Personal Support Worker

Considering Personal Support Worker Training? 3 Signs of Abuse To Watch For

December 23, 2022

“Abuse” is a word that is thrown around often, but what does it really mean? What are the signs of abuse, and how do we stop it? There are many kinds of abuse encountered by adults. Today, we are going to talk about financial, physical and emotional abuse. 

In Personal Support Worker (PSW) training at Medix College, students learn to examine family violence, the cycle of violence and signs of abuse and neglect. They will fully understand their role and responsibility when abuse is suspected and feel confident knowing they are taking the right action to protect clients in their care. Continue reading for three signs of abuse to look out for during your PSW career.

1. Be Aware of Financial Abuse After Personal Support Worker Training

Did you know that financial abuse is the most prevalent form of elder abuse today in Canada? You may be wondering what that looks like in real-life scenarios. If somebody tricks, threatens or persuades seniors out of their money, property or possessions, it is considered financial abuse. 

Family members of your client are not necessarily excluded from initiating this kind of abuse. If a family member is in charge of your client’s finances and ignores their basic necessities, such as toiletries, clothing or other personal items, it’s still considered financial abuse.

Trained PSWs know how to look for warning signs. This may include sudden changes in banking practices, unauthorized withdrawal of funds, items going missing in their home, a lack of products or food, and more. Those who have completed personal support worker training know that they play a big responsibility in their clients’ lives. Being aware is just part of the solution; if a client approaches you and claims abuse, it’s important to take it seriously.

After personal support worker training, you’ll learn to properly deal with abusive situations.

2. Good Personal Support Workers Know to Look For Physical Abuse

Seniors are often powerless to protect themselves, lacking the physical strength and, in some cases, the verbal abilities to prevent or report abuse. It is physical abuse if somebody hits an older adult or handles the person roughly, even if there is no injury. This type of abuse is sometimes passed off as a fall or other type of accident. 

With that being said, you may be wondering how you can tell if a client is being physically abused if they don’t report it. A good indication that you should investigate an incident further is if the injury does not match the story behind how it happened. Ask your clients questions about their injuries. At the same time, monitor their physical responses to gauge if they are comfortable talking about it. Individuals trained at Medix College in our PSW course will be fully prepared to handle different abuse situations and know the importance of reporting incidents to their employers.

PSWs understand the importance and responsibility of reporting abuse.

3. Watch For Signs Of Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse (or psychological abuse) is typically inflicted in private because it can diminish the identity and dignity of the abused person. The most common forms of emotional abuse include name-calling, yelling, ignoring, threatening or insulting. In some cases, threats of institutionalization, isolation from social activities, or withholding access to loved ones may occur. 

Unlike physical abuse, it’s not as easy to identify. A warning sign does not automatically mean abuse is happening; ask questions, seek advice from experts on abuse, and be respectful. Being aware is the first step. If you suspect an older adult is being abused, start by talking to the person, in private, and ask whether they feel safe at home and are being well cared for. If the situation is an emergency and you feel the person is at immediate risk, call 911. 

PSW training at Medix College includes a course on Abuse and Neglect, where students will learn to examine the cycle of violence and indicators of abuse, as well as the role of the worker when abuse is suspected and reported. In less than a year, our PSW program will train you to provide care, support, and assistance to clients who are aging, chronically ill, or living with physical or mental disabilities. 


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