The life of a disability support worker varies from day to day. A Support Worker works alongside people with numerous disabilities, as they create a fulfilling life for themselves. This covers all areas of life, from taking care of themselves to managing money and using public transport. Disability support workers are passionate, caring, and dedicated workers, who give people with disabilities the power to live the lives they want.
A Typical Day in the Life of a Disability Support Worker
A day in the life of a disability support worker typically involves:
- Developing and implementing programs to support clients to develop skills and abilities;
- Facilitating outings and other social activities;
- Performing household tasks such as menu planning, cooking and serving meals, cleaning, shopping, and so on;
- Providing companionship and support during daily activities;
- Helping people with a disability to maintain contact with their family, friends, and advocates;
- Helping people with a disability to develop and maintain independence and safety in personal care, health care and hygiene.
A disability support worker is a proficient multi-tasker, and a bit of a life coach. To get a better idea of a day in the life of a disability support worker, we’ve outlined a real worker’s day below.
A Day in the Life of Disability Support Worker, “Joan”
“Joan” works in a group home for people with disabilities. The majority of Joan’s shifts are morning shifts, but she does do some afternoons and some sleepovers. Because shifts can change, and the residents need 24-hour support, support workers need to be flexible. When Joan first arrives, she says hello to the residents and other staff. Next is handover with staff from the shift before.
At handover, Joan will find out what happened during the last shift and if there are any issues she needs to be aware of. This is important to ensure that problems don’t escalate. After handover, Joan checks the house diary to see what needs to be done for the shift ahead. Then she pitches in with the main part of the morning—getting residents ready. Some residents need help preparing or eating breakfast, while some also need assistance with their personal hygiene.
During this part of the day, all hands are needed on deck, as things can get chaotic. Once that is completed, the resident’s day needs to be planned. Resident’s activities can include things such as bowling, art or gardening, or medical appointments. Joan is responsible for organising these activities, which means talking to other care providers or the resident’s family members. As the day continues, Joan and the other support workers need to complete the usual housework tasks such as vacuuming and so on. Residents are encouraged to be involved in these tasks, to give them a feeling of inclusion.
For some support workers, there is a lot of paperwork involved in their jobs. A fair bit of Joan’s job is taken up by paperwork, including writing a report at the end of her shift. As Joan completes a handover to the next shift, they discuss her report and any issues from her shift. Once her handover is done, Joan circulates to say goodbye to the residents and staff, before heading home.
A job in disability support is life changing for the people with disabilities and for the support staff. It can be demanding and requires a lot of patience, but it’s also very rewarding. As long as the support worker has patience, a sense of humour, good communication skills, and an ability to adapt.