Taking care of our most vulnerable

Left to right: April Lynch, Natalie Arsenault, Jenn Garnhum

Patient support workers (PSWs), resident care workers (RSWs), and home support workers (HSWs) are an essential part of healthcare on PEI. Taking care of our most vulnerable residents, their work can be both emotionally and physically demanding; yet many of those who do it also say it’s exceptionally rewarding.  

Natalie Arsenault, one of two bilingual home support workers in East Prince, has been working in the field for 28 years. 

“My mother was a home support worker. She would always speak about her job with such pride and always appeared to be so content in her role”, she said.  “It encouraged me to try it for myself.”
Natalie enjoys the connections she makes with her clients.  

“I love the fact that I leave knowing the client feels a little better. Be it feeling fresh from a bath or simply the human connection of conversations had during stocking application or a shave. Most times that feeling goes both ways and that makes me want to come to work each day.”

Patient support worker April Lynch has serving Prince County for eleven years.

“Spending time with patients, some who don’t have families to be there for them, you can be their shoulder to cry on, someone to talk to, helping them with things they may not have access to otherwise. Every day is so different when you’re helping people.” 

April recently took on a full-time patient support role in the emergency department at Prince County Hospital. 

“Since I was a little girl, I’ve always had a passion for healthcare and helping people. When I was young, my grandmother was diagnosed with CHF and COPD and home care workers came in and I just always wanted to be that person that helped people. I love my job.”

Resident support worker Jenn Garnhum has 16 years of experience. 

”We are a team. As an RCW, we are the frontline – the eyes, and ears for the rest of the staff. We know our residents likes/ dislikes, we see when things are a bit off with someone. We report to an LPN [licensed practical nurse] and help them with whatever needs to be done with the residents. On my unit we all work together from CSWs right up to the RNs [registered nurses]. Everyone does what needs to be done to make the residents’ and staff’s day go as smoothly as possible.”

April 14 to 20 was Resident Care Worker/Personal Care Worker/Home Support Worker Week on PEI. 

While these are just three of the amazing staff supporting Islanders, many more HSWs, PCWs, and RCWs across PEI continue to work each day making impacts on the lives of those they care for and work with.

At the same time, the work makes an impact on them. 

“Going to work doesn’t feel like work,” says Natalie. “I feel very fortunate.”

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Published date: 
April 22, 2024
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