PSWs provide services and direct care to individuals in hospitals, long-term care homes, group homes, retirement homes, supportive living environments and in the client’s home. They work with clients who have a broad spectrum of conditions and health care needs. Services may be provided on a temporary or continuing basis.
Some of the functional tasks performed by PSWs are:
Activities of daily living (ADL) – personal care (bathing, feeding, dressing, toileting), transferring (walking), light housekeeping and child care.
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) – menu planning, shopping, meal preparation, providing transportation or accompanying clients, educational and recreational assistance.
Clinical care services –measuring a client’s blood pressure, temperature or pulse, or taking specimens.
Delegated acts –administration of suppositories, colonic irrigations, enemas (bowel disimpaction), or medications; maintaining inventories; and supervising exercise routines
Personal support work is unique among health professions in that the scope of the PSW’s duties does not extend beyond what the client could do him/herself, if the client were physically/cognitively able. No other profession’s scope is similarly described.
As such, personal support is not a subset of another profession. Rather it includes skills and abilities performed by many other professions, but always within the overall scope of what the client would/could do if able to do the function.