Disability is a physical or mental impairment that limits a person’s movements, senses, and activities. It may be present since birth or may occur during a person’s lifetime. Disability is an umbrella term and covers any form of impairment that might slow down or lead to complete inability of doing household tasks. It is not just a health problem, it is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the physical or mental attributes, which need to be fixed.
The myriad of disabilities ranging from sensory impairments like difficulty to see, hear or speak to physical disabilities in the form of amputation, paralysis, accident, or a form of neurological disorder like Parkinson’s disease, alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis renders the affected person to use assisted care. Too often a lack of knowledge about disability, or understanding of how people manage disability day-to-day, prevents people from interacting with each other. Too often, the patients are seen to land up in depression which further accentuates the stress of coping up with the debilitating illness.
There comes the role of disability support workers, who assist the patients who have physical or intellectual disabilities by providing them with specialized care at home, hospital and other care environments. Routes to enter into the career in this field are widely flexible, with vocational and on-the-job experience contributing to qualifications.
Whether you are passionate about a career as a carer or are interested in a volunteer position, working as a disability support worker can be very rewarding. However, at the same time it is very important to remember that it is no mean feat and disability carers have a very challenging career ahead of them as well. If you are considering a career as a support worker, here are some details you ought to know.
What Is A Disability Carer?
A disability support worker is a carer for disabled people, who provides care and support to someone who has some sort of disability. Carers can work with physically and mentally disabled people. Disability support workers provide support to a disabled person within their home and provide assistance with several aspects of their lives, including but not limited to:
- Recreational support
- Everyday household tasks
Disability support workers are held responsible for the basic personal care of participants from daily living skills, personal care, escorting for travel, teaching of independent life skills to assistance with community based activities such as going for studies to school and college, swimming, work places, and other social and leisure activities for disabled individuals of all ages in residential and vocational centers. The worker must have strong communication skills and an intuitive understanding of the human behavior in need.
Disability Carer’s Characteristics and Responsibilities
Not everyone can become a disability carer and a support worker must have certain personality requirements to be well suited for their role as a disability support worker. Some of the commonly expected characteristics and responsibilities are:
- Disability support workers are held responsible to provide emotional support, physical assistance and companionship to their clients.
- To develop and implement specific programs, which aim to support the disabled persons to develop skills and abilities so they are more able to make self decisions, live independently, and participate in the community.
- Encourage the patients to develop personal, community and social relationships
- Help the disabled individual to develop and maintain independence and safety in their personal care, health care and hygiene (eating, dressing, toileting and bathing).
- The knowledge that disabled people have the same rights as everyone else
- Knowing that disabled people deserve to be treated with the same respect as everyone else.
- Monitor the progress of the patient and record daily notes on record sheets.
- Must have a genuinely caring nature and manage the patient’s personal care with dignity and respect.
- Report any significant changes concerning the patient to the office team.
- Must be prepared for hard, sometimes mentally exhausting work
- Must be strongly focussed on human rights
- Must be committed to social justice
Steps to Become a Disability Care Worker
Start your career
Choose a study course that can help you to begin your career in the health, like opt for biological science subjects.
Strengthen your skills and build your resume
Get industry knowledge and the necessary skills needed to be a disability support worker. Gain all the practical skills and knowledge to boost your career prospects to build up a strong resume.
Some positions require that the disability worker must have prior experience and qualifications. Other roles might at times require you to hold a Working with Children check and and a Working With Vulnerable People check.
Put the training done so far to good use and get the best professional head start in disability services career. Highlight the personal strengths and achievements in resume to target the cover letter to the job description listed.
There is an extremely high demand for disability support workers in every country. With the advancement in medical science and high paying capacity per client, the job listing websites have ample opportunities for job openings to help you make a contribution and difference in someone’s life.
Disability Caring Workers: Employment Opportunities
Disability support workers usually aid a disabled person with their daily living needs. Some people continue to be disability carers all their lives, while others do consider other opportunities within the field. After starting out as a disability worker, support workers have a variety of other employment opportunities available to them such as:
- Attendant Care Worker
To providing care for their clients in both domestic and commercial workplace settings, they provide personal assistance, help with basic daily tasks and help to participate in social activities.
- Home Care Worker
These workers assist clients in their domestic residence, instead of in specialised assisted living facility homes or care clinics. They assist the patients and provide care in addition to their primary family member carers.
- Disability Services Instructor
They assess the patient’s individual needs and assist them to develop care programs, which can meet their requirements. This involves collaboration with other health care practitioners, family members and the patient himself to determine an appropriate plan.
- Community care workers
The job involves helping people in day centers, residential or nursing homes. To provide community care packages for support to patients in their individual homes and to delivery the home equipment as appropriate. Community care workers also arrange or provide transport for escorting the clients. They liaise with voluntary bodies, residential and day establishments and other bodies to assist with group and community projects in the area as appropriate.
- Child care assistant
They usually supervise and monitor the safety of disabled children in their care and prepare meals and snacks for them. They teach and help the children to keep and maintain good hygiene and organize activities so that the disabled children can learn about the world and explore their interests. The child care assistant is also responsible to watch for signs of emotional or developmental problems and improvements in children and bring all the changes to the attention of parents and their health care physicians.
- Working in government organizations dealing with disabled people and their rights
- Recreation therapist
- Disability counselors
- Welfare worker
If the disability worker develops a strong foundation, obtain a Certificate III qualification in Disability Work, he/she will progress to a higher grade and rate of pay. Some of the usual career pathways after gaining experience and/or qualifications include senior disability worker roles, Team Leader, Coordinator, Manager, Respite Client Liaison Officer, Data Entry Team Manager, Business Support Coordinator, Practice Support Coordinator or trainer at the Workplace.
Not everyone is cut out to be a disability support worker, but if you think you can handle the pressure and would like a job in which you make a difference to someone’s life on a daily basis, then this might be the career of choice for you.