Loyalist College and H.J. McFarland Home partner to offer real-world experience

H.J. McFarland Memorial Home environmental services supervisor Jean Harrison leads an orientation session for Loyalist PSW students. (Submitted photo)

The County’s long-term care home is helping to deliver real-world training to a group of Loyalist College students.

A total of 11 students enrolled in the personal support worker (PSW) program at the college will wrap their seven-week internship at H.J. McFarland Memorial Home this week.

Administrator Kim Mauro says in a new release from the municipality the facility strives to be a good member of the community and work with various partners.

“When Loyalist College asked if we would be interested in hosting a group placement, we jumped at the opportunity to help train the next generation of PSWs,” Mauro says.

Throughout the placement, the students visited the home on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The students paired up with staff members to learn how to provide basic care and offer other activities to residents. Each student rotated through all of the home’s units during the placement.

“Our staff provide exceptional care for our residents and I think it’s a great opportunity for them to share their knowledge and expertise with students,” says Mauro. “Our residents benefit from having the additional PSW support. Because these students have a really strong knowledge base from their in-class work, they can make a positive contribution to our home.”

The provincial government has committed to increasing the average to four hours of direct care for seniors living in long-term care homes, McFarland Home may need to bolster its PWS corps in the future, the release says.

“Placements like this one allow us to get the word out about H.J. McFarland and promote ourselves as an employer,” Mauro says. “With several of the Loyalist students hailing from the county, we are hopeful that we can recruit them back home to live and work in our community.”

One of the students, Picton resident Amanda Benson, says the opportunity to learn at home is exciting.

“It’s nice to start our placement here and get a lot of experience,” she says. “I have always had a passion for health care and helping people. I figured the PSW program at Loyalist was a good place to start, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me.”

Fellow student Bethany Kellar says she felt the group would excel during the placement.

“We have a really good group,” she says. “We are all really passionate about this program and the work.”

McFarland Home is a supported living facility for seniors and serves a population of 84 residents.