What is the Role of a Disability Support Worker?
The primary role of a disability support worker is to provide care and help people in the community living with mental health conditions or physical disabilities. As a qualified support worker, you will help empower and encourage your clients to improve their quality of life.
Not all disability support worker job descriptions are the same. Some roles could involve visiting clients at their homes or even providing live in support work at a supported independent living home. In this article, we’ll identify the three different areas of support that disability support workers provide.
Three Areas of Support:
To understand the role of a disability support worker, we must first recognise the different categories of needs and the individualised support required to assist people living with disabilities. The responsibilities of a disability support worker vary depending on clients’ needs. We have identified three main areas of support: household, personal care and emotional support.
- Household Support
As a disability support worker, you are expected to provide support services for your client in their home regularly. Due to the nature of your client’s disability, support in the household includes assistance with domestic chores such as shopping for food, cooking, cleaning and transport. Additionally, you will be required to assess the safety of the area and assist with developing the client’s independence.
- Personal Care Support
Another crucial role of a disability support worker is to provide daily personal care for people with disabilities. These tasks may include helping them to maintain general hygiene, dressing or supporting them through their disability programs. The level of support you would provide depends on the needs of your client. The skills in knowing how to help will benefit you. In some instances, the tasks required to carry out individual support may be challenging and demanding. With adequate training, you will gain the skills and knowledge you need to navigate through these challenges and provide quality support to help those in need.
- Emotional Support
Most times, as a disability support worker, it means to be a friend. People living with disabilities may feel isolated or withdrawn from society due to their inability to connect with others. The main qualities you will need is to be patient and understanding as well as compassionate and empathetic to your clients. Often, being able to communicate with someone who takes the time to understand their needs can lift a huge weight from their shoulders. By organising social outings and providing emotional support, you are building a social community to encourage and enable them to live their best lives.
Being Able to Help Someone Else
Overall, as with all occupations, a disability support worker comes with its challenges and rewards. You may encounter some challenging situations while carrying out the role as a disability support worker in the initial stages. However, with the skills and knowledge acquired from your qualification, you will be equipped to handle these challenges. You will help promote independence and improve mental wellbeing for a diverse group of people. Ultimately, your support goes a long way in helping many people to live life in the way they want to.
Disability support workers are typically required to have completed a vocational education and training (VET) qualification by their employers. The recommended formal qualifications are CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability) or CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability.
A disability support worker’s salary depends on many factors including experience, the type of work they are doing and state they reside in. The average disability support workers salary ranges between $55k and $65k annually.
Some of the qualities that make a good disability worker are:
- Enjoys helping others
- Has excellent communication skills
- Has patience when working with clients and other support staff
- Is respectful and empathetic towards others
Disability support workers provide both physical and emotional support to those in the community who have a disability. The level of care required depends on the individual client’s needs. Some may require 24/7 care whilst others may only require assistance with basic daily living such as budgeting, grocery shopping or attending appointments.