Access to Attendant Services
In Ontario, if a person has a heart condition, there are defined processes and supports in place to ensure optimal health care. Similarly, for those who are diagnosed with cancer, each individual is guided by a care team and goes through a process that defines the best treatment. What happens if you have a spinal cord injury? There is a clear road map for the first four months and then… it gets a little foggy.
Access to qualified and trained Personal Support Workers has been a challenge for some time. During the pandemic, this became a critical situation. People who rely on daily PSW support have been put in untenable situations. Attendant Services needs to transform into a sustainable career in community settings so people with disabilities have access to reliable and consistent care.
“Overall, this pandemic has changed all our lives. Matt insisted from the time he married me, that I was not to do all aspects of his care. Right now, there is no option. So, at this point I am, among other things; a care worker, hairdresser, chef, grocery shopper, ceiling lift technician and wheelchair technician (Duct tape solves all!)” – Carol Sagan
Recommendations for the Government of Ontario
Mandatory Standards of Practice within a Client-Centred Model: Conduct a “capacity of adequate service delivery” review on the Attendant Services/Personal Support Worker Sector for the purposes of establishing mandatory Standards of Practice for client care within a client-centric model.
Health Care Career: Invest in education and incentives and provide opportunities that position Attendant Services/Personal Support Workers on an upward path toward a lifetime career as a health care professional.
Education and Training: Ensure all Attendant Services/Personal Support Worker training and education programs adhere to the above “Mandatory Standards of Practice” and ensure program applicants meet baseline requirements for speaking and writing language skills prior to acceptance into the program.
Oversight: Establish an arms-length oversight and governance organization to provide objective remediation for client complaints and conflict resolution between the Attendant Services/Personal Support Worker and the client.