PSW Courses on Loss: How to Care for a Dying Client

PSW How to Care for a Dying Client

Death is a fact of life. Few people understand this more than personal support workers (PSWs). These professionals are the compassionate helpers who support aging patients on a daily basis, guiding them with dignity through their final days.

If you pursue a career in PSW, it’s likely you will encounter some clients who are dying. This is particularly true for those who choose to work in the long-term care or palliative branches of the PSW field. When these situations arise, it is important that PSWs remain calm and professional, use their specialized training, and keep certain client priorities in focus.

Read on to learn the basics of how personal support workers care for a dying client.

Personal Support Workers Become Comfortable with Death

Our nation’s population is rapidly aging. Seniors are passing on, and they need professionals in homes, hospices, and care centres to help them do this with the greatest comfort and dignity.

Many people fear facing death. But if you choose to become a PSW, you’ll learn how to curb this kind of discomfort, through specialized personal support worker training courses on assisting dying clients. You’ll be trained on various procedures and protocols PSWs use to provide palliative care, a standard aspect of the compassionate service field.

To PSWs, dying clients are not scary. They are fragile individuals deserving of respect and special care.

Personal Support Workers Know When to Implement Palliative Care

There are some common symptoms and tools that PSWs can use to gather information and provide appropriate comfort measures for the dying client.

This involves prioritizing the client’s short-term comfort over incremental long-term improvements. For example, managing a client’s pain by positioning them as comfortably as possible and administering prescribed medication would be more meaningful to the dying client than invasive healing solutions (like surgery or exercises) would be.

Training will teach you to recognize signs a client is approaching death, including a loss of appetite, withdrawal, irregular or shallow breathing, and confusion. A basic PSW rule of thumb is to integrate a specialized palliative approach into practice for anyone with a life-threatening condition, as early in the degeneration process as possible.

PSWs Promote Dignity with Customized Care Plans

When a nurse or doctor confirms that a patient is nearing death, a PSW will implement the procedure outlined in the client’s customized care plan.

A care plan involves specific instructions on how a client envisions their most dignified departure, so a client’s wishes are heard even if his or her communication skills become impaired. Care plans are set in place by each client’s medical professionals and legal advisors, often with input from his or her PSW.

Graduates of PSW courses know their role in their clients’ lives is to promote dignity. Strictly following a care plan is essential to this role. Whether they wish to be taken to the ER for resuscitation, pass peacefully with no medical intervention, or otherwise, a client’s wishes come first.

Strategies for a PSW Client’s Last Days and Hours

As a client approaches their final hours, a PSW focuses on their social, emotional, and spiritual needs.

PSWs do this by creating peaceful settings, often fulfilling a client’s request to be read to or spoken with in a gentle, reassuring way.

PSWs help ease client anxieties about death through calm, quiet, supportive environments.

PSWs help ease client anxieties about death through calm, quiet, supportive environments.

PSWs do this by creating peaceful settings, often fulfilling a client’s request to be read to or spoken with in a gentle, reassuring way.

With the right training, you can become a pillar of strength that raises each client and family’s experience with death to its most comforting and dignified level.

Do you want to learn more by enrolling in a personal support worker course? Visit NAHB College for more information or to speak with an advisor.