Objectives: Ventilator-users living in the community have significant personal care needs that are largely provided by paid personal support workers (PSWs). As part of a larger qualitative study exploring relationships between ventilator-users and PSWs, this project explored training experiences and needs of PSWs from the perspectives of both groups.
Methods: Individual semi-structured interviews conducted with 10 PSWs and 10 ventilator-users living in Support Service Living Units in Ontario, Canada were tape recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed for emerging themes.
Results: Training experiences of PSWs varied significantly from on-the-job training, to a formal college diploma in personal care. While none received formal training in the specific care needs of ventilator-users such as tracheal suctioning, ventilator monitoring and tracheotomy care, all recommended improved training in this area. Their perspectives varied on whether training should be delivered in a formalized program or through individualized on-the-job training.
Conclusions: Despite differing perspectives on optimal training methods for PSWs, participants identified the need for initial and ongoing training to address specific needs of ventilator-users.
Practice implication: We recommend the development of standardized PSW training modules adaptable for use in formal and on-site training programs that can accommodate a variety of learning styles and needs.