About the Personal Support Worker Education Fund for Long-Term Care

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Long-Term Care have renewed the PSW Education Fund for Long-Term Care. The objective of the fund is to build capacity in long-term care (LTC) homes to deliver high-quality and safe care that meets the needs of residents. The fund provides tuition and backfill reimbursement for PSWs and other team members employed in the home to participate in continuing education and professional development.

For the third year, the Ministry is working with the Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care (Ontario CLRI) to offer Excellence in Resident-Centred Care (ERCC) training to PSWs. ERCC builds practical skills using a person-centred, train-the-trainer approach. It is delivered in partnership with Conestoga College and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

Who can apply for funding?

Ontario LTC homes are eligible to apply for funding for tuition and backfill for Team Member participation in ERCC.

How does my LTC home receive funding?

Funding for tuition and backfill is only provided to LTC homes whose applications have been approved. Tuition and backfill reimbursement is only provided for the approved number of Team Members who successfully complete ERCC courses.

LTC homes do not need to submit expense forms. Tuition for ERCC courses is covered directly by the fund at no up-front expense to the LTC home. Backfill is covered up-front by the LTC home and reimbursed at standard rate.

Reimbursement for backfill is paid by cheque and is mailed to approved LTC homes within 60 days of Team Members successfully completing the course.

Learn more about funding and reimbursement in the Implementation Guide.

Who can receive ERCC education through the fund?

All long-term care homes in the province of Ontario can participate in the fund, including homes that have participated in the past.

There are limits to the number of Team Members within each approved LTC home that can receive tuition and backfill reimbursement, with priority given to PSW training. The following details:

  • ERCC Trainer Course: Up to 4 PSWs per approved LTC home
  • ERCC Team Member Course: The number of PSWs and other Team Members allotted to each LTC home will be dependent on the size of the home and is confirmed when the application is approved
What does my LTC home need to do to participate?

LTC homes need to:

1. Identify a staff member as the Lead Contact. Lead Contacts will be responsible for:

  • Coordinating and submitting the online application for funding,
  • Supporting PSWs in registering and completing the ERCC Trainer Course,
  • Supporting new Trainers in organizing the ERCC Team Member Course,
  • Reporting information as requested to the fund, and
  • Completion of fund and training evaluation surveys.

2. Identify 1-4 PSWs to take the ERCC Trainer Course. There are guidelines available in the Implementation Guide to help select ideal candidates. Trainers will be responsible for:

  • Completing the ERCC Trainer Course (16-hours of online learning followed by an 8-hour regional in-class workshop),
  • Working together with the Lead Contact to organize and deliver ERCC Team Member Course(s) in the LTC home,
  • Ensuring each attendee registers online at the beginning of each ERCC Team Member Course, and
  • Ensuring each ERCC Team Member Course is recorded online upon completion.

3. Provide a computer, internet access and space within the home during working hours for PSWs to complete 16-hours of online learning as part of the ERCC Trainer Course.

4. Provide space and support to certified Trainers to organize and deliver the ERCC Team Member Course for fellow Team Members within the LTC home. There is information to guide this process in the Implementation Guide.

Learn more about the application process in Step 1: Apply for Funding.

About Excellence in Resident-Centred Care

Excellence in Resident-Centred Care (ERCC) training was designed for PSWs and other team members to build practical skills using a person-centred approach. It was developed by Conestoga College and the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging.

The goal of ERCC is to support better care and better outcomes for residents in LTC, but it also benefits PSWs and LTC homes. ERCC has been shown to:

  • Increase team member self-confidence
  • Increase team member job satisfaction
  • Improve team morale

ERCC uses a train-the-trainer model to build capacity within LTC homes. Select PSWs complete the ERCC Trainer Course to become Trainers and deliver the ERCC Team Member Course to fellow PSWs and other Team Members within their LTC home. The education is delivered by Conestoga College, and features online registration and online course components delivered through the easy-to-use eConestoga platform.

Organizations that train 70% or more of their  team receive special recognition and a certificate.

ERCC Trainer Course

The ERCC Trainer Course is for PSWs who are engaged members of the team and have interest in training their peers. The course includes:

  • 16-hours of online learning (reviewing all 15 ERCC modules)
    • Completed online through eConestoga
    • Must be completed during a schedule shift (or multiple shifts) in the LTC home
    • LTC home must provide a computer with internet access
    • Must be completed within 2 weeks prior to the in-class workshop
  • 8-hour in-class workshop
    • Workshops take place in locations across Ontario; date and location for workshops are assigned to each approved LTC home based on geographic proximity
    • Travel funding is available only if travel to the in-class workshop exceeds 100km or 2 hours one way
    • PSWs present one of the ERCC modules (assigned to them) at the in-class workshop and learn how to facilitate the ERCC Team Member Course

Upon completion of the course, Trainers are certified and have access to the education and materials through eConestoga to deliver the ERCC Team Member Course to fellow Team Members and are certified for two years.

ERCC Team Member Course

The ERCC Team Member Course is organized by the LTC home and delivered in-house by the home’s certified Trainers to Team Members working within the home. The course includes:

  • 8-hour in-class workshop
    • Typically, 1-2 Trainers for groups of 10-20 Team Members
    • PSWs are required to complete 7 of the 15 available modules (modules 1 and 12 are required and the LTC home can select the remaining modules based on interest)
    • Modules are 45 minutes in length
ERCC Modules

All modules are covered in the ERCC Trainer Course. Seven modules are covered in the ERCC Team Member Course. Modules 1 and 12 are mandatory, and the remaining modules can be selected by the LTC home. The following modules are available to be covered in ERCC:

1. Person-Centred Care

Review principles of a person-centred approach to care: respect, dignity and choice. Identify strategies to optimize this approach and reinforce the importance of working as a team in long-term care and retirement living.

2. Infection Prevention and Control

Review principles of infection prevention and control and hand hygiene practices. Learn the signs and symptoms of infection and strategies to optimize infection prevention and control.

3. Safety and Mobility

Review principles of safety and mobility. Identify factors influencing resident safety including potential signs of abuse and neglect and strategies for optimizing resident safety and mobility.

4. Oral Care and Skin Integrity

Review principles of oral hygiene and skin integrity and the proper steps for completing an oral and skin assessment. Identify proper techniques for oral and denture care and strategies to optimize skin integrity.

5. Continence

Review the principles of and strategies for optimizing continence and the potential implications of incontinence. Identify some of the signs and symptoms of urinary problems.

6. Nutrition and Hydration

Identify signs and symptoms of malnutrition and dehydration and factors that influence nutrition and hydration. Review the principles of and strategies for supporting nutrition and hydration.

7. Delirium, Dementia and Depression

Review the principles of delirium, dementia and depression and factors that influence behaviours. Identify signs and symptoms of delirium, dementia and depression and strategies for optimizing overall mental well-being.

8. Pain and Comfort

Review the principles of pain assessment and management, factors influencing pain and explore implications of unrelieved pain. Identify strategies for optimizing comfort.

9. Palliative/End-of-Life Care

Review the principles of a palliative approach and discuss quality of life, holistic care and a personal journey. Identify signs of imminent death and strategies to enhance psychosocial support for the dying person and family.

10. Self-Care

Review the principles of self-care and discuss the concepts of professionalism, leadership and resiliency. Explore strategies for care providers to manage stress and activate healthy coping.

11. Working With Others

Examine factors that influence healthy team dynamics and the potential implications of unhealthy work environments. Review the principles of and strategies to optimize team work and collaboration.

12. Observational Assessment

Review the principles of observational assessment and examine strategies that foster early identification to enhance documentation and communication of potential issues.

13. Dressing and Grooming

Review the concepts of time, support and assistance in relation to dressing and grooming. Explore factors and identify strategies to optimize the dressing and grooming experience.

14. Bathing and Spa Experience

Review the principles of the bathing and spa experience including the concepts of comfort, privacy and vulnerability. Examine factors and identify strategies to optimize the bathing and spa experience.

15. Sleep

Review the concepts of rest, fatigue and sleep and principles of sleep hygiene. Explore factors that negatively influence rest and sleep and identify strategies to optimize restful sleep.