Personal Support Worker (PSW) Resources

As you may already know, one of the greatest limitations that we experience is the shortage of qualified service providers willing to provide services to the individuals and families that we serve. To those individuals who have decided to help us fill the need for high quality service providers, by becoming qualified Personal Support Workers (PSWs), we say “thank you!”

The Oregon Department of Humans Services (DHS), Oregon Development Disability Services (ODDS), and the Oregon Home Care Commission (OHCC), and Service Employees International Union (Local 503) have put together a multitude of resources for new and existing PSWs. We have collected a number of them together here, for your benefit.

How to Become a Personal Support Worker

The OHCC holds intermittent recruitment events throughout the state for people who are interested in becoming PSWs. ODDS provides a number of documents relating to applying as and qualifying to become a PSW.

Information relating to both can be found on ODDS’s How to Become a Homecare or Personal Support Worker page. You can also inquire with SDRI’s Provider Coordinators directly: in person (come see us at reception), over the phone, or via e-mail. You can also visit OHCC’s Workforce Development web site for a wealth of other useful information.

Mandatory Abuse Reporting

“All citizens have a responsibility to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Members of the general public may report suspected abuse and neglect if they choose.

Oregon state law, however, mandates that workers in certain professions must make reports if they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse or neglect. These people are called mandatory reporters and they are a crucial link in the system to protect Oregon’s most vulnerable citizens.

All employees of the Oregon Department of Human Services are mandatory reporters. These individuals are required to report because they have frequent contact with at-risk populations – infants and children, people who are elderly or dependent, individuals with mental illness or developmental disabilities, and residents of nursing homes and other health care facilities.”

Mandatory Reporting

“As an employee of DHS you are a Mandatory Reporter.

You are required by law to report alleged abuse of:

— children
— adults age 65 and over
— adults with developmental disabilities
— adults with mental illness, and
— residents in nursing facilities

What constitutes a mandatory report, and when and to whom to make the report, varies depending on which of these individuals is the subject of the report. If you are uncertain regarding the proper reporting authority, request assistance from a manager.”

Mandatory Reporting for DHS Employees

“By law, mandatory reporters must report suspected abuse or neglect of a child regardless of whether or not the knowledge of the abuse was gained in the reporter’s official capacity. In other words, the mandatory reporting of abuse or neglect of children is a 24-hour obligation.

Mandatory reporters, while acting in an official capacity, who come in contact with an elderly or developmentally disabled adult they suspect have been abused or neglected, must report to DHS or law enforcement.”

Mandatory Reporting

For more information, see our Mandatory Abuse Reporting page, and ODDS’s How to Report Abuse and Neglect page.

Personal Support Worker Resources

ODDS has created a page with a number of resources specifically geared toward Personal Support Workers. Topics covered include Enrollment & Renewal, Using eXPRS, Weekly Limits & Overtime, PSW Training & Resources, PSW Job Coaching Information, Employer News & Information.

For that information, see ODDS’s Personal Support Worker Resources page.


New PSW Orientation

All new Personal Support Workers (PSWs) are required to complete two orientations within 90 days of receiving their provider number.

Information about what orientations are available and/or required can be found on ODDS’s Personal Support Worker New Worker Orientation page.

Using the eXPRS Web Site

ODDS has put together several resources explaining how to navigate and use the eXPRS web site.

Once a PSW is qualified, has their PSW # and a login to eXPRS, they may wish to read the PSW General Overview of eXPRS PDF, to watch PSW eXPRS Training Part 1 and Part 2 videos, as well as the eXPRS — Mobile EVV training playlist, and may also want to view the eXPRS User Help Guides. If you need help with eXPRS, they offer a problem-solving matrix and contact points for different scenarios (click to expand the “DD Personal Support Workers (PSWs)” link/section).

Professional Development Certification

As part of the PSW / HCW Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Oregon DHS, there is now available a training certification differential for PSWs.

For more information on the pay differential for completing certain trainings on an ongoing basis, see ODDS’ Professional Development Certification page.

Enhanced and Exceptional Worker Certificate Program

The Enhanced Worker Certification Course gives PSWs and HCWs the opportunity to learn skills needed to provide supports to individuals who require and qualify for enhanced support levels based on the DHS approved assessment tool for the appropriate program.

To receive an Enhanced or Exceptional rate of pay for authorized hours, with authorized customer(s) who require a higher Level of Care, a Personal Support Worker or Homecare Worker must be hired by a consumer with Enhanced or Exceptional needs as defined / authorized by DHS, and complete an OHCC approved certified process, or training.

Not all PSWs or HCWs who work with an Enhanced or Exceptional needs customer are required to go through Enhanced or Exceptional level training. However, any PSWs or HCWs who wish to provide Enhanced or Exceptional level services, at the Enhanced / Exceptional pay rates, must go through OHCC certification in order to do so.

Oregon Intervention System – General Level (OIS-G) is a required component of the Exceptional Personal Support Worker Certificate Program. (See below for more information about OIS.)

For more information on becoming certified to work with Enhanced or Exceptional needs customers at an Enhanced or Exceptional pay rate, see ODDS’s Enhanced and Exceptional Worker Certificate Program page.

PSW Job Coaching Competencies

The Department of Human Services (DHS) requires that employment services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are provided by people who are trained under competency-based training standards. As a step toward meeting this requirement the DHS adopted Core Competencies and Training Standards for Supported Employment Professionals dated 12/5/2013. [Please Note: per the Collective Bargaining Agreement and OAR 411-345, the only employment service that PSWs are allowed to provide is Job Coaching.]

If you think that you might be interested in providing Job Coaching services to individuals with I/DD enrolled in services with Brokerages or CDDPs, you may wish to watch a couple videos about Job Coaching from the customer’s perspective and provider’s perspective. You may also wish to read ODDS’s Personal Support Worker Employment Services Enrollment worker’s guide and the How to Become a Personal Support Worker Job Coach fact sheet.

This information comes from ODDS’ Personal Support Worker Resources page.

Oregon Intervention System (OIS)

Oregon Intervention System (OIS) is Oregon’s system of training and implementing the principles of Positive Behavior Support and Intervention for people who support adults and children with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities who may display challenging behaviors.

There are several ways to get OIS Certified. See ODDS’ Oregon Intervention System (OIS) page.

In addition to requesting OIS training directly, the Metro area DD Training Co-op also frequently hosts OIS-G classes. (Please Note: while SDRI maintains the DD Training Co-op Calendar online, to help get the word out about classes, SDRI generally does not directly host the classes themselves [unless otherwise specified], and does not assist with registration. You will need to click on the class you are interested in, and contact the person or entity hosting the class [usually listed toward the top] directly, in order to register with them.)

CPR/First Aid Training for Workers

The Oregon Home Care Commission (OHCC) will cover the cost of CPR and First Aid training for eligible Homecare and Personal Support Workers.

To see the requirements and/or request training, see ODDS’ CPR/First Aid Training for Workers page.

Online Training for PSWs and HCWs (iLearn)

The OHCC is now offering online ongoing education classes (through ODDS’s iLearn training web site) for PSWs and HCWs. Some classes are required to be taken or re-taken on a regular basis in order to maintain eligibility & qualification to continue providing services to customers, others are simply for those individuals who wish to learn new skills, practice existing skills, expand their repertoire, or grow as people and as providers.

If you wish to know more about ongoing education through OHCC, please see ODDS’ page on Online Training for Personal Support and Homecare Workers and Worker Training News. To sign up with ODDS’s iLearn system, see the iLearn documentation for Creating a User Account (PDF) and Registering for a Classroom Course (PDF).

Oregon Care Partners Training

Oregon Care Partners is able to provide quality training to you at no cost, thanks to funding by the State of Oregon aimed at improving long term care services for aging Oregonians and building caregiver knowledge and skills.

To ensure you have access to the training you need, classes are available both online and in-person. In-person classes are held around the state and led by caring professionals in the field of long term care. Online classes are self-paced and most take only an hour to complete.

For more information about classes offered through Oregon Care Partners, see their web site, including their Frequently Asked Questions page.

Registry and Referral System

The OHCC created and maintains a Registry and Referral System for support providers across the State of Oregon. This system allows Individuals and Case Management Entities (Brokerages and County Developmental Disability Program [CDDP]) to find qualified service providers across the State who are willing, and able to provide services to those in need of supports (Seniors, persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities [I/DD], and persons seeking Addiction or Mental Health services). If you are looking for work as a PSW, keeping your provider record and contact information up-to-date on the Registry is advisable.

For more information on this system, see ODDS’s Registry page.

Oregon Financial Management Agent Services (OR FMAS)

PPL (AKA, Public Partnerships LLC, or PCG Public Partnerships) provides Financial Management Agent Services for the Individuals/Employers and Personal Support Workers who are a part of the Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services (ODDS) OR FMAS program. They are the entity that ODDS / eXPRS uses as a Payroll Company to cut checks or generate direct deposits for PSW service hours.

For more information about Oregon FMAS, or to view, download, or print PPL documents, see PCG Public Partnerships’ Oregon Financial Management Agent Services (OR FMAS) page (provider documents [e.g., Provider Calendar, Federal and Oregon W-4 forms, etc.] are located on the “Program Documents” tab).

BetterOnline Web Site

BetterOnline™ is used by PPL to process and track PSW/employer payroll enrollment so PPL can send paychecks to PSWs. PSWs can use BetterOnline to view their PPL payment / pay stub information and enrollment paperwork, if they wish. [Please Note: BetterOnline is a website managed by PPL, not ODDS, and is not the same as eXPRS. BetterOnline is not used by PSWs to report their hours; to report their hours, PSWs must use eXPRS. Once time is entered and approved in eXPRS, ODDS forwards the payroll to PPL to cut checks and generate direct deposits.]

For more information on the difference between eXPRS and BetterOnline, and who to contact if you have difficulties with either, see eXPRS’s PSW Pro-Tip – eXPRS vs BetterOnline PDF.

PSW / HCW Union — SEIU Local 503

Oregon PSWs and HCWs are represented in Collective Bargaining by the Service Employees International Union (Local 503).

For more information, you can visit the SEIU 503 web site, Union Protections FAQ, Facebook page, follow their Twitter account, or watch an introductory video on YouTube.

PSW Paid Time Off & Health Benefits

“In 2013, SEIU Local 503 reached an agreement with the State of Oregon that resulted in the creation of the Oregon Homecare Workers Supplemental Trust and the Oregon Homecare Workers Benefit Trust, which provide premium assistance and out-of-pocket expense assistance, dental, vision and employee assistance program benefits to all eligible homecare and personal support workers beginning January 1, 2014. The following year, the Trusts began providing Paid Time Off benefits to eligible participants.”

Homecare Worker Supplemental & Benefits Trusts — Benefits Overview

“To be eligible, you must do 40 hours of SEIU homecare bargaining unit work each month for two months in a row. The 40 hours can be for multiple clients, and can come from both homecare and personal support work. After you have worked for two consecutive months, you will then need to complete a one-month waiting period while the State reports your hours to the Trust. Trust staff have to receive and verify your hours data before you can get covered, so make sure you turn in your vouchers on a regular basis.”

Homecare Worker Supplemental & Benefits Trusts

For an overview of benefits available to PSWs & HCWs, see Homecare Worker Supplemental & Benefits Trusts’s Benefits Overview & Paid Time Off (PTO) Benefits pages, as well as the Frequently Asked Questions PDF.

PSW Travel Time

You may be eligible for ‘travel time’ payment(s). This is different than service related mileage reimbursement. Travel time is payment for time spent traveling directly between two individuals’ homes, or worksites, when the travel occurs on the same day.

For more information on who is eligible, under what circumstances, and what exclusions may apply, see ODDS’ PSW Travel Time letter. If you believe you are eligible to claim ‘travel time,’ see ODDS’s video on how to claim your travel time payment(s) in eXPRS. [Please Note: This is separate from any services authorized in a customer’s Individualized Service Plan (ISP) or Plan of Care (POC), and is not administered by the Brokerage or CDDP, but by DHS / ODDS / eXPRS.]

This information comes from ODDS’ Personal Support Worker Resources page.

Health and Safety / Workers Compensation

Please take the time to review the Safety Manual for PSWs and HCWs, and register for health and safety training classes through the OHCC.

For more information, and/or to know what to do if you are injured on the job, while providing services, see ODDS’s Health and Safety page.

Caregiver Supports

Family caregivers with strong supports help those they care for stay in their homes longer and improve their quality of life. Family caregivers often do chores such as shopping, housekeeping, cooking and personal care. However, caregivers face many challenges of their own. Caregivers tend to focus on the other person’s health and welfare and neglect their own well-being.

Caregiver challenges can include:

  • Physical and emotional stress
  • Less time for their personal and family life
  • Balancing work and caregiving
  • Financial hardship

Following are some signs that a caregiver needs support:

  • Health issues such as feeling tired and fatigued, new or worsening health problems, chronic pain, change in appetite, weight changes
  • Emotional issues such as irritability, depression, concentration problems, sense of helplessness or hopelessness
  • Sleep problems such as not easily falling asleep or waking in the night

There are a number of resources available to caregivers, to support them in caring for themselves, in order to more successfully caring for those in their charge.

Family Caregiver Program

Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) and Seniors & People With Disabilities (SPD) has a Family Caregiver Program designed to support certain caregivers in supporting themselves and those they care for, in order to help provide a higher quality of care. While not everyone may qualify for it, it may be a useful resource to those that do qualify (generally either adults caring for elderly family members, or elderly parent / relatives caring either for children, or for adult family members with disabilities).

For more information, see the Family Caregiving Program web page,
Family Caregiver Support Program Brochure PDF, Program Standards PDF, Family Caregiver Handbook PDF.

Aging & Disability Resource Connection

The Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) has put together a number of resources related to Caregiver Supports.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers

Research studies find high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers and increased vulnerability to health problems. Caregivers frequently cite restriction of personal activities and social life as problems. They often feel they have no control over events, and that feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health.

The Powerful Tools for Caregivers program is an evidence-based education program offering a unique combination of elements to give you the skills to take care of yourself while caring for someone else. By taking care of your own health and well-being, you can become a better caregiver.

Powerful Tools for Caregivers — What We Do

For more information about these caregiver self-care classes, see the Powerful Tools for Caregivers web site.