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

Seniors’ Care Enriched by Living Classroom Model

Reprinted from Impact Stories, Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

Personal support workers (PSWs) provide hands-on care for more than 80,000 long-term care residents across Ontario. Their role in our healthcare system is vital to the well-being, health and quality of life of older adults.

In early 2020, a report from the Ontario Health Coalition drew attention to the escalating issue of PSW shortages in the province, which are now at crisis-level. The report raised daunting concerns for resident care and safety.

The Living Classroom partnership model addresses these challenges and profiles long-term care (LTC) and senior living as a rewarding career opportunity.

The Living Classroom partnership model was first implemented in the province in 2009 through a collaboration with Conestoga College, the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging and Schlegel Villages. Stemming from a shared vision to improve quality of life and care for LTC residents by training work-ready PSWs, the Living Classroom brings employers, educators, students, and residents together. Training takes place directly in LTC homes, providing real-world experience for students and mentorship opportunities for residents, while enabling employers to hire new graduates who understand the sector and are more confident about working with older adults.

The Living Classroom partnership model has been tested and evaluated in long-term care and retirement homes in both Guelph and Waterloo, with a recent publication in the journal Educational Gerontology providing evidence to support its success.

With support from the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care at the RIA, the Living Classroom model is being shared across Ontario. In 2020, the model was adopted by the St. Louis Adult Learning and Continuing Education Centres with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board.

“We were looking for creative solutions to address space constraints and to enhance the learning experience,” says Tammy Cantin, Program Manager of PSW Training at St. Louis.

“I heard about the Living Classroom through network meetings. It seemed like the ideal approach to meet both the needs of St. Louis and the community. We worked through the Implementation Guide provided to us by the RIA and then began looking for care partners who might be ready to try out this model with us.”

After eight months of exploring potential partnerships, St. Louis identified local care providers interested in adopting the model. Fairview Seniors Community in Cambridge, Ontario was ready to collaborate.

St. Louis and Fairview partnered and worked to transform unused space at the seniors community into a new classroom, complete with equipment to build hands-on skills, as well as a kitchenette and break room.

The first cohort of St. Louis students began their learning experience in October 2020.

“We wanted to explore innovative ways to encourage people to get involved in the rewarding field of caring for seniors,” says Elaine Shantz, CEO of Fairview and Parkwood Seniors Communities.

“The Living Classroom allows students to experience the incredible privilege of working with older adults. Not only are they learning practical skills to work in their field, they’re also fostering rich interpersonal skills – building relationships, evaluating how this work fits with their career goals, and gaining real-life experience so they can hit the ground running after graduation. It’s a unique learning opportunity.”

The partnership and adoption of the Living Classroom model also benefit residents and employers.

“Our residents enjoy connecting with younger adults; they benefit socially and mentally from the rewarding interactions with students,” says Shantz.

“From a workforce standpoint, we get to know students and can hire directly out of the program. The transition into employment is smooth and comfortable for students. The process is efficient for us. When the experience is mutually beneficial, we see higher retention rates. And that’s exactly what Ontario needs right now.”

While COVID-19 has affected the program’s enrollment capacity and interactive features for 2020-2021, both St. Louis and the Fairview Seniors Community expect that the Living Classroom experience will only get better.

“We’re excited to see how this model will look without pandemic restrictions,” says Tammy Cantin.

“But already we’re seeing meaningful impact for everyone involved. If we could run all of our classes this way, we would.”

The Living Classroom model is a prime example of how the RIA drives innovation to solve real-world problems and enhance quality of life and care for older adults.

To learn more about the Living Classroom, click here.

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

Reprinted from Bruyere News

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.

Partnership creates living classroom and real-world experience for PSW students

When Marie Vincent Enclonar starts her clinical placement at Radiant Care Tabor Manor this month, she’ll be familiar with the long-term care home. That’s because Vincent Enclonar, who’s enrolled in Niagara College’s one-year Personal Support Worker program, has already spent part of her studies at the St. Catharines long-term care home thanks to an innovative partnership between the College and Radiant Care…. Continue reading

Niagara College Personal Support Worker student Marie Vincent Enclonar (right, foreground) with her classmates (from left) Aishdeep Kaur and Baljit Kaur, and Radiant Care CEO Tim Siemens. Radiant Care has partnered with the college to create a living classroom where students can learn and practise critical skills to prepare for their careers.

Story by Tiffany Mayer. Reprinted from Inside NC, January 20, 2021.

When Marie Vincent Enclonar starts her clinical placement at Radiant Care Tabor Manor this month, she’ll be familiar with the long-term care home.

That’s because Vincent Enclonar, who’s enrolled in Niagara College’s one-year Personal Support Worker program, has already spent part of her studies at the St. Catharines long-term care home thanks to an innovative partnership between the College and Radiant Care.

The St. Catharines campus of care for seniors donated space specifically for NC students, including Vincent Enclonar, to complete their lab work in their first term of studies and get acquainted with Tabor Manor staff before completing the practical, hands-on component of the PSW program with residents in Term 2.

“It’s nice we’re in that setting. I’m familiar with Tabor Manor so doing the clinical placement, it will be easier,” Vincent Enclonar said.

The partnership between Niagara College and Radiant Care was forged in 2019 after Tabor Manor opened new, state-of-the-art long-term care rooms that saw an older part of the facility mothballed.

An innovative partnership

Tim Siemens, Radiant Care’s CEO, approached the College about converting the excess space into a rent-free living classroom where students could train for work in a fast-growing profession. Three former resident rooms were renovated and set up like current lodgings. Students use mannequins in this living classroom to practise critical skills, including how to safely lift and transfer residents to do bed changes before working directly with residents.

In addition, they learn the soft skills of establishing dynamic relationships with residents, and providing care in a loving and compassionate way, Siemens explained.

“The best lab is one set up in a real environment. A graduating PSW must have long-term care placement and must have community placement, and Tabor Manor is positioned really well that they could do both on site,” Siemens said. “Campuses of care in Ontario are set up very well to engage in these partnerships with academic partners.”

The partnership, he noted, isn’t just a boon for students. Such initiatives provide a pipeline of future employees to Radiant Care, which will see its staffing requirements grow in the years ahead.

Last fall, the province approved 38 new spaces, in addition to 81 previously allocated new beds and 41 upgraded spaces, to create a 160-bed home at Radiant Care Pleasant Manor in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Radiant care will need to hire about 100 additional PSWs over the next few years to meet the demands of the larger campus of care, Siemens said.

Niagara is also home to 31 long-term care homes that will also require a stable and reliable pool of PSW candidates from which to hire, he noted.

Filling a need in long-term care

In addition, Radiant Care will hire more Registered Nurses, Registered Practical Nurses and dietary aides. “What are we doing locally to increase the supply and what are we, Radiant Care, doing in concert with academic partnerships to affect the supply side?” Siemens said. “The partnership with Niagara College and the living classroom is exclusive to the PSW program, but our relationship extends beyond the classroom to those other job categories.”

Such partnerships are becoming more common, and increasingly important, noted Carolyn Triemstra, NC’s dean of Community and Health Studies.

“We really want to get students out there and supporting the community, and to help with the health-care crisis and health-care needs,” Triemstra said. “It’s quite an amazing story because certainly there are other colleges that have relationships with living classrooms. The synergies between Radiant Care and Niagara College are really in line. They’re local and have the capacity to support students.”

And they get students excited about their future careers.

“It makes me feel more encouraged to do well in my studies,” Vincent Enclonar said. “I’m looking forward to working as a PSW.”

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:

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