Perspectives of personal support workers and ventilator-users on training needs

Patient Educ Couns. 2008 May;71(2):244-50. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2008.01.018. Epub 2008 Mar 5.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Clinical Competence / standards
  • Community Health Workers* / education
  • Community Health Workers* / psychology
  • Curriculum
  • Female
  • Home Care Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training / organization & administration*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment / organization & administration*
  • Nursing Education Research
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Ontario
  • Personal Health Services / organization & administration
  • Qualitative Research
  • Respiration, Artificial / adverse effects
  • Respiration, Artificial / nursing
  • Respiration, Artificial / psychology*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires