From the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, Personal Support Workers (PSWs) and family caregivers across Ontario have seen the pandemic from a very unique position — from the bedside up. PSWs are at the bottom of the pecking order. PSWs know their role and place in the hierarchy — it’s keenly felt and understood, and we bear the weight of this hierarchy. We must because under this rigid class system, between us and the bottom is our patients.
PSWs assume the responsibilities of the bureaucracy, politicians, and CEOs when families complain. They bear the responsibility for these decisions, not those in offices. The PSW is held accountable and made to accept the shortcomings of an entire system. We’re brushed off for it. Belittled and discredited for all the work we do, the conditions we do it in, and the toll it has taken on us mentally and physically.
We’re brushed off because profit and greed take priority, and the PSW has been made an expendable commodity. So we’re forced to bear witness to the flaws in our system.
Please remember, the true struggle of the PSW is not about wages; it’s about the cost of bearing the constant responsibility, especially for often being the sole contact between the patients and our health-care hierarchy.
The PSW needs your respect. We stay because of a sense of duty, and taking away the profession solely dedicated to the bedside will make our entire system fall to the ground. We need respect because, without caregivers, we all have no care.