Home Support Worker Job Description
Home support workers provide living assistance to sick, disabled, and elderly people who cannot look after themselves on their own. They may also look after people recovering from temporary conditions, such as a major surgery. Home support workers are employed by the healthcare industry and are vital members of the healthcare team. They usually work through an agency that specializes in geriatrics, end-of-life, or general in-home care. Some home support workers work with one client full-time, others maintain a few clients at once. Home care is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week business. Home support workers work evenings, weekends, and overnight shifts. This is also a job where one has to be prepared for the unexpected, especially those who specialize in psychiatric disabilities.
Entry level home support workers work under the mentorship of a more experienced home support worker. After gaining experience they can move into a leadership role that involves training new hires. All home support workers answer to the registered nurse or doctor in charge of the client’s care team. According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for home health and personal care aides, which includes home support workers, is set to skyrocket a whopping 40 percent through 2026.
Home Support Worker Duties and Responsibilities
Providing living assistance involves a number of daily and occasional tasks. We researched dozens of home support worker job descriptions to come up with the following list of home support worker duties and responsibilities:
Help Clients Perform Personal Hygiene Tasks
It is important for clients, especially those who are completely immobile, to be bathed regularly, otherwise, they run the risk of infection. Clients may also need help dressing, combing their hair, and brushing their teeth.
Coordinate Transportation to Doctor Appointments
This is an especially important task for clients who have no family members they can rely on for rides. This may involve driving clients to their appointments.
Keep Clients Engaged with Their Friends and Family
When people get sick or reach an advanced age, they tend to withdraw from their social networks. It is up to the home support worker to make sure their clients socialize with friends and family.
Create a Daily Routine Based on Client’s Special Needs
Each client has different needs and limitations. Home support workers must create daily routines that keep clients stimulated and on the path to recovery.
Take Patient Vitals Under Guidance of Nurse
In some states, home support workers can administer basic medication and take patient vitals as long as there is a registered nurse or nurse practitioner present.
Do Grocery Shopping and Prepare Meals
Home support workers make sure their clients follow a nutritional diet as part of their rehabilitation. This involves basic culinary skills.
Give Daily Status Reports to Care Team Leader
Health care workers have to fill out and submit daily reports on the status of their clients to their team leader, who makes care decisions based on this data.
Home Support Worker Skills
If you’re personable, compassionate, reliable, and love to help people, being a home support worker might be a perfect career match for you. It takes a special type of person to be willing to bathe and dress people regularly, especially since some clients are not nice. Home support workers have to have general medical knowledge of the health conditions they specialize in such as cancer, diabetes, and schizophrenia. In addition, employers look for home support workers with the following skills:
- Building rapport and trust with clients through use of interpersonal communication skills
- Coordinating appointments and related transportation using organizational skills
- Preparing meals and doing grocery shopping using basic nutrition and culinary skills
- Preparing accurate daily reports and delivering them to team leader
- Ensuring clients socialize and don’t succumb to loneliness
Home Support Worker Tools of the Trade
- Basic Household Equipment – use basic cooking and cleaning equipment to perform a variety of duties.
Home Support Worker Education and Training
While it is possible to find employment with a high school diploma, most agencies prefer candidates who have gone through some specialized training. In some states, formal training and a certification is needed to work as a home support worker. Education includes courses such as basic nutrition, cooking and cleaning skills, how to read vitals, and how to keep patients free from infection.
Home Support Worker Salary
According to the National Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national median salary for home and personal aide workers, which includes home support workers, is $22,600. The top 10 percent earn above $30,610, while the bottom 10 percent earn below $17,990.
Home Support Worker Resources
If you are a compassionate person with a passion for helping people, peruse the following list of resources to learn more about this career path:
Home Care Association of America – Home support workers wishing to improve their skill set should consider joining the Home Care Association of America, one of the largest and strongest organizations for home care professionals.
National Organization for Human Services – This organization is a general organization dedicated to the entire spectrum of human services careers. It is a good organization for broadening one’s horizons.
Blue Sky Personal Support Workers – Blue Sky, an agency for personal support workers, has a regularly updated blog with information related to being a home support worker.
Integrating a Palliative Approach: Essentials for Personal Support Workers – Covering a multitude of topics, this book a great resource for both students and experienced home support workers.
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