Workers' Compensation Safety Board of Nova Scotia

Definitions

Academic Upgrading
Activities-of-Daily-Living Assessment (ADL)
Assessment
Case Management Team
Functional Assessment
Ergonomic Assessment
Home Support Worker
Job-Site Analysis (JSA)
Licensed Practical Nurse
Personal Care Worker 
Personal Support Worker 
Standards

Throughout our site you may encounter some unfamiliar terminology. To help you understand everything you need to know we’ve compiled a list of definitions. 

Academic Upgrading

Programs offered to adult learners who require the academic pre-requisites needed for entry into many occupational programs. These programs are offered by the Nova Scotia Community Colleges and by private institutions. Academic upgrading programming offers instruction in three subject areas: Mathematics, Science, and Communications. It has been designed in four levels:

  • Level 1 (Grades 1-6) 
  • Level 2 (Grades 7-8) 
  • Level 3 (Grades 9-10) 
  • Level 4 (Grades 11-12) (click to collapse repeat for all terms)

Activities-of-Daily-Living Assessment (ADL)

An assessment performed to determine if an injured worker is experiencing difficulty with their self-maintenance tasks. The typical life tasks required for self-care and self-maintenance may include grooming, bathing, eating, and other daily routine tasks. This assessment is fundamental for the worker's physical, mental, social, and spiritual health and well-being; particularly, for people with severe disabilities for whom self-maintenance may be a source of pride, a means to independence (often interdependence), or a mechanism of choice and control if they organize attendants and others to assist so that there is time and energy for other meaningful occupations in daily living.

Assessment

The formal statement concerns the identification of the injured worker's condition.

Case Management Team

Health care professionals, which shall include occupational therapists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, kinesiologists, psychologists, physicians, vocational specialists, the injured worker, employer and the WCB Case Worker.

Functional Assessment

As assessment tool that provides objective data regarding the guidelines and limits by which an injured worker can safely and productively complete work tasks in relation to their employability.

Ergonomic Assessment

This is an assessment to provide practitioners with a good understanding of the job, it's physical requirements, and the environment in which it is performed. The analysis will determine potential hazards that may cause injury or re-injury. Ergonomic modification of the job site or method by which the job is performed can be done to reduce the potential of injury, or re-injury in the case of an injured worker who is returning to work. The practice of ergonomics works toward fitting the job to the person-not the person to the work-to optimize and enhance performance.

Home Support Worker

Home support workers (sometimes referred to as home health aides or personal care attendants) deliver quality care, assistance and support services to people in their own homes during times of need. On an on-going or short-term basis, they help elderly, disabled and ill persons and, in some cases, children whose parents are disabled. The services they provide enable clients to live at home rather than in a health care institution.
The duties of home support workers vary according to the situation and include housekeeping services (laundry, cleaning, changing bed linens); personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, toilet training); meal planning (planning special diet, shopping, cooking); and emotional support (listening, encouraging).

They also perform other duties as directed by the family or the professional health team. These include: taking patients' temperature and pulse; checking respiration; assisting with medication routines; changing non-sterile dressings; giving massages and alcohol rubs; and helping with special equipment, braces and artificial limbs.

Job-Site Analysis (JSA)

An analysis to evaluate a job site to make a definitive statement about that job, its risks, requirements and productivity. A job-site analysis uses principles of ergonomics. With respect to the WCB, job-site analyses are primarily used as a precursor in developing return-to-work programs.

Licensed Practical Nurse

Nursing assistants or licensed practical nurses provide basic physical and supportive nursing care for patients of all ages, in connection with other members of the health care team (registered nurses, psychiatric nurses, and doctors).

They perform a variety of routine nursing procedures such as distributing medication to patients, taking blood pressure, temperature and pulse, collecting blood and other specimens, preparing patients for tests and surgery, and changing patients' dressings.

They assist registered nurses with such procedures as respiratory therapy and intravenous therapy. They monitor patients' progress, report changes in patients' condition and environment, and confer with other health care professionals about the plans for patient care.

Personal Care Worker

Personal care workers assist in caring for patients in hospitals, nursing homes, clinics and institutions for the aged or disabled.

Personal care workers may perform the following tasks:

  • assist nursing staff to lift and turn bedridden patients 
  • help to shower, bathe and shave patients while supervised by a registered nurse 
  • assist clients with dressing and eating 
  • help clients to move around and communicate 
  • apply practical intervention procedures for dementia or behavioural problems 
  • make sure that an adequate supply of clean clothing and linen is available for the client and that soiled items are removed and cleaned 
  • observe and report any changes in the condition or any complaints about care to a supervisor 
  • may assist with rehabilitation exercises and basic treatment and medications 
  • perform basic procedures such as taking blood pressure and applying and changing dressings 
  • accompany patients, who are ready for discharge, to the central waiting area. 

Personal care workers are usually required to carry out rostered shift work, which includes night and weekend work. Some positions may be casual.

Personal Support Worker

A Personal Support Worker (PSW) is a caregiver who assists people with daily personal care needs as they deal with the effects of aging, injury or illness. A PSW works under the direction of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Registered Practical Nurse (RPN).

It is important to differentiate between PSWs in health care facilities and home care. Positions in home care such as health care aides, home support workers, personal care workers and attendants are mostly unregulated.

In the course of remaking the health care system in Canada, Personal Support Workers are reported to be in growing demand.

Similar titles

PSW is often used together with HCA or interchangeably. HCA is an acronym for Health Care Aide. According to the National Occupational Classification (NOC), some additional titles for similar positions are:

  • hospital attendant 
  • long-term care aide 
  • nurse aide 
  • nursing attendant 
  • personal aide 
  • orderly 
  • personal care attendant 
  • patient care aide 
  • visiting homemaker 
  • home support worker 

All these job titles may have the same or similar job requirements. In fact, many job postings for these positions have vague job descriptions, particularly when it comes to home support.

Major duties

In most job postings you will find all or some of the following job duties:

  • assists with all activities of daily living including bathing, toileting, dressing, mobility and feeding
  • sorts and bags all soiled linen, makes and changes beds, cleans and tidies resident rooms
  • supports client's independence regarding medications
  • recognizes and reports changes in a client's behaviour/condition
  • provides informal counselling, as needed

  • Duties and skills to support clients at their homes or residences may include assistance with shopping, light cleaning, meal preparation and laundry.

    Standards

    Standards of quality or standards of care are authoritative statements of minimal levels of acceptable performance or results, or excellent levels of performance of results, or the range of acceptable performance