Updated on October 13, 2022
In Ontario, personal support workers (PSWs) can either work for publicly funded healthcare facilities or for private companies that offer similar services. In this article we will focus on private PSWs, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of going the private way in this career, and ultimately helping you decide if working as a private PSW is right for you.
Private personal support workers are caregiving professionals that work for privately owned healthcare organizations, such as private home care agencies, nursing homes, and long-term care centers. In Ontario, where home care is publicly funded, these private companies provide much-needed relief to families that don’t qualify for publicly funded care or families that do but want to add extra hours or services to their current care plan.
Privately owned healthcare organizations are constantly hiring personal support workers to work with the elderly, children, people with disabilities, or even expecting mothers, helping them become more independent. These services are usually paid for by patients and clients through financial support, private insurance, employee benefit plans, or out-of-pocket.
Private PSWs can also work on their own as independent caregivers, without the representation of a home care agency. Those who work under this format usually advertise their services online or get recommended to families in need through word of mouth in a community.
Families looking to hire a caregiver for a loved one often ask if private PSW services are the same as those offered by publicly funded healthcare and long-term care facilities, and the answer is yes. Private companies offering home care and private nursing homes can even go above and beyond to accommodate their clients and their families.
What does this mean for a caregiver who wants to offer private PSW services? On one side, this means caregivers will have multiple opportunities to develop additional skills and may even become specially trained in particular areas within the field, such as dementia care. On the other side, it means that PSWs working in the private sector will probably have to perform more tasks than they would at a public facility, which can add up to their workload and negatively affect their stress levels, even if they have a flexible schedule.
One of the first decisions a recent PSW graduate needs to make is working in either the public or the private sector. Or course, they both have their benefits and their challenges. These are some of the pros of a private PSW job:
As a private PSW, you usually get to choose your hours, the services you can provide, and the number of families you want to work with at a time. Independent PSWs get even more flexibility because they get to negotiate the terms of their services on their own and set a schedule that suits them best. Having this freedom is something that part-time or occasional caregivers appreciate the most about working in the private sector because it allows them to keep other jobs and attend to other responsibilities they might have.
Private PSWs get to accumulate more work experience faster because they get to enter the workforce right away once they complete their training, which lasts for less than a year. This allows them to develop their nursing and social skills in a variety of settings and with many different types of clients, something that will benefit them as they move forward in their careers.
Since privately owned healthcare organizations are constantly looking for new staff members, there are plenty of job opportunities in the private sector for PSWs and in multiple settings, not just home care agencies.
Thanks to the diverse work experience that working as a private PSWs provides, caregivers have the opportunity to easily transition into other careers in healthcare and become nurses or pharmacy assistants, for instance.
Read More: How To Transition From PSW To Nursing
Personal support workers have the opportunity to do meaningful work for their communities, making a positive difference in the lives of those who they care for. They get to spend quality time with their patients and clients in their own homes, easing their pains, helping them in their daily activities, and providing them with company and conversation that contributes to their mental and emotional health. This is one perk that other careers in healthcare don’t have.
These are some of the cons of working a private PSW job:
Personal support workers in the private sector usually work for home care agencies or are directly hired by families to care for their loved ones in their own homes, instead of going through public health care or hospital services. In this type of setting, their work tends to be more intensive because they work longer hours and provide many additional services like grocery shopping, cooking, companionship, administering medications, or supporting the entire family.
The personal support workers that work in a home care agency, private hospices, long-term care facilities, or nursing homes usually provide services to multiple patients or families at a time, which multiplies their workload and leaves little time for a healthy work-life balance.
Often, private nursing homes and similar facilities offer rotating shifts to their PSWs or keep them in an on-call status, without giving them the option of working regular hours. As a result, their pay changes from one week to another and they usually have a hard time scheduling other activities since they never know when they will have to work.
In Toronto, numerous companies offer private PSW jobs to caregivers at every stage of their careers. In this highly populated city, entry-level and experienced caregivers can find opportunities to work part-time, full-time, or occasionally, as a side job. Workers can also choose between home care agencies and on-site facilities, depending on their needs and preferences. Another positive aspect of working in Toronto is the possibility of finding work close to home since there are private long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and home care providers across the GTA.
Ottawa is another great location for caregivers looking for private PSW jobs considering it is the fourth-largest city and fourth-largest metropolitan area in Canada. Healthcare workers can also benefit from its proximity to Quebec to open up their job search and explore opportunities on the other side of the river. It should be noted that many employers look for bilingual caregivers (English and French) more than anywhere else in the country, so Ottawa is perfect for people who speak both official languages, but maybe not so much for those who don’t. Overall, Ottawa has an expanding job market eager to find more talent to work in all the different areas that integrate the healthcare sector, so it is highly recommended for newcomers and locals alike. Lots Of Part-Time PSW Jobs In Ontario
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In conclusion, the demand for a personal support worker in Ontario keeps increasing and this caregiving career remains among the most attractive for people looking for a new professional path or for recent high school graduates looking to work in the healthcare sector without investing the amount of time and resources necessary to get an education in most of the other occupations. Working as a private PSW is just one of the ways people can start their career in this field, and like any other type of job, people should consider every pro and con before making a final decision about it.
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