What Do Disability Support Workers Do?

Here’s all you need to know about what a disability support worker does and who they help.

Understanding the Role of a Disability Support Worker

Disability support workers are professionals who make life more accessible for their clients, enabling the clients to complete daily tasks independently. The role can include helping with personal hygiene, getting around, shopping, cooking and doing housework. It also, very importantly, includes upskilling the client to enable them to work, attend social events and be a part of the community.

Key Responsibilities

Being a disability support worker is not an easy role to step into, there are a lot of responsibilities that this role is answerable for. But it is rewarding, challenging and regularly unexpected.

Assisting with Daily Living Activities

This can include essential daily tasks, such as dressing, grooming and administering medication. Ensuring the clients' surroundings are safe from trip or fire hazards. You’ll learn how to control the spread of diseases, move and handle equipment safely, how to monitor a client’s health, handle sensitive information confidentially and respond to concerns or complaints effectively. 

Providing Emotional Support

A vital part of the role is supporting clients emotionally, providing ideas for hobbies and mindfulness, being a good listener and being good company. In some cases, you may need to work with other healthcare providers to develop plans for improving their quality of life. It might include getting creative when they aren’t well enough to go out, and supporting visits from friends and family. 

Facilitating Social Engagement

Identifying what makes the client unique, and if they want to be an active part of their community, organising outings and visits. They may have the ability to volunteer somewhere, but not the means of getting somewhere alone, which is where the support worker will be a companion for the commute.

Supporting Independence

The main goal is giving the client the tools needed to live as independently as possible. The support worker may have to research home adaptations, request information to be sent in large print or putting security measures in place. This takes an organised approach and understanding of time sensitivities. 

Who Do Disability Support Workers Help?

There are a range of ways disability support workers help:

  • People with Physical Disabilities

  • Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

  • People with Sensory Disabilities

  • Vulnerable People

The Skills and Qualities Needed

This is the same for lots of care roles:

Empathy and Compassion

Understanding the needs of your clients and ensuring they feel safe is essential. For them to live up to their potential will require patience and being able to put yourself in their shoes. You will become their motivator and companion, enabling them to feel strong enough to live life to the fullest. 

Effective Communication Skills

Being a confident verbal and written communicator means the client understands everything that is wanted of them as well as what options they have, and comprehensive reports are clear and well-documented. Reports on the client's health will need to be completed to gain them home adaptations, additional care, and work allowances, so they must be completed thoroughly. 

Patience and Resilience

Conversations may have to be repeated to ensure a message has been received. Being patient means being tolerant and working through struggles without getting anxious or angry. This is critical and ensures the safe person-centred care a client deserves. Some tasks will be less than interesting, this is where resilience comes in. Repeatedly doing the same thing or working through the same challenges will happen a lot. 

Problem-Solving Abilities

Seeing a problem as an opportunity to fix something is a special skill. Confidence in your problem-solving abilities must be embedded in you, as there will be a lot of independent work (without supervision). In some cases, you’ll need to be the voice of your client and work hard to get the best duty of care.

How to Become a Disability Support Worker

Visit our job pages to see what’s available near you and read our post on the essential qualities of a support worker. Becoming a disability support worker is a welcoming role and open to most people who are dedicated to helping others. 

The Rewards of Being a Disability Support Worker

The rewards are instant and limitless. Helping people learn something new or achieve something on their own is self-fulfilling. You’ll undoubtedly learn new skills yourself and those abilities will help you face future challenges.

The role is interesting and varied, and can be flexible with your life, with lots of opportunities to progress your career. 

Finding Disability Support Worker Jobs

Finding a role as a disability support worker is easier with Social Care People. We have an extensive rolling list of roles in care, and we’re solely here to help you find your perfect job. Register as a candidate today to make sure you don’t miss your next career opportunity. 


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