This Program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to function effectively as front-line care-givers, and respected members of the healthcare team, in community and facility settings. Under the direction and supervision of a health professional, graduates provide person-centered care aimed at promoting and maintaining the physical, emotional, cognitive, social and spiritual well-being of clients/residents.

The program offers the theory and practice associated with providing personal care and support to individuals within the community and in residential facilities. Personal care and support include emotional support, assistance with personal hygiene and other activities of daily living, upkeep of home, food preparation and family care. Theory and practice are planned to prepare graduates to work as caring individuals who assist clients/residents to achieve maximum independence in daily living.

The overarching, primary concept is CARING and is supported by the foundational concepts of SAFETY, CRITICAL THINKING & DECISION MAKING, and PROFESSIONAL APPROACHES TO PRACTICE. These provide the underpinnings for the knowledge and skills that learners gain within the program. Some courses are shared with other programs in the College to increase options for students who wish to further their education. This multidisciplinary approach promotes readiness for employment in the community by developing the ability to function effectively within teams. Practical application of learning is basic to the program and students will be learning and working in the community throughout the program. Classroom learning, and sharing will prepare students for work experience while work experience will enhance learning in the classroom.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Program, graduates will be able to:

  • Provide person–‐centered care and assistance that recognizes and respects the uniqueness of each individual client;
  • Use an informed problem–‐solving approach to provide care and assistance that promotes the physical, psychological, social, cognitive and spiritual well–‐being of clients and families;
  • Provide care and assistance for clients experiencing complex health challenges.
  • Provide care and assistance for clients experiencing cognitive and/or mental health challenges;
  • Interact with other members of the health care team in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals;
  • Communicate clearly, accurately and in sensitive ways with clients and families within a variety of community and facility contexts;
  • Provide personal care and assistance in a safe, competent and organized;
  • Recognize and respond to own self–‐development, learning and health enhancement needs;
  • Perform the care provider role in a reflective, responsible, accountable and professional manner.


Instructional Activities, Design and Delivery Mode

This certificate program provides students with the knowledge and practical skills to work as a care provider in a wide range of health-care environments. Students develop the ability to engage with persons and/or families of various ages and health related needs to promote healthy living. Students learn how to assist clients with their daily personal care needs, such as bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting. Through a combination of theory, lab practice, clinical/community experience, students understand how to deliver person-centered care to individuals of varying ages, encourage independence and improve quality of life for their clients.

Evaluation of Student Learning

Evaluation of student learning is based on completion of course assignments or projects. Due dates and criteria for successful completion of each course assignment will be outlined by the instructor at the beginning of each course.

Courses and Outlines

Course NameCourse CodeCourse LevelCourse IDCourse CreditCourse Outline
Anatomy & PhysiologyPSWO-APH1PSWO-APH-0013This course introduces the normal structure and function of the human body. Emphasis will be placed on, but not limited to, the hierarchy of structural organization, medical terminology, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems as well as system relationships. It will provide the foundation to prepare the student for upcoming courses and practical experiences.
Health and Healing: Concepts for PracticePSWO-CON1PSWO-CON-0013Developing a theoretical framework for practice, students are introduced to the philosophical values and theoretical understandings that provide a foundation for competent practice as a Health Care Attendant (HCA). This course focuses on concepts of caring and person-centred care, basic human needs and human development, and family, culture and diversity as they relate to health and healing. Students are also introduced to a problem-solving model that will be critical to their practice.
Personal Support Worker - Introduction to PracticePSWO-PRA1PSWO-PRA-0013This course introduces students to the role and professional expectations of the Personal Support Worker. Students will learn about professionalism, person centered care, the Canadian Health Care System, the role of the PSW, documentation, communication (verbal and non-verbal) and team building. The concepts of accountability and reflective practice will also be introduced.
Interpersonal and Interprofessional CommunicationsPSWO-IIC1PSWO-IIC-0013This course provides learners with the foundational knowledge for caring and professional communication. An experiential and self-reflective approach is used to develop selfawareness and interpersonal communication skills in the context of safe, competent and collaborative nursing practice. Topics include communication theory, the nurse-client relationship, therapeutic communication, cross-cultural communication and effective teamwork.
Dementia BehaviourPSWO-BEH1PSWO-BEH-0013The number of Canadians living with Dementia is expected to more than double within a generation, increasing the need for qualified care givers. This course will provide you with the skills to provide meaningful experiences and interactions when working with clients and families impacted by dementia. Build on your skills and develop new competencies that will promote the highest quality of life possible for the dementia client and their families.
Observing, Reporting and RecordingPSWO-ORR1PSWO-ORR-0013You will learn written and oral communication skills required in the work place. The course content includes basic concepts of simple arithmetic, basic medical terminology, concept mapping, observing and reporting on client’s status, client and personal work plans.
NutritionPSWO-NUT1PSWO-NUT-0013This course provides an overview of fundamental knowledge in food and nutrition. Students will learn about dietary guidelines and healthy eating; nutrient reference values; food composition including the six classes of nutrients and non-nutrient components of food; the major roles and functions of the principal nutrients and the metabolism of these nutrients in the human body; nutritional characteristics of the Five Food Groups; functional foods; concepts of energy balance; nutrient calculations; energy density of foods; assessment of diet quality and the impact of diet on nutritional status and health. Students will be introduced to the principles of nutrition research and the translation of nutrition research into nutrient recommendations, dietary guidelines and recommended daily food patterns. Students will also learn about report writing and how to evaluate and synthesize scientific literature and communicating in the context of nutrition. Students will develop a sound knowledge of food composition, an understanding of the fundamental concepts of nutrition and the links between food, nutrition and health. Students are required to keep a three-day diet diary and will apply knowledge gained during the course to estimate energy requirements and assess diet quality of individuals.
Clients conditions and Treatment InterventionsPSWO-CCO1PSWO-CCO-0013This course focuses on the care of adult clients experiencing chronic medical-surgical conditions and diseases. Students use the nursing process in relating pathophysiology and other assessment factors to nursing interventions and management. The client-centered approach to the nursing care of clients with these health challenges and conditions is emphasized. Students examine methods of promotiong, maintaining, and restoring health. In addition, they investigate the special needs of clients who have alterations in their functioning. Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to learn through a variety of methods: interactive lectures, question and answer sessions, powerpoint presentations, case studies, use of study guides, group discussions, research assignment, role plays and simulations.
Healing - Caring for individuals with health challengesPSWO-HEA1PSWO-HEA-0013This course introduces students to the normal structure and function of the human body and normal bodily changes associated with aging, prevention of infection, and nutrition and healing. Students will explore common challenges to health and healing in relation to each body system. Students will also be encouraged to explore person-centred practice as it relates to the common challenges to health.
Healing - Caring for individuals with cognitive and mental challengesPSWO-CAR1PSWO-CAR-0013This course builds on content from other courses to assist students to explore concepts and care giving approaches that allow the student to work effectively with individuals experiencing cognitive or mental challenges. The emphasis in this course is on supporting clients with dementia, recognizing responsive behaviours and identifying person-centered intervention strategies.
Human Growth and DevelopmentPSWO-GDE2PSWO-GDE-0023This course covers the major physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development of
normal growth throughout the human lifespan. There will be a focus on historical and
cultural perspectives including those from the North, theories of development,
research findings, and methods employed in the field of developmental psychology.
Students will concentrate their assignments and exams on the developmental range
they anticipate for their professional practice, in keeping with their projected career
area. All students will be required to demonstrate an understanding of the major theorists in the field of developmental psychology and the implications of these theories for their practice
Assisting with Special ProceduresPSWO-SPR2PSWO-SPR-0023Students will be introduced to the Personal Support Worker’s role in assisting with special procedures. They will learn the concepts of delegation, carry out basic measurements, perform simple treatments and be introduced to client assessment. They will also learn the Personal Support Worker’s role in assisting clients with medications.
Dementia Family CarePSWO-DFC2PSWO-DFC-0023Students will learn how those with dementia are assessed and how to intervene in emergency situations. They will discuss environments and issues related to institutional care placement and the impact dementia has on families. The course aims to increase competency in caring for those with dementia and other progressive diseases that reduce cognitive and functional performances, mainly but not exclusively, in an older population. It emphasizes the retention of quality of life for people with dementia and for their care partners.
End of Life CarePSWO-ELC2PSWO-ELC-0023This course provides an opportunity to develop knowledge and skill in end of life care and is suitable for Health Care Assistants, other health professionals or other persons involved in providing end of life care. This course will guide students to a better
understanding of how to apply principles of palliative and end-of-life care to clients and their families experiencing lifethreatening illness with an integrative approach, from diagnosis to the last hours of life and through to death, grief and bereavement. Students will learn how to provide care that is culturally relevant and honorsthe
choices, traditions, and values of the dying person and theirfamily.
Post Acute CarePSWO-PAC2PSWO-PAC-0023Students will acquire the theory and develop the skills needed to help clients meet their needs in the post acute care phase. This may include post surgical clients or clients with recent acute medical conditions. This course will provide students with the knowledge and skills to be able to function effectively in the role of a Health Care Assistant in an acute care setting, under the direct supervision of a health care professional. Students learn how to assist in care of acutely-ill clients and work as a member of a nursing team.
Practice Experience in Home Support and Assisted Living (5 weeks)PSWO-HAS2PSWO-HAS-0021This practice course provides students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from all other courses with individuals and families in a community setting. Opportunity will be provided for students to become more familiar with the role of the HCA within a Home Support Agency and gain abilities that will prepare graduates to assume the role of a Home Support Worker.
Practice Experience in Multi-Level and Complex Care (5 weeks)PSWO-PEM2PSWO-PEM-0021This course involves practice experience provided to students with an opportunity to apply knowledge and skills from all other courses in the program with individuals in a multi-level or complex care setting. A portion of this clinical experience will be devoted to working with individuals experiencing cognitive challenges. Opportunity will be provided for students to gain expertise and confidence with the role of the HCA within a continuing care facility.
Food Safe (Externally provided)PSWO-FSA2PSWO-FSA-0020This course is designed to cover all aspects of the preparation, storage and serving of food. Food Safety Standard requires food providing entities ensure that people who handle food and the people who supervise them, have skills and knowledge in food safety and food hygiene for the work they do. The course is designed fo people who handle food are those who are involved in any activity in your business that involves food or surfaces likely to come in contact with food. It covers the people whose work involves manufacturing, processing, preparing (such as chopping, cooking, thawing), delivering, servicing, transporting or packing food and the people who clean the premises and equipment.
Professional Assault Response Training (PART) (Externally provided)PSWO-PAR2PSWO-PAR-0020The PART program contains information to assist workers with completing an assessment process to identify hazards - a hazard is a situation that poses a level of threat to life, health, property, process or environment. Basically, it is anything that can cause an injury or illness. When hazards are identified you then assess risk(s). Risks are then eliminated or managed. The assessment process includes: self (included in Purpose, Professionalism and Preparation) - environment (included in Preparation) - individual (included in Identification)
Transferring Lifting Repositioning (TLR®) (Externally provided)PSWO-TLR2PSWO-TLR-0020Musculoskeletal injuries, or MSI, are characterized by damage to the various structures involved in producing force for movement of the human body such as soft tissue (muscle, tendons, ligaments, nerves) and bone, collectively known as the musculoskeletal system. These are distinguished from structures in metabolic systems, (cardiovascular, excretory, digestive) that play a supporting role but do directly produce or transmit biomechanical forces. TLR programs aim to reduce MS injuries by defining, optimizing and standardizing the patient handling (transfers, lifts and repositioning) requirements and procedures for each individual patient to ensure both patient and worker safety.

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