Direct support professional is the standard title given to someone who helps to manage the day-to-day lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They commonly work in group homes or in private home care. Accurately describing the roles and requirements of this position helps you to showcase the skills you gain on the job.
Goal Setting and Training
The common starting point to provide direct support care is to set goals with the patient, client or family members. Common goals relate to things like home maintenance, financial management and employment. Once you set goals, you spend considerable time initially and continually coaching and training. In home care, for instance, you might help the client to develop a list of daily cleaning activities and to train him on how to carry them out.
Records and Documentation
A primary administrative role for the support professional is to keep regular logs of client activities. Documentation ensures seamless transitions when a new support worker enters the picture. It also allows you to monitor goals and to communicate to managers about progress. Safety logs are also necessary for tracking any accidents, falls, injuries or health checks for a patient. These logs help to protect the employer against potential lawsuits and claims of negligence.
Patient Protection and Support
People with intellectual and development disabilities are often at greater risk of being taken advantage of by friends, family members, acquaintances and people they are unfamiliar with. In some cases, a direct support professional helps to manage the basic finances of a patient or client. You also advocate for the rights and fair treatment of the client, including ensuring that her basic rights are respected and valued by service providers and employers.
You typically don't need formal education to become a direct support professional. Some states do have core competency or training standards to ensure consistency in care. You also may need to complete certification training in some states. Employers typically require that you are 18 years old and some want previous experience working with disabled populations. Physical strength is necessary to help move patients and equipment.
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