a great way to partner with people who have the expertise and talent to help us with the evaluation,” Soto says.

Feedback from the participant questionnaires and focus group discussions following the first cohort graduation looks promising. PSW students who chose the immersive Living Classroom model over the standard model of college-based instruction interspersed with periods of clinical practice indicated they were more likely to go on to work as PSWs in LTC.

This is encouraging news to Plant, whose sights are squarely set on attracting strong healthcare recruits. She says that implementing evidence-informed practices such as the Living Classroom supports staff professional growth, which is key in improving the quality of resident care and patient safety.

“We continue to partner with the Ontario CLRI in building our Living Classroom,” Plant says. “We have a common goal in spreading innovation, and we want to make sure we are achieving this by showcasing the rewarding careers we can offer in long-term care.”

Algonquin College Personal Support Worker Program at Bonnechere Manor a Success!

In response to the nation-wide shortage of Personal Support Workers, Bonnechere Manor reached out to their long-time education partner Algonquin College to talk about providing an onsite program at their home. Consistent with the philosophy that Bonnechere Manor is the residents’ home first and foremost, the residents were consulted and enthusiastically welcomed the students into their spaces. Shelley Sheedy, Director of Long-Term Care for the County of Renfrew, says, “This program has truly been a win/win — on May 28, 2019 we held a job fair for area employers of PSWs so that our community could benefit from this partnership as well and this hard-working group of students will gain employment in their community. With our residents, we celebrate the PSW students who participated in the program.”… Continue reading

Reprinted by permission from Manor Banner, Summer 2019

In response to the nation-wide shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSW) — the backbone of nursing and personal care services in long-term care — Bonnechere Manor reached out to their long-time education partner Algonquin College to talk about providing an onsite program at their home. Shelley Sheedy, Director of Long-Term Care for the County of Renfrew, says, “I simply contacted Jamie Bramburger, Acting Dean, last fall and within a couple of discussions, we had an agreement to trial an onsite PSW program at the Manor starting in January 2019.” Mrs. Sheedy notes that, consistent with the philosophy that Bonnechere Manor is the residents’ home first and foremost, the residents were consulted and enthusiastically welcomed the students into their spaces. “This program has truly been a win/win — on May 28, 2019 we held a job fair for area employers of PSWs so that our community could benefit from this partnership as well and this hard-working group of students will gain employment in their community. With our residents, we celebrate the PSW students who participated in the program.”

Bonnechere Manor resident Peter English said, “The students were fantastic! It was wonderful to be able to welcome them into our home as they learned how to be awesome PSWs!”

Jamie Bramburger, Acting Dean at the Pembroke Waterfront Campus, added, “This has been a wonderful partnership and we are so pleased to celebrate the success of our Personal Support Worker students as they complete their program. This is a wonderful example of how the College can collaborate with our community to address labour market challenges for our organizational partners. We congratulate all of our soon to be graduates, and we sincerely thank Bonnechere Manor for their leadership in helping us deliver the program in Renfrew.”

PSW student Richard Leavoy said, “The partnership between the College and Bonnechere Manor has given us students an amazing opportunity to learn and practice in the field all at the same time. Getting to meet and work with the residents and staff was a great experience. This is truly different from any other classroom I’ve been in. The teachers at school really worked hard to make sure we had a great experience and I would highly recommend anyone on the fence to really consider taking this program.”

Based on this positive experience, Bonnechere Manor is excited to be in discussions with Algonquin College about planning another PSW program onsite.

Growing Partnership with Niagara College

In September, Radiant Care and Niagara College will be taking their partnership to a new level by offering an entirely on-site PSW program at Tabor Manor with some unused rooms being converted into living classrooms, complete with Long-Term Care beds and virtual, electronic residents, as well as direct access to Tabor Manor’s Long-Term Care home and Community Support Service program, in order to fulfill program clinical placement requirements…. Continue reading

Reprinted from Radiant Care News

Radiant Care’s growing relationship with Niagara College is improving the lives of employees, residents, tenants, and seniors in our community, with new initiatives on the horizon.

Radiant Care and Niagara College have an ongoing partnership through which Niagara College Nursing students complete clinical placements at Radiant Care to develop their Nursing skills and gain experience working in the Long-Term Care and Community Support Service sectors.

In September, Radiant Care and Niagara College will be taking the partnership to a new level by offering an entirely on-site PSW program at Tabor Manor with some unused rooms being converted into living classrooms, complete with Long-Term Care beds and virtual, electronic residents, as well as direct access to Tabor Manor’s Long-Term Care home and Community Support Service program, in order to fulfill program clinical placement requirements. The innovative curriculum is geared to student needs through modular design, thereby striking a balance between training and work. The first class is scheduled to begin in September, with current enrollment of 24 students. This program will impact clients directly through the provision of contemporary models of care, as well as a steady volume of much-needed skilled workers.

It is through innovative partnerships such as this, that Radiant Care seeks to make an impact in addressing local Health Human Resource challenges for itself and within the broader sector.

Newest Living Classroom opens in Hamilton

Schlegel Villages, the Schlegel-UW Research Institute of Aging (RIA) and Mohawk College have partnered to open a third Living Classroom at the Village of Wentworth Heights in Hamilton. … Continue reading

Schlegel Villages, the Schlegel-UW Research Institute of Aging (RIA) and Mohawk College have partnered to open a third Living Classroom at the Village of Wentworth Heights in Hamilton.

In this new location, Mohawk College students enrolled in the personal support worker program have access to a classroom, computer lab, skills lab, faculty offices, a student lounge and a mock apartment identical to those at the long-term care home where the classroom is embedded. They will also work directly within the Wentworth Heights community right from the start, getting hands-on experience with residents and team members.

The Living Classroom was developed as an innovative educational experience to encourage students to pursue a career path working with older adults. Living Classroom graduates are often better prepared to support the changing needs of the aging population, building workforce capacity in the senior living sector. This model of experiential learning was first developed in partnership with the RIA and Conestoga College.

Crystal Lee, a student enrolled in the Mohawk program is excited by the opportunities the Living Classroom offers. “It means a lot to be in the Village because this is what I want to do, this is my calling. With this experience I think there is a better chance for me to get a job right out of the program.”

At the opening on January 31, James Schlegel, President of Schlegel Villages, talked about the Living Classroom program as an opportunity for learners to be integrated right into the village to enhance their learning experience and enhance the lives of residents as well.

“The Living Classroom creates a rich learning experience for students and encourages Wentworth Heights residents and team members to be part of the learning environment as coaches and mentors thus bringing more meaning to their lives and work respectively — a true triple win!”

The Wentworth Heights program is the third Living Classroom to open at Schlegel Villages. The first opened at the Village of Riverside Glen (Guelph, Ontario) in 2009 and the second opened at The Village of University Gates (Waterloo, Ontario) in 2015 in partnership with the RIA.

Read more about the Living Classroom at Wentworth Heights on the Mohawk College website.

Discover the new PSW training facility at the Village of Wentworth Heights

Mohawk College and Schlegel Villages are collaborating to launch a new Living Classroom in Hamilton. Classes begin in January 2019…. Continue reading

Mohawk College and Schlegel Villages are collaborating to launch a new Living Classroom in Hamilton. Classes begin in January 2019.

The Personal Support Worker Program at Mohawk College in Hamilton is taught using a variety of methods, including online, classroom lecture, clinical and lab experiences and field placement.

Complete your certificate with a focus in gerontology by working with adults at the new training facility at The Village of Wentworth Heights.

For more information about the PSW Program, visit www.mohawkcollege.ca.

Now That’s Innovation. Sault College and Algoma Manor Team Up in Thessalon.

Reprinted by permission from Sault Online

There is a shortage of health care workers in our community. In response to this community need, Sault College developed a unique partnership with Algoma Manor in Thessalon to offer the Personal Support Worker (PSW) program directly in the community.

The partnership with Algoma Manor was developed by the College through its Continuing Education and Employment Solutions departments. The joint effort was made to assist rural communities along the north shore, who are having difficulty filling PSW vacancies. “The need for more PSWs in the area was identified by Algoma Manor and Employment Solutions Blind River,” said Lori Crosson, Program Manager, Continuing Education, Sault College. “Once these needs were identified, we worked together on offering the program to assist employers and our students. We are focused on providing access to education for all and this was one way we could help to accomplish this goal,” she added.

The program, which is offered through Sault College’s Continuing Education department, began May 24 and runs through to mid-December. It currently has 16 full-time students, eleven of which are sponsored by Algoma Manor through the Canada Ontario Job Grant (COJG). Other students have been sponsored by various businesses, Indigenous supports and through the Second Career program.

COJG provides opportunities for employers, individually or in groups, to increase the skills of their workforce with help from the government. COJG provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia applicants who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver training to employees.

The programming takes place at Algoma Manor with Sault College instructors delivering the curriculum. For Algoma Manor offering this program is critical to the service they provide. “It is a truly unique opportunity to be able to receive a post-secondary education in a rural community and have it covered financially through the Ontario Canada Job Grant. It is a wonderful example of how grant dollars can be used to the maximum in an integrated approach” said Pam Ficociello, Director of Care Algoma Manor.

While registration for this particular program is closed, Sault College Continuing Education will be offering a full-time online PSW program beginning fall 2018. Sault College is also offering its full-time PSW on campus program beginning fall 2018.

Employers interested in supporting new or current staff in becoming qualified PSWs, please contact Lori Crosson at 705-759-2554 ext. 2442 or lori.crosson@saultcollege.ca.

For more information about the COJG or to learn how employers can get up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs and up to $15,000 to hire and train new employees, please contact Employment Solutions 705-945-0705, 421 Bay Street Station Tower 4th floor and ask to speak with the COJG specialist.

The vision of Sault College is to provide a transformative life experience through empowering those who study with us to think and learn in progressive, innovative ways, including those we have not yet imagined. Sault College grants Ontario College certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas, graduate certificates, and degrees to its graduates. The College is the largest deliverer of apprenticeship training in all of Northern Ontario. Sault College has a significant economic impact on the community, with spinoffs in excess of $158 million. Over $1.8 million dollars in scholarships, bursaries and awards are distributed annually to students at the College. Located on the border to the United States and situated in the middle of three of the largest Great Lakes on the planet, Sault College is one of 24 publicly-funded colleges in the province of Ontario.

Bonnechere Manor Partners with Algonquin College to Offer Personal Support Worker Program Onsite

A critical shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSW) in Renfrew has led to a partnership between Algonquin College and the County of Renfrew to deliver a PSW program at Bonnechere Manor. The program will begin in January of 2019 and will be solely delivered at the long-term care home, providing students with an exceptional opportunity to learn within one of the largest health care settings in the county…. Continue reading

Reprinted from County of Renfrew News

RENFREW, ON: A critical shortage of Personal Support Workers (PSW) in Renfrew has led to a partnership between Algonquin College and the County of Renfrew to deliver a PSW program at Bonnechere Manor. The program will begin in January of 2019 and will be solely delivered at the long-term care home, providing students with an exceptional opportunity to learn within one of the largest health care settings in the county.

Bonnechere Manor’s Director of Long-Term Care, Shelley Sheedy, says it’s an exciting partnership, particularly for students. “Immersion in our home’s setting will ensure the students acquire the values required to work in a long-term care environment. Our residents and staff are very familiar with having Algonquin students on site and welcome this more integrated partnership,” says Sheedy.

Over the past several months, Bonnechere Manor as well as other health care providers in the region, have had difficulty filling Personal Support Worker positions. An aging population has put a lot of pressure on the health care system and PSW’s are on the front line in providing support services to the elderly and adults who need personal care.

Algonquin College’s Chair of Health and Community Studies, Megan Conway, says the College’s top priority is to create programming opportunities that meet the demands of the labour market. “In this situation we have a health care partner that is struggling to fill vacancies for Personal Support Workers and is willing to make space available to the college to deliver a program. This is a great example of a collaborative learning model that benefits the employer, students and the college. We are very pleased to offer this program in Renfrew where the need for highly trained PSW’s is great and currently unmet.”

Elected officials with the County of Renfrew are highly supportive of the partnership. County Warden Jennifer Murphy calls it a proactive step that “Supports Bonnechere Manor’s longer-range PSW recruitment plan, adding it also helps the many other health care organizations that rely on PSW’s as the backbone of their health care teams.”

Bonnechere Manor is a 180 bed long-term care home that has been operating in Renfrew since 1958. The Home provides 24 hour nursing care, accommodations, meals, physiotherapy programs and a variety of social and recreational activities for its residents.

Algonquin College has been operating since 1967 and offers 21 full-time programs at its Pembroke Campus. The College delivers several health care programs including Personal Support Worker, Practical Nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Over the years, students in these programs have benefitted from clinical placements provided at several health care facilities including Bonnechere Manor.

For more information, visit our website at www.countyofrenfrew.on.ca or call:

Shelley Sheedy, Director of Long-Term Care, 613 433-8307
Michael Barber, Media Relations/Grants Coordinator, 613-735-7288


Algonquin College – Personal Support Worker Program – Bonnechere Manor Official Announcement

Supporting long-term care students, staff

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…. Continue reading

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.