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Senior Care- PSW starts her day

A Day in the Life of A PSW

PSWs have always been heroes in our books. They dedicate their lives to caring for older adults, who are among the most vulnerable in our community.

Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis and even more so since the shortcomings in Canada’s long-term care facilities were brought to light, more and more people are finally appreciating these unsung heroes. Still, it’s important for us to provide a true picture of just how difficult this job is.

To do this, we would like to introduce you to Marie and take you through a day in her life as a PSW.

Marie’s day starts at 5:00 AM. This gives her less than an hour to get ready for work and kiss her sleeping children goodbye so she can catch the 6:00 AM bus to the subway in order to make it to her client’s home at 6:45  to begin her 12-hour shift at 7:00 AM.

Unlike corporate employees who stop at Starbucks for a latte, Marie can never be late, so waiting in line for coffee is out of the question. Her client is bedridden and not only relies on Marie’s help with bathing, feeding, her morning medication and breakfast, but also her company. For a few years now, Marie is often the only face that the client sees anymore.

Taking care of a person who is bedridden is physically demanding. As with other bedridden adults, this client is overweight, which makes it especially difficult to lift them.

Marie begins her shift by talking to the client and asking how her night was and listens intently as she begins gathering the supplies, she will need to get the client bathed.

She helps the client sit up in bed using pillows to prop her up, before helping her brush her teeth and hair, all while continuing to engage her.

Next she undresses her client to bathe her and has to lift and balance the client while she washes her and changes her incontinence pad and bedding. It’s difficult, but not doing these things properly can lead to bed sores and infection, so she takes her time and is thorough.

Once the client is dressed in a fresh gown; Marie props her up and turns on her favorite TV program before moving onto the next important task, which is feeding and walking the client’s beloved dog, Jo-Jo.

Jo-Jo takes his place next to his owner while Marie helps her eat breakfast.

Over the course of the day, Marie will prepare two more meals for her client…and Jo-Jo. She decides to take her own lunch in the room with her client. Normally Marie eats her lunch while writing out the grocery list or sorting through junk mail, but the client seems a little down and like she could use some cheering up.

Some more friendly conversation over a sandwich does the trick and her client is in much better spirits by time her quick lunch break is over.

Throughout the rest of the day, Marie does laundry, washes dishes, and vacuums and dusts the dog hair that settles throughout the house. She also picks up and puts away groceries, and takes care of her client’s toileting several more times.

Before heading home, Marie goes through the entire hygiene process again, ensuring that her client is clean, dry, and comfortable for the night, and gives the client her final dose of her medication.

By the time she takes Jo-Jo out for his final potty break, it’s already 7:15 PM and just past the end of her shift.

She pops into the client’s room one more time to make sure she has a glass of water and the remote control within reach, and anything else she needs for the night.

Marie finally heads home, tired but happy knowing that her client was feeling more joyful than at the start of her day.

By the time she walks in the door it’s already 9:00 PM and her children are already asleep. She ends her day the way she started it and sneaks into her children’s rooms for a quick goodnight kiss.

She will start this over again the next morning.

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