Personal Support Worker Socio-Demographic Differences Across Care Sectors in Canada

Katherine A.P. Zagrodney, Raisa Deber, Mike Saks, Audrey Laporte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the growing reliance on Personal Support Workers (PSWs) in health care delivery for older adults across hospital, nursing and long-term care home, and home and community (HC) sectors, understanding the PSW labor market is critical for healthcare human resource capacity to care for an aging population. This study utilizes a longitudinal, cross-provincial, individual-level dataset of PSWs in Canada from 1996–2010 to provide socio-demographic characteristics of PSWs by sector. Means, proportions, and multivariate tests of significance showed that PSWs differed significantly by care sector across many factors—including sex, health, family, and education characteristics. That HC PSWs were more likely to be older with lower health and higher disability status is important to consider when examining labor policies. Evidence of sector heterogeneity can lead to important differential effects on PSW labor supply behaviors and this research highlights the importance of tailoring initiatives aimed at recruitment and retention by sector.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)670-679
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Applied Gerontology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


  • health human resources
  • healthcare workforce
  • home and community healthcare
  • hospital
  • nursing and long-term care home
  • personal support workers


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