Is something wrong with PSWs in Durham?

It seems as if something is wrong with the Personal Support Worker (PSW) agencies in Durham region.

For a few months, up into the existing day, I have had issues with the agencies. I realize that PSWs are human and have legitimate excuses, but one would wonder what is going on when they are having so much trouble getting PSWs to look after their clients.

The point is; if there weren’t clients, these agencies wouldn’t be in business. As I understand, there are a number of clients having a wide variety of health issues and physical conditions where they need the assistance from PSWs.

Therefore, I believe PSW agencies should have some type of back-up plan to cover their clients.

In my particular case, the agency will call me and tell me they have no one to cover me on my regular schedule, or the PSW that is on the schedule will call me between 4 pm and 5 pm wanting to put me to bed — and I’m not even at home at that time, especially on weekends.

Or the agency sends out schedules of times when the PSWs are supposed to be coming. For some time, they were adequate. But lately, we can’t even go by the schedule. For some reason, there seem to be issues with the scheduler in the agency not having adequate geographical coverage of the area where clients live.

Garry Cuthbert

PSW’s who are regular, have a connection with the client, and the service goes along smoothly. But for some reason, a regular PSW is taken off and a new PSW is assigned. In some cases, the new PSW doesn’t even show up.

There are a lot of PSWs calling in sick and/or on vacation, and in many cases not even showing up and the client is left hanging without having their care plan provided.

A few of the new PSWs are there for the paycheck and do not really understand the noble role of the job.

There is good and bad in every type of job, but there seems to be a strong indication that the agencies are struggling to have adequate and efficient staff.

Something needs to be done as there are many voiceless not getting adequate care.

Additional Info: To find out everything you need to know about the Roles and Responsibilities of Registered PSWs, click here.

Note: The author is a PSW client and the views expressed here are solely those of the author.

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10 thoughts on “Is something wrong with PSWs in Durham?

  1. It’s really all about the money, there are excellent homes and attending care available but it is not cheap, unfortunately many people have little or no funds and depend on Government subsidized care that is frequently run on a shoe string budget to get the job done.
    I would like to see some changes to the law that discourages people from stripping their elderly relatives of their assets and then expecting the taxpayer to foot the care bill because little or no funds are available to the elderly person involved.

  2. As a PSW that goes into peoples residence it is not just the agency that hire us it starts at the beginning of the government bureaucracy
    LIHIN formerly CCAC ( why was money spent to change name, business cards, Headings on Letterhead etc etc) when they initially enter client in system most times it’s done at their desks instead of paying a home visit to fully be aware of client needs
    PSW stands for Personal Support Worker not Glorified Housekeeper ( which if a client was to hire privately would make more money that a PSW) (let’s say a PSW was to make $19.00/hr more responsibilitiy on Personal Care than a Housekeeper that can make $25.00-30.00 /hr )
    This initial assessment is then passed onto agency that you are referring to then from there they TRY to assign client with PSW keep in mind there is a major shortage of for many reasons. The care plan is set according to what first agency has told second agency so I have been assigned a client for 2hrs to do Personal Care,Meal Prep,LIGHT housekeeping I arrive and client tells me that they have taken their shower (no assistance) n all they need me to do is water plants n sweep what am I DOING THERE FOR 2HRS
    SORRY I am going to wrap this up as this is 1 HARD WORKING PSW that can go on and on and yes there are PSW that are there just for the money
    So what I am trying to say is we need someone to look at the top of the chain then etc etc n at end of all speak with the PSW’s
    Thank You

  3. I am a retired PSW. In 2013, I went to stay with my parents as my father was palliative. I assisted my parents in setting up morning and evening care for my Dad with my Mom and I assisting with the day to day care. Let me be clear here. My father wasn’t in the end stages but definitely needed more care than my Mom and I could provide.
    It took several months to finally have reliable and dependable, consistent care. At the time, my early retirement was due to a severe accident at work, which forced me into severe and traumatic life changes. Because the agency had knowledge of my situation, they took advantage of me. It took along time coupled with my knowledge of the rights and policies of in home care, I was able to achieve the care my father required without relying on me to cover the morning showers and nighttime care which was happening. It is not the fault of the PSW, but the inability of the scheduling team and lack of communication. There was no physical care plan in place until I myself put on in place.
    Why is there a lack of steady PSW’s in place?
    It’s a simple matter of the lack of respect for frontline PSW’s and overworking them to the point of physical duress. For most PSW’s, it’s a matter of fair compensation and respect for the education and knowledge they carry.

  4. First of all I have to say I love my jobs ….yes plural I work for home care monday to friday for my person and love her to bits….and then on the weekends I work in a facility environment I love both jobs ,but
    I dont dare leave my homecare for anything when i first started i would take a day off once in a while for appointments as I have 3 kids but I have become to notice the people that would come to replace me could not even speak the clients language and did not seem to know what she was doing….it just scared me because some of these homecare companies hire people with a 6 month online course that I am sorry but did they do the course or pay someone else to…sorry I really respect anyone that is willing to help and my mom did this type of work a long time ago for 30 some years and loved it but she was doctored in know you get hired and trown in you better learn to swim or drown.

  5. As a psw I go in to homes I love my job very much and the most i love about my job is that i get to help seniors to stay in their homes longer . The money is not there but I do work alot of hours. But the company I work for iz great also

  6. There is not a shortage of PSW’s but most have quit and gone to do other work due to lack of respect and compensation for this job. !00% agree with Wendy.

  7. I worked as a RPN in home care for almost a year. I’m not a PSW, however I can tell you from personal experience most PSWs and Nurses in home care are paid poorly and are not treated with respect by the employer. The scheduling in an issue because of the high turn over rate and disregard for your work life balance. The turn over rate is high because of the lack of consistency of hours, poor pay, poor communication of the job expectations, lack of respect for your work-life balance and a general disregard for your safety. Here is some examples of what I experienced: Many times I would commit to working every other weekend 8 to 5 and end up being scheduled 12-14 hours when I can’t actually work that many hours. I had this happen to me sooo many times! I already had another job, and children to care for and would have to call the scheduling department or management and tell them hey you overbooked me, it’s my daughters dance rehearsal, or I am already working night shift that day too. I told you when I submitted my availability over a month ago I can’t work more than this. The guilt you feel hearing that because you can’t help them beyond that means several clients may not be seen is awful. They would stop overbooking me for about 3 weeks and then bam back at it again! Then on Tuesday, I would get my client list and have 1 hours of work! I am not kidding! I would be asked to drive an hour away from home for 1 hour of care and be expected to pay for daycare. I literally had to explain to my boss that I was paying out more money to work than making and I can’t survive like that. I had to email management more than one time and remind them of the labour laws that state you cannot schedule a worker less than 4 hours. Then there is safety. I use to get scheduled clients who required 2 person assistance all the time. How am I suppose to change a dressing on a wound on the coccyx, by myself on a 250 pound man who cannot roll? Or I would get scheduled to care for a client who needed certain treatments that I did not have the training to do. That happened daily. I would have to turn back clients the scheduling department already knew I couldn’t see when they sent me the list for the next day. I got so fed up I quit. This is just a few of the things I can tell you, there is wayyy more! My advice for any client who is experiencing this kind of treatment- call and speak directly with the manager responsible for your care. Yes I assure you there is one. There is someone behind the scenes who is the boss. Find out who and call them. Tell them what is going on. The frontline workers do their best, but we need you to advocate as well and talk directly to the people who are responsible for the workloads, hiring and scheduling. They need to hear from you what we are already telling them because they don’t listen to us! Best of luck!

  8. The problem is not the PSW.

    It’s who they work for!

    Underpaid. No guarantee of hours. I’m not making myself available to work a 10-12 day and only get 5 hours.

    Better money working at Tim hortons!!

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