HCAT 124 - Healing 3: Personal Care and Assistance

This practical course offers students the opportunity to acquire personal care and assistance skills within the parameters of the HCA role. The course is comprised of class and supervised laboratory experiences which assist the student to integrate theory from other courses to develop care-giver skills that maintain and promote the comfort, safety, and independence of individuals in community and facility contexts.    


Hours: 120 (Lecture Hours: 42; Laboratory Hours: 78)




Non-Course Prerequisites:


HCAT 110, HCAT 111, HCAT 112, HCAT 113, HCAT 123, and HCAT 125


Course Content:
1. Problem-solving when carrying out care-giving procedures
    •  Planning and implementing care based on the person’s needs, the established care plan and agency policies.
    •  Assessing the client and the situation prior to commencing care.
    •  Identifying unsafe environments or situations.
    •  Seeking assistance if necessary in order to maintain the safety of the client and /or the care provider.
    •  Organizing equipment and supplies in order to efficiently complete tasks.
    •  Checking equipment for safety and functionality.
    •  Reporting equipment malfunction.
    •  Performing the procedures(s).
    •  Maintaining client privacy and dignity.
    •  Encouraging independence and self-care as much as possible.
    •  Cleaning equipment after use and returning to appropriate place.
    •  Tidying the client’s environment.
    •  Evaluating effectiveness of the procedure.
    •  Reporting and recording actions, results and observations.
    •  Responding appropriately to emergency situations.
2. Asepsis and prevention of infection.
    •  Microorganisms, including MROs, and the spread of infection.
    •  Principles and practice of medical asepsis.
    •  Routine practices.
    •  Hand washing
    •  Gloving.
    •  Isolation precautions
3. Promoting comfort and rest
    •  Admitting a person to a facility.
    •  Promoting comfort, rest, and sleep.
4. Promoting personal hygiene.
    •  Oral hygiene.
    •  Bathing - bed bath, tub baths and showers.
    •  Providing perineal care.
    •  Assisting with grooming and dressing.
    •  A.M. and h.s. care.
        back massage and skin care
    •  Using pressure relieving devices.
5. Moving, positioning and transferring a client.
    •  Body mechanics.
    •  Turning a person in bed.
    •  Using positioning devices.
    •  Assisting with transferring and moving a person in a hospital bed and a regular bed.
    •  Transferring a person to a stretcher.
    •  Moving a person to the side of a bed and assisting him/her to sit.
    •  Transferring a person from a bed to a chair or wheelchair and back.
    •  Transferring a person from a wheelchair to a bath chair or toilet.
    •  Using mechanical lifts including ceiling lifts.
    •  Cleaning of equipment (in the home)
6. Bedmaking
    •  Making a closed bed.
    •  Making an open bed.
    •  Making an occupied bed.
7. Promoting exercise and activity.
    •  Bed rest.
    •  Assisting with ambulation.
    •  Assisting with walking devices - especially safe use of walkers with resting seat.
    •  Assisting with wheelchairs.
    •  Dealing with falls
8. Promoting healthy nutrition and fluid intake.
    •  Utilizing an understanding of basic nutrition related to the client’s health needs and preferences.
    •  Serving meals in ways that encourage normalizing interactions.
    •  Assisting clients with eating and drinking.
    •  Utilizing safe feeding/eating assistance techniques with individuals who are experiencing difficulty biting, chewing, and/or swallowing.
    •  Observing and recording intake and output.
9. Promoting urinary and bowel elimination.
    •  Using bedpans and urinals.
    •  Toileting techniques.
    •  Using commodes
    •  Assisting the person with urinary and bowel incontinence.
    •  Using urinary incontinence products.
    •  Assisting the person with condom catheter drainage.
    •  Assisting the person with an established catheter (may be DOT)
    •  Emptying drainage bags.
    •  Collecting urine specimens.
    •  Factors affecting bowel elimination
    •  Assisting with bowel training.
    •  Administering enemas and suppositories (may be DOT)
    •  Assisting the person with an established ostomy (may be DOT)
    •  Collecting stool specimens.
10. Measuring vital signs.
    •  Measuring height and weight.
    •  Measuring body temperature
    •  Monitoring pulse and respirations.
    •  Being familiar with differing types of equipment.
    •  Reporting and recording vital signs.
11. Heat and cold applications (usually DOT)
    •  Knowing policies and procedures of facility/agency.
    •  Theory of heat and cold applications.
12. Assisting with oxygen needs (May be DOT)
    •  Safe use of oxygen.
    •  Recognizing oxygen concentrators, tanks (compressed oxygen) and liquid oxygen.
    •  Dealing with oxygen tubing.
13. Assisting with medications for clients able to direct own care (may be DOT)
    •  Assisting vs. administering in relation to parameters of practice.
    •  Roles and responsibilities, legal implications of actions.
    •  Observing client for untoward effects (i.e. recognizing what is not normal and reporting it).
    •  General types of medications (capsules, tablets, ointments, suppositories, liquids, drops).
    •  Common abbreviations used with medications
    •  Label reading
    •  Critical “rights” of assisting with medications.
    •  Assisting with pre-packaged, pre-measured oral medications.
    •  Assisting with oral, eye and transdermal medications.
    •  Assisting with metered dose inhalers.
    •  Assisting with topical applications of ointments.
    •  Documentation.
14. Home management.
    •  Application of agency policies and procedures.
    •  Assessing the home for safety risks (for client and caregiver).
    •  Fire hazards and safety precautions.
    •  Maintaining safety and medical asepsis in the home setting.
    •  Using common cleaning agents (application of WHMIS).
    •  Using body mechanics in a home environment.
    •  Dealing with emergencies in the home
    •  Community resources and supports.


Learning Outcomes:
1. Perform personal care skills in an organized manner, ensuring the comfort and appropriate independence of the client:
    • Organize and implement care according to client needs.
    • Encourage independence of the client as much as possible.
    • Encourage client communication and engagement during personal care.
    • Maintain client privacy and dignity.
    • Assist client with personal hygiene and grooming
    • Assist the client with movement and ambulation
    • Use aids to promote comfort, relaxation and sleep
    • Take and record vital signs accurately (temperature, pulse, respirations)
    • Assist the client to meet nutritional needs.
    • Assist the client with medication
    • Provide specialized, sensitive care for the dying client in line with palliative care principles
2. Apply an informed problem-solving process to the provision of care and assistance:
    • Assess the client and situation
    • Observe changes in the client’s health status
    • Set priorities or make adjustments to the care process based on client requirements
    • Identify priorities for care within the care plan.
    • Utilize appropriate health team members as resources to augment one’s own problem solving and decision-making
    • Follow the care plan for each client
    • Conduct care-giving or assisting activities
    • Reflect on and evaluate effectiveness of care or assistance
    • Carry out recording requirements.
    • Utilize creativity when required to adapt care and assistance to a variety of contexts.
3. Provide personal care and assistance within the parameters of the HCA
    • Comply with legal/employer-defined parameters of practice for HCA roles
    • Collaborate with other members of the health team.
    • Use appropriate lines of communication.
    • Demonstrate dependability, reliability, honesty and integrity
    • Adhere to the client’s care plan.
4. Provide care and assistance in ways that maintain safety for self and others in a variety of contexts:
    • Wear safe and appropriate clothing, including identification
    • Assess the environment prior to commencing care
    • Adjust the environment, as appropriate, to ensure safety and to promote efficiency.
    • Organize time and equipment for safety and efficiency.
    • Base choices and actions on a sound knowledge of asepsis and body mechanics
    • Adhere to infection control practices.
    • Recognize and make wise choices in situations of potential risk to self or others.
    • Exhibit flexible and adaptable behaviour in a variety of contexts.
    • Recognize and respond appropriately to emergency situations.


Grading System: Percentage


Passing Grade: 75% 


Text Books:
Textbooks are subject to change.  Please contact the bookstore at your local campus for current book lists.