#PeopleofPCH is a series that highlights the diverse stories of staff, residents, and families across Partners Community Health (PCH).
Say hello to Ana Foti-Leslie, personal support worker (PSW) at Camilla Care. Ana shares her story for PSW Day:
“I started my career as an Early Childhood Educator working in a daycare. One day when I was visiting a loved one in a long-term care home, I began asking the personal support workers (PSWs) questions about their role, what they did and how they enjoyed working at the home. From our conversations, I became interested in the field because it aligned with my passion for caring for people. I went back to school and got my certificate in personal support work.
I’ve been a PSW for 22 years, and the last nine I’ve spent at Camilla Care. As soon as I entered the building when I came for my job interview, I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be. Over the years, the people here have become more than colleagues, they are like my second family.
Being able to make a difference in someone’s life is my favourite part of being a PSW. In my role, I provide direct care to residents and help them with their physical needs such as bathing, dressing, and eating. I also enjoy getting the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of residents and families.
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was a very stressful and difficult time for residents, families, and staff. I wanted to do something that would bring some positivity and light into the home. In the 12 days leading up to Christmas, I wore a different headband every day, added bells to my shoes, and incorporated lights into my outfits. Even though I was covered head-to-toe in a gown and personal protective equipment, the lights and decorations were still visible underneath. This small effort brought everyone a lot of joy and laughter during an extremely challenging time.
Since then, this has turned into an annual tradition. Now, I wear a full costume on Halloween, and different headbands and accessories for the whole month of October and December. Sometimes, I even make T-shirts for special occasions.
As a PSW, I often reflect on a famous quote by Maya Angelou, ‘people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Knowing that my small gestures will impact residents and can be remembered gives me a sense of purpose and gratitude in my work.”