Riverview BSO team member says new role has been a ‘calling’

Three of the members of Riverview Manor’s BSO team: From left to right, PSW Karlie Phillips, RPN Sarah Plumpton and BSO lead Becky Dennie.

Karlie Phillips says working with the team creates new learning experiences every day

PETERBOROUGH, Ont. – Personal support worker (PSW) Karlie Phillips says working with Riverview Manor’s Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) team has been the realization of a career aspiration.

BSO teams work collaboratively to prevent agitation in long-term-care home residents affected by cognitive impairment. Karlie, who started working with the BSO team in August, says this line of work has been a “calling” for her.

“When I was in school I wanted to do something to do with mental health, so this was a step forward for me when I got this position,” Karlie tells The OMNIway.

“I think it was a calling. I have always had that intuition, and I always felt that I wanted to help others, and now that I am there, I feel very confident with that.”

Now that she’s well entrenched in her role with the Peterborough long-term care home’s BSO team, Karlie says she has been learning new things every day, adding it has been a major change from being a PSW on the floor to being a PSW on the BSO team.

“It’s challenging,” she says. “There’s something different every day; everything is totally different from being on the floor and seeing the behaviours to actually dealing with them.”

Becky Dennie, who leads the Riverview Manor BSO team, says Karlie is flourishing in her role and has an excellent rapport with residents. One of Karlie’s key strengths, she says, is her patience and her ability to work with residents individually.

“Karlie is very calm with the residents, and she spends a lot of one-to-one time with the residents who require a lot of extra time,” Becky says.

“She is quick at coming up with different interventions with residents, and she communicates well with the staff and management teams.”

BSO is a provincial initiative that’s enhancing quality of life for seniors affected by dementia and other conditions that can cause agitation. The funding, which is provided to long-term care homes through the province’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks, is largely put towards staff education.

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