The Role of a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA), Personal Support Worker (PSW), and Personal Attendant (PA)

In our communities, a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA), Personal Support Worker (PSW), and Personal Attendant (PA) helps seniors with their personal care and activities of daily living. The care they provide includes supporting residents with getting dressed, applying lotions, cleaning around their home and offering companionship. Their help enables residents to live in comfort, knowing they have caring individuals looking out for them.

At Shannex, working in a Healthcare and Clinical career means providing care to those who need it most. Our Great People lead their support to residents by being compassionate, honest, professional and safe. Every day they put residents first when they provide service excellence to seniors living in our communities.


The Difference between a Continuing Care Assistant (CCA), Personal Support Worker (PSW), and Personal Attendant (PA)

Nursing Homes vs Retirement Living   

One main difference between the roles of a CCA, PSW, and PA is their work environment and the level of care they provide.  

Within Shannex’s Nursing Homes, CCAs and PSWs work to provide care to those that require regular support. The team of CCAs and PSWs are not far away as they work in a resident’s home. If someone needs help, CCAs and PSWs can come give care and support with daily  activities whatever the time may be.  

In long-term care, Continuing Care Assistants and Personal Support Workers are there for residents every step of the way. They are friendly and trusting individuals who provide residents with their personal care daily. 

Personal Attendants work as part of our home care division that offers care services to seniors in our Retirement Living communities. Further, PAs support residents that want some additional support as they live independently in their home at Parkland.  

In addition, the home care team provides a wide range of care and services for residents to choose from. PAs can tailor their support from services like being a companion to go shopping with or someone to help with meal preparation. Overall, a Personal Attendant helps residents that need some light support around their home to keep them enjoying more of what they like. 

Team member smiling while playing cards with resident

Location Difference: Nova Scotia and New Brunswick/Ontario 

The responsibilities of a CCA and PSW are the same, though their location and certification requirements make them unique. 

A Continuing Care Assistant is someone that is certified to deliver personal care and assistance with daily living activities in Nova Scotia. The program a CCA will complete is overseen by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness (DHW) and has a standardized curriculum that is only taught by career colleges. People interested in taking the program can go to licensed educational institutions like Nova Scotia Community College, Eastern College and CBBC Career College. The programs can run for eight months or one year with a summer break.  

A Personal Support Worker provides the same type of care to residents, however, their certification is for working in provinces like New Brunswick and Ontario. Their programs are run differently as they do not have a standardized curriculum and are led by public colleges, private colleges, and employers who are approved to facilitate the course. This program can last several weeks to one year. 

Working as a Team vs Independently 

Another difference between a CCA, PSW and PA is being a part of a team versus working independently.  

Each nursing home has their own care team to support residents. Continuing Care Assistants and Personal Support Workers work alongside LPNs, RNs and other physicians that visit our communities to provide care to seniors. Together, they help one another understand the needs and wants of residents to provide them with quality care and service excellence.  

At the beginning of each shift, the care team collaborates to assess the needs of residents and if there have been any changes in the level of care required.  They utilize each individualized care plan to provide personal care and assistance with daily activities to make sure everyone knows what each residents’ needs are.  

In our home care division, Personal Attendants work independently to provide seniors with their chosen services. Their role is to provide a resident with their personalized care without needing a team. A PA works by themselves as they focus on tailored care like playing cards with residents, vacuuming their home or making meals.   

Want to become one of our Great People? Explore our latest career opportunities today! 

Healthcare professional completing their documentation
Care Team meeting with each other


Work and Learn with Us 

Did you know, our Work and Learn program helps support those wanting to become a CCA and PSW? 

We help provide people with experience and learning opportunities so they can go through a process called Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Shannex supports participants of the Work and Learn program by partnering them with an education provider to determine the best approach to become a CCA through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Program.  

Our program also supports those interested in becoming a PSW in New Brunswick. Once participants complete the 12-week training program with us, they are able to graduate as a PSW. 

Interested in becoming a CCA or PSW? Learn more about our Work and Learn Program

Important Care

Overall, the role of a CCA, PSW and PA is to help seniors live their best life. They are responsible for supporting residents with their care and needs as they change. Whether helping residents with light support around their home or providing regular assistance to those that need, they create meaningful care for those that value it most.  

Want to learn more? Explore our Healthcare and Clinical careers today.