What does a PSW actually do?
PSWs help with what we call “activities of daily living”. To put it in a nutshell, PSWs do the things a person would normally do for themselves but cannot due to age, illness, or infirmity. This is a wide variety of tasks ranging from basic homemaking to healthcare services within our scope of practice. Here is a non-exclusive list of some of the things we can help you or your loved one with, remembering that each client will need a varying degree of physical assistance with each given task:
- Companionship and recreation: providing for the social needs by spending time with clients, chatting, playing games or cards, doing crafts, having tea, or whatever is your loved one enjoys doing
- Exercise: accompany on walks, basic range of motion exercises, seated exercise program for the elderly, assist with client-specific physiotherapist recommended exercises
- Bathing/showering: assistance ranging from just a hand to get into/out of the tub/shower to full physical assist, bed baths
- Medication assistance: physical assistance taking pre-poured prescription medications, ensuring clients remember to take medications on-time
- Transfers: safely moving from one surface to another – getting in or out of a bed, wheelchair, etc, using transfer boards and a variety of mechanical and non-mechanical lifts and transfer devices
- Meal planning and preparation: preparing healthy meals or snacks
- Dressing: selection of appropriate clothing, physical assistance getting dressed, ensuring dirty clothes/bedding are making it to the laundry
- Grooming: facial shaving, nail care, hair brushing
- Oral hygiene
- Repositioning and wound care: moving clients in bed to prevent sores, using pillows in a skillful manner to prevent sores in common pressure spots, monitoring skin and development/healing of sores, applying barrier creams, maintain dressings in chronic wound care
- Foot care: nail trimming, foot soaking, skin care—I do not at this time have the tools to treat corns, calluses, etc.
- Feeding: ensuring safety with those who have special diets, thickened fluids, or trouble swallowing, or trouble using utensils
- Ostomy care: emptying and changing colostomy/ileostomy bags
- Catheter care: emptying (and measuring/recording if desired) contents, changing from night to day bags and vice versa, catheter bag maintenance,
- Light household duties: laundry, housekeeping
- Palliative care: assisting with personal care and being there to comfort and journey with those approaching end-of-life
- Respite care: spending time with clients so that family caregivers can get away and take a much-needed break.
I assist my clients with whatever it is they need to live as independently, safely, and comfortably as possible. Feel free to cherry pick from the list above, and if there is a need that’s not on the list, reach out to me via the contact form below, email or telephone to see if what you have in mind is something I can do.