24 Dec 2014

The Growing Need for Personal Support Workers

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    Canada, like most of the developing world, is facing an unprecedented demographic shift.

    Never before in human history has such a large percentage of the population been over retirement age. Advances in medical technology and declining birth rates mean that senior citizens will continue increase as a proportion of the population for the predictable future.

    In Ontario alone, the percentage of people aged 65 or more is likely to increase from 15% to 23% in the next twenty years alone.

    This is causing a crisis in health care. Until recently, our health care system was oriented towards interventionist medicine.

    The interventionist model is:

    1. Normally healthy patient has a problem
    2. A doctor diagnoses and treats the problem
    3. The person takes the appropriate medication and exits the health care system

    To this end, the government overpaid doctors, who are needed for interventions.

    Now, however, the government knows that the medicine we need as a society is continuing care. Doctor salaries are being frozen to free up resources for nurses and personal support workers, who can provide ongoing care to patients.

    Job Prospects for Personal Support Workers

    Right now, there are about 80,000 personal support worker jobs in Ontario.

    Of these, about 6000 are in hospitals, 35,000 are in home care, and the remaining majority are in long-term care. This makes personal support work about as large an industry as all of Ontario agriculture. And it’s growing. Fast.

    The government has added a couple thousand personal support worker jobs over the last two years.

    Right now, they’re gearing up to add a lot more. By a conservative estimate, the number of needed personal support workers will double in the next 10 years. Just to stay on top of demand, the government will need to hire an additional 8,000 workers every single year.

    That is a staggering number, and the government will have to pull out all the stops to make it happen. Expect higher wages and benefits, designed to attract out-of-province workers. Expect also a lot more support and ongoing education for employed personal support workers. The government wants you, and they’re going to have to work to keep you.

    Wage Increases

    Wages are already going up. In 2012, a typical salary for a personal support worker in home care was $12/hour, and a typical salary in a hospital was $20. These numbers are now $15 and $23, respectively. 10% annual raises are the new normal, and will continue well into the future.

    If you want a high chance of well-paid employment, apply to learn personal care skills today!

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