of Healthcare and Business 

Cornerstone Co​llege

Personal Support Worker (PSW)

The original PSW program standards were developed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario, and the Ontario Community Support Association produced the original curriculum package. The NACC curriculum was developed in response to member requests to adhere to the highest standards. The current program, while originally based on the MOHLTC curriculum, has evolved to keep pace with the needs of the clients and PSWs. The program is reviewed annually to ensure that it continues to be relevant.

The NACC program content, standards and guidelines, combined with the clinical component of the program, ensure that the graduates have the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful as a Personal Support Worker or Personal Attendant. 

The PSW will develop a skill/knowledge level that includes basic care and social service training. The scope of responsibilities for a Personal Support Worker is as follows:

Cooperates with all members of the health team
Promotes safety and works in a safe manner
Assists with walking, movement and positioning
Assists with mechanical and physical lifts and/or transfers
Assists with all aspects of personal hygiene, including laundry related tasks
Assists with meal preparation, grocery shopping, feeding, dietary planning, food handling
Answers call bells
Checks and records vital signs
Teaches life skills
Assists with range of motion exercise and other rehabilitative measures
Practices universal precautions and maintains a clean working environment
Provides emotional and social support services to care-receivers and their families
Assists with oxygen therapy, hot and cold applications
Provide first aid and tend to common allergies
Work as a supportive care worker for palliative care and hospice patients
Observes and reports clinical and treatment findings, behavioral changes along with changes in ongoing conditions
Maintains records and documents procedures

In everything personal support workers do, they aim to preserve the dignity, independence, privacy and desires of the people they care for.

Where do they work?

Personal support workers can be found in a variety of settings including (but not limited to): Hospitals, private care facilities, long-term care facilities group homes, doctor’s offices and community centres (for adult day programs). They can also be dedicated to one or several clients and work with them in their own homes.

The NACC Personal Support Worker program provides quality education and training for aspiring PSWs. The NACC PSW Program contains the content to be taught, learning outcomes and skills competencies to be effective as a Personal Support Worker.

Topics covered in the NACC PSW Program:

  • PSW Foundations
  • Safety and Mobility
  • Body Systems
  • Assisting with Personal Hygiene
  • Abuse and Neglect
  • Household Management, Nutrition and Hydration
  • Care Planning/Restorative Care/Documentation/Working in the Community
  • Assisting the Family, Growth and Development
  • Assisting the Dying Person
  • Assisting with Medications
  • Cognitive/Mental Health Issues and Brain Injuries
  • Health Conditions

Why You Should Hire a NACC PSW Graduate
Benefits to potential employers hiring graduates of the Common Standards Group Personal Support Worker Program include:

Assurance that graduates have been trained to meet established learning outcomes and program standards
Assurance that the graduate has the knowledge required to do the job as verified by third party testing
Assurance that the skills required to do the job have been verified in clinical settings prior to graduation

Key Elements of the Program

Entrance Requirements:

Grade 12 or equivalent admission requirement in addition to Medical Certificate of fitness to complete the program
Literacy Test to be completed by all applicants
Clear police records check (Vulnerable), Standard First Aid and Basic Rescuer CPR

Program Length

Total Program Length = 700 hours plus CPR and First Aid

In-school theory and practice (includes testing) = 390
Clinical Placement (Community) = 110
Clinical Placement (Facility) = 200