Resident Support Aides

Perley Rideau Welcomes Resident Support Aides

20 Newcomers Arrive to Support Residents and Staff
(May 20, 2021)

Helping hands have arrived!

This week, 20 Resident Support Aides (RSAs) arrived at the Perley Rideau to engage residents and support staff through the next stage of the pandemic.

Launched under the Ontario Workforce Reserve for Senior Support (OWRSS) program, the RSA role is intended to increase staffing support in the long-term care sector during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Providing non-care related duties, RSAs will assist in maintaining a safe and secure environment for residents, visitors and other staff members. Residents will benefit from the provision of comfort and companionship.

A new role in the healthcare sector, the RSA was conceived in response to two factors emerging from the pandemic: 1) the displacement of individuals from the retail and hospitality sectors; 2) ongoing stress on healthcare sector human resources.

Key Activities of RSAs

  • Assisting at meal times and during nutritional breaks by helping with set up, delivery and service to residents in the dining room, in their rooms or in activity areas.
    • They do not feed residents.
  • Portering/guiding residents to and from their rooms and throughout the home to activities (e.g. hairdresser, physio, church services).
  • Supporting residents in managing their personal belongings and organizing their personal laundry, choosing clothing and assisting the resident as requested.
  • Assisting residents with devices (cell phones/tablets) to enable residents to communicate with their families and friends.
  • Providing 1:1, as required, if a resident admitted to a secure bed requires physical isolation.
  • Providing companionship to residents (read, music, crafts, etc.).
  • Helping residents to keep their personal belongings and environment safe, clean and tidy and making beds.
  • Checking equipment and restocking unit supplies.
  • Assisting, as appropriate, with team members who are transferring or positioning residents.
    • They cannot lift/transfer. They can be a 'spotter'.
  • Completing assigned clerical tasks.
  • Assisting in set up of resident activities and programs.

All RSAs completed a mandatory 15-hour online learning program provided by Michener Institute of Education at UHN and a Vulnerable Sector Check. As a requirement to enroll in the RSA program, all applicants must have completed of two years of secondary school (minimum of grade 10), have good judgement along with the ability to observe residents and behavioural changes. A RSA, the government documents detail, should be sensitive and empathetic to the needs of residents and the skills to effectively communicate with residents, visitors and others.

The RSAs are hired as casual, non-union employees of The Ottawa Hospital, the government-appointed Partner Agency responsible for deploying RSAs to long-term care homes. 

These positions are temporary. The RSAs will work under the supervision of Perley Rideau’s PSW Supervisors supporting long-term care and assisting the Assisted Living Services (ALS) clients in Commissionaires Ottawa Place apartments.

Upon arrival, all RSAs take part in the Perley Rideau’s orientation program providing education on our home’s policies and procedures and they receive Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) training before heading onto the units and into the apartments to support ALS clients, residents and staff.

“We warmly welcome the arrival of Resident Support Aides to support our staff and interact with residents, especially benefitting those individuals wanting more personal interaction,” says Rachel de Kemp, Director of Nursing.

“The pandemic has been challenging for all members of the Perley Rideau community and this new role will allow staff to focus on meeting the clinical needs for our residents and clients.”