A support worker can be a lifeline for anyone with a catastrophic injury as well as their families. Every person has unique needs, physically and mentally, depending on their injury and their personality, and it is the role of a support worker to help them live their lives as independently as they can.
Support workers are different to carers. As a general term, support workers are based either in the home, in a clinical environment or in the community. This article concerns those in the home.
What does a support worker do?
This depends on the needs of the person and their family. It includes assisting with daily personal care and tasks, helping to practice relearnt skills or teaching new ones, helping them to live as fulfilled as life as possible and providing all-important emotional support.
A support worker isn’t there to take over and make decisions but to assist people to live their lives independently where they can. This will be different for all people and the severity of the trauma or injury can have a huge impact on the degree of independence a person has. Certainly, no two days are the same. Support workers form part of the larger care team, often managed by a case management company. They will liaise with other team members to make sure all needs are being met and the support plan is being adhered to.
How involved do support workers get?
Support workers can become extensions of the family. They can plan and go on holiday, attend medical appointments, manage finances and help with leisure activities. A support worker will get to know the person and family extremely well over time.
What makes a good support worker?
Excellent people skills, patience, empathy and compassion are massively important in being an effective support worker. It’s important to be able to communicate well with different types of people, including family members, medical professionals and care workers. Learning the communication style of the person the support worker is caring for is vital as the support worker may often help others communicate with them. This will help build up a relationship of trust, enabling the support worker to help further improve quality of life as well.
Who is entitled to a support worker?
Support workers work with those who have had traumatic or life-changing injuries. They form part of an extended care team whose responsibility it is to help the person access all the social, physical and mental care and assistance they need.
Case management companies, such as Ainscough Associates, work with support workers in their larger care teams where they input invaluable first-hand experience and knowledge of the people in their care.