Tips for hiring a personal support worker

Deciding to hire a support worker to assist you or your loved one with day-to-day activities is a significant life step. Before hiring a personal support worker to fulfill your needs, consider the following:


1. What does my average day look like?

Determining what daily needs you require assistance with is the first step to figuring out how best a personal support worker can help you to live your best life. Start by making a schedule of your daily activities. Feel free to add things you do now as well as things you wish to do in the future.


Morning: Make breakfast, shower, get dressed, watch TV

Afternoon: Make lunch, do errands, go home

Evening: Make dinner, walk the dog, watch TV


2. Which activities do I need help with?

Once your schedule is complete, review your activities and decide which ones you can do on your own (e.g. watch TV), and which ones you need help with (e.g. showering). After you've figured out which activities you need assistance with, note the time you usually do them and how long the activity takes. These details will help you and your personal support worker understand the type of support you need, and determine the amount of time you need support with weekly.


John needs help:

  • going to the bank and grocery store every Friday for 2 hours,
  • showering and getting dressed daily (30 mins), and
  • walking the dog each evening (30 mins)
  • preparing meals daily (30 mins x 3 = 90 mins)

Seeing your activities written out in this way is helpful in balancing personal support with personal independence. 


3. What can I afford?

Before hiring a personal support worker, you need to consider your budget, i.e. what can you afford? Consider your monthly income (from employment, investments, the government, etc.) and your monthly expenses (rent/mortgage, food, telephone bill, utilities, transportation, medical, etc.). Once you have an idea of how much money you can afford to spend on a support worker, use this as your guide to determine how many hours you can afford each month. 


4. Who do I hire?

Hiring a personal support worker can be overwhelming at first, but there are a few ways you can protect yourself. If you decide to hire a private support worker, ensure you perform a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search before you hire the worker. Don't be afraid to ask potential candidates for a list of references. If you choose to work with an agency, ensure you hire a reputable healthcare agency like CanDo Support Services that performs a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search check on its caregivers. 


5. How do I build a great relationship with my PSW?

Like any new relationship, the one between you and your support worker may take some time to foster. Do your best to speak and listen to your support worker, provide regular feedback to a private worker or directly to the PSW's agency, and give them a chance to improve. Don't be afraid to tell your support worker when they've impressed you, and thank them when they excel at their job.

For More Information, visit the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

— RV