What does a disability support worker do?

Whether in a clinic, hospital or in-home care environment, a disability support worker provides emotional support, physical assistance and companionship for their clients. Some of the more specific duties a support worker may perform in the course of their day may include assisting with medication, performing domestic chores, washing and toileting, providing emotional support, liaising with client’s family and friends, assisting the patient with physical therapy and creating care programs.  

Tasks:

  • Assisting a client to self-administer medication
  • Planning enrichment activities
  • Facilitating transport and mobility for clients
  • Planning a daily itinerary and care program

What skills do I need to be a disability support worker?

Becoming a disability support worker requires a personable demeanour, social awareness, tact and an overall love and dedication to the job and those you care for. Support workers are responsible for the health and safety of their patients. This can make disability support work a demanding job both physically and emotionally. It requires a person to show understanding, composure, tact and perseverance in the face of emotional and physical obstacles. 

Skills/attributes
  • Good communication and listening skills
  • Ability to maintain positive relationships with patients
  • Patience and understanding
  • Physical fitness

Specialisations

There are a number of different opportunities a support worker may choose to pursue. Depending on their personal strengths, interests and employer, the working environment a disability support worker operates in can vary greatly. Many support workers who are passionate about patient care and wellbeing move on to study nursing later in their career.

Attendant Care Worker

An attendant care worker’s role may vary between the domestic and commercial settings, though generally their duties are to provide personal assistance to their patients, helping them with basic daily tasks such as eating, mobility, maintenance of personal hygiene and activity planning.

Home Care Worker

A home care worker deals specifically with assisting the patient in their domestic residence, rather than an assisted living facility or care clinic. The reasons for requiring in-home care may be due to physical or intellectual impairment, old age or injury. Home care workers care for and assist patients with their domestic duties and provide respite for primary carers.

Disability Services Instructor

A disability services instructor makes assessments based on a client’s individual needs and assists them in devising a care program that meets their needs, or updating their care directive as their requirements change. This may involve liaising with health care practitioners, nurses, family members and the client to determine an appropriate plan.

Study pathways for disability support workers

No formal qualifications are required to become a disability support worker. On the job training is generally provided. However, prior experience in a similar field or obtaining qualifications in disability work can make you a more appealing candidate for employment.

Getting Started

Decide how you’d like to begin your career in the health industry.

Skill Building

Get industry knowledge and develop the skills you will need to be a disability support worker.

Professional Development

Work towards gaining practical skills and a wealth of knowledge that will boost your career prospects.

Industry Recognition

Some positions may require you to have prior experience and qualifications in support work. A Working with Children check and a Working with Vulnerable People check are necessary for engaging in work in the care sector.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your disability services career. Target your learning to the career you want and put your best foot forward when you apply for disability services jobs

Job Prospects and Salaries

Disability support workers are currently in extremely high demand. The forecasted growth for both job openings and employment rate within this industry are projected to grow strongly.