Direct support specialists provide proper care and assistance to people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. They work in various types of healthcare facilities, such as hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities, but may also provide home health care.
The responsibilities of a direct support specialist revolve around helping patients meet their basic needs, including bathing, eating, dressing, and moving around. However, providing care often involves so much more than that. Hence, direct support specialists are also responsible for doing light housekeeping, planning meals, accompanying patients to appointments, and encouraging self-help activities. Furthermore, they are also responsible for coordinating with patients' other providers to ensure proper care and service.
When hiring for this role, employers require a high school diploma and a valid driver's license. Some may also require related work experience, but this is not always the case. Moreover, employers look for candidates that are compassionate, patient, highly communicable, and have a basic understanding of patient care. A good level of physical fitness is also a common prerequisite for this job, as it requires a lot of pushing, lifting, bending, and doing housework.