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.
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.
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.