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PSW vs. HSW: Do You Know the Difference?

There may come a time when you or a loved one are looking for extra support at home. You’ll come to learn that Personal Support Workers (PSW) and Home Support Workers (HSW) perform similar duties. However, there are many differences between these two types of caregivers, including their responsibilities, qualifications, and price.

 

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Personal Support Worker

When an individual has difficulty performing daily tasks, such as bathing, they may benefit from having extra help at home. Personal Support Workers are best suited to provide this type of care. Personal Support Workers are trained to perform lifts and transfers so that they can safely help patients with the following:

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Getting dressed
  • Toileting

Personal Support Workers also provide the following services:

  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Medication reminders
  • Watchful companionship
  • Escorting to medical appointments and social events

In addition to caring for individuals in their homes, PSWs can provide care in these common health care facilities:

  • Hospitals
  • Retirement homes and long-term care homes
  • Community care centres
  • Social and family service centres

 

The Roles and Responsibilities of a Home Support Worker

The main difference between a PSW and HSW is that HSW’s are not allowed to have physical contact with clients. Personal Support Workers can help their patients with personal daily needs that require lifts and transfers; however this is not the case for Home Support Workers.

Individuals that require help around their home, but don’t require any assistance involving physical contact may benefit from a Home Support Worker. HSWs visit individuals’ homes and help with the following:

  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Medication reminders
  • Watchful companionship
  • Escorting to medical appointments and social events

Notice that a HSW performs many of the same tasks as a PSW, with the exception of ones that require physical contact, such as toileting, getting dressed, and grooming/bathing. Since HSWs do not physically touch clients, their scope of practice isn’t as broad. This is reflected in the cheaper price point (see Price Comparison below).

Additionally, unlike Personal Support Workers who work in a variety of different settings and health care facilities, Home Support Workers only work in individuals’ homes.

 

Education Needed to Become a Personal Support Worker

In order to become a Personal Support Worker, the completion of a PSW certificate program is recommended, and if working in publicly funded home care settings, program completion may be mandatory. A typical PSW program is 2 semesters (8 months in length) and will include 6 weeks of first-hand experience in a long-term care facility or hospital.  Unlike other health care professions such as nursing that require an association membership, PSWs are not required, but have the option of joining the newly established Ontario Personal Support Worker Association (OPSWA).

 

Education Needed to Become a Home Support Worker

The main difference between a PSW and HSW in terms of education is that there aren’t any mandatory certificates or post-secondary education available specifically for HSWs. The only education required to become a HSW is an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent.

Since both roles involve caring for individuals in difficult circumstances, including illness and ageing, it is mandatory for PSWs to have CPR/First Aid Training; this training is not necessary for HSWs but is preferred by employers.

 

Price Comparison Between a PSW and a HSW

Oftentimes, individuals qualify for publicly funded care coordinated by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs), and the LHIN will determine the type of care you’ll receive. However, if you’re paying privately for home care, you’ll notice a big difference between the price of a PSW and a HSW.

Personal Support Workers are usually priced between $26-33 per hour, whereas a Home Support Worker is usually priced between $20-27. Prices will vary based on the organization, but generally speaking they will be within this range.

*For more information about publicly funded home care vs. private home care and how to choose the best provider, check out this guide.

 

PSW vs. HSW: Which One Do I Need?

If you need a caregiver but don’t require help with personal care that involves physical contact, a Home Support Worker is the right choice for you. A HSW is the more affordable solution for individuals that require extra help around home, but don’t need physical assistance with bathing, toileting, etc. However, if you do require physical assistance, then a Personal Support Worker would be the right choice for you.

PSW pushing wheelchair

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between a PSW vs. HSW, you’ll be able to choose the right type of caregiver when the time comes.

Our Personal Support Workers and Home Support Workers are available 24/7 to ensure you receive the care that you need, when you need it. Contact Us today to learn more.

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