Personal Support Workers' Experience of Collaboration in a Long-Term Care Facility in Rural Ontario
The growing complexity of healthcare needs of residents living in long-term care necessitates a high level of professional interdependence to deliver quality, individualized care. Personal support workers (PSWs) are the most likely to observe, interpret and respond to resident care plans, yet little is known about how they experience collaboration. This study aimed to describe PSWs’ current experiences with collaboration in long-term care and to understand the factors that influenced their involvement in collaboration. A qualitative approach was used to interview eight PSWs from one long-term care facility in rural Ontario. Thematic analysis revealed three themes: valuing PSWs’ contributions, organizational structure, and individual characteristics and relationships. Collaboration was a difficult process for PSWs who felt largely undervalued and excluded. To improve collaboration, management needs to provide opportunities for PSWs to contribute and support the development of relationships required to collaborate.