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Expert Direct Care Worker Job Description

A direct care worker provides assistance and care to the elderly, the developmentally or physically disabled, or patients in rehabilitation programs. The job description of a direct care worker involves patience, empathy, strong interpersonal skills, and a detailed knowledge of best care practices.

Position Description

A direct care worker provides a number of services depending on the needs of the individual; these might include running errands, helping patients move around their homes, counseling individuals on independent living, and administering prescribed medication.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities of a Direct Care Worker

  • Helps the elderly or physically disabled move from room to room around their homes.
  • Assists individuals in dressing, bathing, and completing basic hygiene tasks.
  • Oversees any required rehabilitation exercises.
  • Ensures that individuals take their prescribed medications.
  • Prepares meals that adhere to special dietary considerations.
  • Assists with light cleaning and housework.
  • Teaches developmentally disabled adults how to adopt basic independent living skills.
  • Helps adults with developmental disorders learn to make a budget and complete basic household tasks.
  • Works with disabled children in the school system, providing support and assistance during daily activities.
  • Meets with family to discuss needs of patients.
  • Runs errands to the grocery store, laundromat, cleaners, drugstore, and other necessary locations.
  • Serves as a companion for the elderly who live alone.
  • Organizes activities for patients.

RequiredKnowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Demonstrates patience and compassion.
  • Possesses excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Works well with a variety of different individuals.
  • Possesses detailed knowledge of patient’s condition, symptoms, and medications.
  • Exhibits ability to think quickly and act calmly in an emergency.
  • Demonstrates strong organizational skills.
  • Communicates clearly and effectively.
  • Possesses strong listening skills.
  • Pays close attention to detail.
  • Possesses physical stamina required to help individuals move around.
  • Possesses emotional strength necessary to work with ailing patients.
  • Demonstrates awareness of proper first aid and emergency response procedures.
  • Maintains friendly and open demeanor at all times.

Education and Experience

A direct care worker holds a high school diploma, as well as an Associate’s Degree or certification as a Nurse’s Aide or Nursing Assistant. Direct care workers are also required to successfully complete a training program, commissioned by a private company or by their state of residence prior to beginning work. These programs can last anywhere from 1-3 months, and usually culminate in a final exam.

Work Environment

A direct care worker may spend the majority of his or her working hours in a patient’s private residence, helping with daily tasks. Others work in schools, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.Shifts vary, depending on the needs of the individuals – some direct care workers cover a typical 9-5 shift, while others cover night shifts, and most rotate between the two. The job of a direct care worker can be physically and emotionally taxing, especially when working with high-needs individuals.


The average salary for a direct care worker is approximately $50,000 per year. Salaries range from $30,000 to $80,000, depending on the care worker’s years of experience, the company at which they are employed, and the needs of the patient.

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