Using the Gentle Persuasive Approach When You Become a Personal Support Worker

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Advances in medical technology and treatment means that more Canadians are able to live longer and enjoy a higher standard of care than in the past. While this progress is certainly good news, it also means that more Canadians will need caregivers who have the right training and qualifications to help them enjoy their golden years to the fullest extent possible.

The Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) is a unique, person-centred curriculum that was created in order to help personal support workers (PSWs) provide more effective care for clients affected by dementia or delirium. GPA explores and addresses the underlying behaviours influenced by dementia, as well as how to proactively respond to and manage these behaviours.

If you’re interested in becoming a personal support worker, read on to find out how GPA can help you in your future career!

A Person-Centred Model of Care Is Growing Among Personal Support Workers

There have been a few noticeable innovations arising in healthcare in recent years, including what’s known as a person or patient-centred model of care. This is an approach that emphasizes the personhood of each client, and takes their individual needs into account when planning and managing their care.

Person-centred care is at the heart of the Gentle Persuasive Approach because it helps PSWs better understand the individual motivations that influence the behaviour of each client. This can be useful when you have a client living with dementia, which manifests differently between each person and may necessitate more personalized care that fits specific needs, schedules, and preferences. In fact, this approach is so useful that more than 300,000 Canadians to date have enriched their caregiving skills with GPA training.

A Gentle Persuasive Approach Can Improve Positive Behaviour Management

Providing a supportive environment is important when you become a personal support worker because your client has just as much of a right to respect, safety, and comfort as anyone else. This can be complicated, however, when a client is living with dementia, because this disease often involves unpredictable or sudden changes in behaviour.

Students at KLC can use their training to create a supportive environment for their clients

Students at KLC can use their training to create a supportive environment for their clients

GPA emphasizes the idea that each behavioural display has meaning behind it, and a majority of these can simply come from unmet needs. Describing behaviour as ‘aggressive’ or ‘challenging’ is unfair to the client, whose behaviour can often stem from complications of their disease. Their disease means they may not be able to fully access the standard methods of expressing their wants or needs, which can lead to frustrated or upset behaviour.

A Gentle Persuasive Approach promotes positive behavioural management techniques such as validation, collaboration, celebration, and accommodation, which encourages your clients to redirect their attention to positive aspects rather than negative ones.

Compassion Is Important When You Become a Personal Support Worker

GPA is featured in a personal support worker course because it emphasizes compassionate care. Although it may seem obvious, compassion can actually go a long way in your PSW career, including improving your work and your client’s quality of life.

Compassion can help PSWs better connect with and understand their clients

Compassion can help PSWs better connect with and understand their clients

Compassion begins with understanding that the person is separate from the disease that affects them; having compassion for your clients means that you are able to sympathize with them, and want to help them in the best way possible. GPA teaches PSWs to ask themselves compassionate questions before they respond to client behaviour, such as whether or not the client may be hungry, tired, or thirsty, and are simply having trouble expressing it. The compassionate answer may in fact be the simplest one—a meal, a nap, a drink of water—and this kind of consideration can help relieve your client’s discomfort before it escalates into problem behaviour.

Do you want to find a PSW private college that can prepare you for a career in caregiving?

Contact KLC College for more information about our programs.

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