What is a Support Worker?
A Support Worker is a trained professional who gives emotional, social, and practical assistance to people with mental and/or physical disabilities. Their role involves looking after the well-being of these people in their daily lives.
When we refer to a Support Worker we usually think about Support Workers in the domestic sector. Apart from the domestic sector, Support workers are represented in Clinical and Communal sectors.
A Domestic Support Worker provides care to a patient in a home or private house. These experts can work with people of all ages, including children, the elderly, and the disabled. A Support Worker is required when these patients are unable to do a major portion of their daily responsibilities at home or require assistance with specific tasks.
Their responsibilities are quite varied and involve everything from cleaning laundry to making meals to simply listening to their client’s worries.
Some of the Support Work job roles in domestic sector include:
- Personal assistant (provides personal and domestic care)
- Family support worker (helps and advises families with long or short-term difficulties)
- Care assistant (helps clients with their immediate needs like bathing or paying bills)
- Carer (provides physical care and support to their patient)
- Care worker (assists patients with grooming and personal hygiene, prepares meals and provides emotional support)
- Domiciliary carer (helps to keep people living independently in their own homes)
A Clinical Support Worker assists patients in a medical or clinical setting, such as a hospital or private practice. Within the context of a medical facility, they support their patients with a variety of tasks. This sort of Support Worker may assist patients in using the restroom or changing into hospital attire. Depending on the severity of their patient’s demands, they may also assist them with a variety of chores such as taking medicine and other necessary tasks.
Support Work job roles in a Clinical Setting sector include:
- Foot-care assistants (work with podiatrists to provide general foot treatments, assist in minor surgeries and give advice to patients on foot and nail care)
- Nursing assistants (help patients with activities of daily living like eating and bathing)
- Physiotherapy helpers (assists individuals in their treatment preparation (including helping with dressing and undressing), works with patients on exercises, writes reports and keeps track of patients data)
- Nursing auxiliaries (assist physicians, nurses, and other health care providers in caring for the ill and injured in hospitals, homes, clinics, and the community at large)
- Health Care Support Workers (assist patients in moving around, perform basic health exams and monitoring, help patients with dressing and washing and make them feel at ease)
- Occupational therapy aides (help patients get to and from treatment rooms, prepare supplies and equipment for occupational therapists and assistants)
- Language and speech therapy assistants (assist patients who have difficulty speaking and communicating due to physical or psychological issues)
- Ward clerks (work in hospital departments, clinics, and wards, providing administrative assistance)
A Community Support Worker is a professional who helps patients, including adults and children, who are living in difficult conditions or have disabilities. A Social Care Worker is the most prevalent type of Community Support Worker. When helping adults, they may be assisting them in overcoming a mental health crisis or a physical impairment. They might be offering preventative help or protection for children, as well as adoption and fostering services if necessary. Their primary goal in working with people is to assist them in achieving a healthy lifestyle and improving their quality of life.
A Support Workers day-to-day responsibilities vary primarily based on the requirements of the person they are assisting.
Some of them include:
- Assisting people with their everyday duties, such as domestic chores, paperwork, medication administration and personal care
- Teaching clients new skills
- Offering emotional support and ensuring that their clients are enjoying a meaningful life
- Creating complex care support plans that meet the needs of their clients
- Talking to clients and listening to their issues and concerns
- Tending to client’s health needs
- Assisting clients in finding housing, jobs and grants
- Consulting clients about their addictions where necessary
- Assisting clients to partake in recreational activities
- Writing notes and keeping a logbook of daily interactions and progress
- Providing physical care to patients, like bathing, dressing, and feeding
- Teaching and assisting patients with their daily community responsibilities
- Educating family members on patient care and sharing how they can assist
- Assuring that appointments with patients’ physicians are scheduled and kept on time.
- Being responsible for the well-being and safety of patients
- Seeing to the availability of a patient’s medication at all times
- Interacting respectfully with patients and their relatives (if the need arises)
- Keep all matters related to patients or their families confidential at all times
- Extend support/care period if the need arises
- In the case of serious side effects or health-related issues, notify the patient’s physician and family.
Salary levels for entry-level positions vary greatly from one provider to the next, and a lot depends on how qualified you are when you enter the field of Support Care, as well as any previous, relevant experience.
If you choose to work in the public health sector (for the UK National Health Service – NHS) you will be paid according to the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay scheme.
Support Workers are classified as Band 2 depending on their experience, qualifications and skill set.
Care Assistants in NHS-operated care homes earn a starting salary of just over £18,000. This is higher than the standard entry-level salary offered privately.
Working for the NHS also comes with great pension plans and health-care savings, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays, which will grow as your service time rises.
According to National Careers Service, the overall average Family Support Workers salary is between £13,500 and £25,000 per year.
Working hours and work location
Working as a support worker can take you to a range of places, including people’s homes, health and social care settings like assisted living services or care homes.
If you choose to work as a Support Worker for the NHS, your normal workweek will last roughly 37.5 hours and will likely include a range of shifts, such as nights, early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Working in the private sector allows you to work part-time or in other more flexible ways.
Typical work hours range from 36 to 38 hours per week and can include evenings, weekends and bank holidays.
As a Support Worker, you will have a wide array of choices in terms of work location. Some of the institutions that you could work in include:
- Children’s homes
- Retirement homes
- Supported living services
- Care homes
- Private homes
You may be requested to stay overnight on a rota basis if you work in a residential setting.
Some positions, such as personal assistants, usually require you to reside in.
There are no formal requirements for becoming a support worker.
Experience in the healthcare field is advantageous, although it is not mandatory.
Employers will typically provide some type of training when commencing a support worker function, especially for newbies, to provide them with an understanding of the job’s obligations and responsibilities.
Even though they aren’t mandatory, a BSc (Hons) Professional Health Studies, National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) or comparable credentials in the health and social care industry might provide you with an edge in acquiring the support worker job you desire.
The best path in becoming a Support Worker is: Obtain GCSEs > Pursue a diploma > Earn an NVQ > Develop transferable skills > Pursue an apprenticeship > Fulfil on-the-job training
In order to be considered for a role as a support worker, most employers would expect you to satisfy the following standards:
must have skills:
- Multitasking skills
- Great verbal and written communication skills
- The ability to communicate with other healthcare professionals
- A high level of patience and emotional resilience
- Interpersonal skills in order to be able to identify the needs of each patient
- Compassionate when carrying out duties
- Flexible in work patterns and schedule
- Ability to work as part of a team if need be
- The ability to work with minimal supervision always
- Has a great level of trust and honesty at all times
- Excellent problem-solving abilities
- Ability to adapt to different conditions and cases
- When needed, be a role model to the patient that is being supported or guided
- A good level of general education, especially in the communication and healthcare-related fields
- Ability to form healthy, trusting connections with clients and their families
- A non-judgmental attitude toward others, regardless of their needs
- The ability to remain calm under pressure and when dealing with difficult situations
What Can I Do With a Health Studies Degree is the most essential question to ask yourself when considering pursuing a career in Healthcare and Support Work.
Working in the care industry is immensely fulfilling, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most often mentioned reasons for becoming a Support Worker.
Working as a Support Worker necessitates a certain sort of person: one who, almost instinctively, puts others’ needs ahead of their own and does it with compassion.
The primary goal of the position is to enable and support people to live as independently as possible. As a Support Worker, you will work with people who have a variety of health issues such as:
- Learning difficulties
- Physical disabilities
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Mental health issues
- Vulnerable elderly – which includes companion care and caring for people with dementia
To work as a Support worker, you'll need appropriate job experience. Although organised opportunities such as internships are unlikely, you can obtain experience and expand your skills by working or volunteering. Your local volunteer bureau could possibly be able to assist you in obtaining suitable job experience.
Many employers provide Support Workers with the opportunity to earn an NVQ or degree while they work.
This along with a BSc in health studies can pave the way for advancement to a more senior support worker or managerial job role.
Clients looking for Support Workers usually go through three different channels in their search for qualified carers. These are Platforms, Agencies or they look for Support Workers independently through friends, family and via the classified ads sections online.
This University of the West of Scotland London three-year full-time study is a fantastic way to improve in the healthcare or social work areas. This course, taught at their London location, intends to educate students health policy fundamentals, with a focus on the interaction between social and health care.