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Community Support Worker (CSW) – Assisted Living Program

Work in a role that truly gives back to the community.


Also see: Social Services or Teaching Assistant

Community Support Workers work with social workers and health care professionals to provide care and assistance to the elderly and disabled. With our aging population, an increasing number of Assisted Living positions will be available in group homes, correctional facilities, shelters, and government agencies.


Community support workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services. They assist clients in dealing with personal and social problems. They are employed by social service and government agencies, group homes, correctional facilities, and other establishments.

Industry sources suggest that opportunities will be best in job training programs, residential care facilities, and private social service agencies. Employment opportunities are much better for those who have appropriate post-secondary education. The growing population of elderly persons, the mentally disabled, and developmentally challenged will maintain the need for theses workers. Community support workers support and aid recipients of social assistance and pensions. They provide assistance to clients living in group homes and half-way houses by facilitating and supervising their activities. They may work in crisis intervention and emergency shelter services.

They also can assists in evaluating the effectiveness of treatment programs by tracking (observing, reporting and documenting) clients’ behavioral changes and responses to interventions. Community support workers maintain contact with other social service agencies and other members of a multidisciplinary team involved with their clients to provide information and to obtain feedback on clients’ overall progress. This work is done under the supervision of social workers (Licensed health care professionals – could be RN’s, OT’s, PT’s, Mental Health Case Managers, Social Workers, Dr.’s) or health care professionals. This program gives the student the necessary skills to be a part of the interdisciplinary team working towards quality of life for the people that they work with.

A second diploma is also given for the successful completion of the Health Care Assistant (HCA) components.

CPR, First Aid, RAI, Crisis Prevention and Management, FoodSafe and WHMIS will be completed during the program.

Total Program Hours: 1230 Hours
Full-time Program Length: 49 Weeks (11.4 Months)
Clinical Placements: 300 Total Hours (4 Two-Week Placements) – Work Placement Overview

Tuition / Fees

Our Career Advisors would be happy to discuss tuition costs and financial assistance that may be available for you.

Career Opportunities

Mental Health Assistant; Palliative Care Worker; Community Based Support Worker (Mental Health and Disabilities); Group Home Worker; Life Skills Coach; Care Aide

Entrance Requirements

Grade 12/GED or mature student status. Applicants must successfully complete the admissions interview and entrance assessments.


Applicants for this program must also have excellent communication skills (composition), sign a criminal/medical waiver, obtain a satisfactory certificate of health from a physician, submit a criminal record search, and provide evidence of clear TB testing prior to acceptance. All must be done no more than 3 months before the start date of the program.

Online Learning Components

One or more courses in this program have Instructor-led G2 Online Learning components. The inclusion of online learning tools varies by campus and instructor. *These courses are not online-only.

Last Updated: 06/03/2014
Program may not be available at all campuses. Program content is subject to change.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Care Planning

  • Models of psychosocial rehabilitation
  • Supporting the family
  • Working with children & youth

Professional Skills for Fieldwork in Canada

  • Income security
  • Women’s and Aboriginal services

Mental Health

  • Mental health/mental illness
  • Chronic pain/chronic illness
  • Involvement of family

Aging with Chronic Illness and Developmental Disabilities

  • Changes associated with aging
  • Functional health
  • Social concerns/support systems

Aging and Psychosocial Applications

  • Cognitive issues
  • Personality and ego development theories
  • Work, leisure and retirement issues

Counseling and Support Techniques for Adults

  • Empathy skills
  • Problem-solving approach
  • Crisis counseling

Self Care

  • Stress management
  • Self-awareness
  • Assertiveness training
  • Crisis Prevention and Management

Families and Culture

  • Family types and systems
  • Multicultural issues

Practicum II – Adult Care Services (Comp/Inc)

  • 4-week practical experience

Strategies for Student Success

  • Computer basics/file management
  • Internet/email/keyboarding
  • Goal setting, note taking, problem solving, team work
  • Overview of policies & procedures

Career and Professional Development

  • Interview techniques
  • Create an employment package

Health and Healing: Concepts for Practice

  • Concepts of caring and person-centred care
  • Basic human needs and human development
  • Family culture and diversity

Health 1: Interpersonal Communications

  • Communication with clients families and colleagues
  • Medical terminology, documentation and reporting
  • Vital signs
  • RAI, Crisis Prevention and Management

Health 2: Lifestyle and Choices

  • Holistic components of health and healing (Health Wheel)
  • Basic nutrition and Food Safe
  • Self-care
  • Stress management

Health Care Assistant: Introduction to Practice

  • Health care system in BC and Canada
  • The health care team
  • Standard precautions, safety, WHMIS

Healing 1: Common Health Challenges

  • Human anatomy and physiology
  • Normal aging changes
  • Common health challenges
  • Practical skills used to manage common health challenges

Healing 2: Cognitive Challenges

  • Physical, psychological and behavioural changes
  • Promotion of independence and quality of life
  • Gentle Care

Healing 3: Introduction to Acute Care Skills

  • Develop skills that maintain and promote comfort, safety and quality of life
  • Promotion of independence
  • Wound care, IV, O2, Assisting with
  • Medications
  • Post-operative care
  • Physical examinations
  • First Aid

Healing 4: Hospice-Palliative Care

  • Communication skills used in caring for the dying and their family
  • Understanding Hospice and Palliative Care
  • Personal awareness and self reflection and self care
  • Practical skills used to help manage common challenges in end-of-life care

Healing 5: Mental Health Challenges

  • Members of health care team involved in mental health
  • Common mental health issues – depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders
  • Communication, treatment and preventative strategies

Clinical 1 – Multi-level and/or Complex Care (Comp/Inc)

Clinical 2 – Multi-Level and/or Complex Care (Comp/Inc)

Clinical 3 – Multi-Level and/or Complex Care (Comp/Inc)

Clinical 4 – Assisted Living and/or Home Support (Comp/Inc)

Clinical Training Information

  • Supervised clinical training may include any shifts other than day shift (i.e. evenings – 3 to 11pm or nights – 11pm to 7am and possibly weekends).
  • Students are responsible for their own transportation to and from clinical training sites.
  • Clinical training is conducted in shifts of a minimum of 7.5 hours per day up to 12 hours per day for a total of 150 hours or 2 weeks at each clinical training.
  • Placement sites are subject to availability. Clinical sites may require more current CRC and TB testing (to be done at student’s expense)
  • Food Safe, Standard First Aid, CPR-C and introduction to WHMIS must be completed prior to going out on Clinical