Duties and responsibilities in the disability sector

Last updated

The tasks performed if you’re working in the disability sector can be either small or more involved. Still, they are centred around offering someone with disability the appropriate support that they need, ensuring their wellbeing and promoting independence. 

Key points

  • People with disability have different needs and requirements and therefore duties can vary
  • Responsibilities will always revolve around offering a person with disability appropriate support, ensuring their wellbeing and building their independence

Every person with disability has different needs and the types of tasks you will perform in your role will depend on that. Below is a general description of some of the main duties and responsibilities for different roles.

Disability support workers

Disability support workers provide care to people living with disability who may need extra support or supervision in their home, the community or residential establishments like Specialist Disability Accommodation.

The client may have low or high support needs, which will impact the types of tasks that you perform for or with them.

Disability support workers can help with outings by providing support to plan excursions and transport people to and from their home. This helps to facilitate participation in the community and social activities.

In the home, disability support workers can help with preparing meals and other domestic tasks like cleaning, grocery shopping and gardening.

Disability support workers may offer assistance to people with disability for personal care, including showering, dressing and other personal needs.

Depending on their training and qualifications, they may also assist clients with higher needs with medication management and other clinical needs.

Support coordinators

Support coordinators are responsible for coordinating supports for people living with disability.

One of their primary roles is to help participants understand their National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan and the NDIS processes.

They are also responsible for identifying service options and managing a client’s allocated individual budget.

One of the other tasks performed by a support coordinator is addressing any service or support delivery issues.

Support coordinators generally have a responsibility to keep up to date with any changes to the NDIS and its systems and practices.

They are also responsible for keeping updated with any changes to local services and organisations.

Case managers

Case managers assist and support people with disability to work out the types and combination of supports that would best meet their needs.

A case manager is responsible for managing an assigned caseload and ensuring people receive appropriate services.

A case manager may undertake duties such as complex support planning, advocacy and linking the client with services like rehabilitation and new supports.

They may review services to see if they’re still of benefit to their client or may suggest changing to different services to address changing needs.

Enrolled Nurses and Registered Nurses

Both an Enrolled Nurse (EN) and a Registered Nurse (RN) may support people with disability with specific health and clinical care needs.

RN’s are responsible for assessing, planning, and the evaluation of nursing care for patients.

They perform tasks such as coordinating the care of patients, providing treatments and therapies, including medication, and monitoring patient responses to both the treatment and the care plan.

RN’s also are responsible for answering questions and providing information to patients.

While EN’s are also responsible for interventions, treatments and therapies, such as administering medications and monitoring responses to treatments or care plans, they do this under the supervision of an RN.

An EN also assesses, plans and implements nursing care for patients.

Specialist support

Specialist support jobs provide people with disability specialised support to meet any additional needs that they may have.

The support provided by people in these jobs will generally depend on the specialisation and area of study.

Some of the areas of specialisation and their tasks and duties include:

  • Speech pathologists – evaluate and treat people with disability who may have difficulties with speech, language or swallowing by identifying therapy options.

    They create and carry treatment plans and teach people how to make sounds, improve their voices, improve fluency, and in some cases, strengthen muscles used to swallow.

  • Occupational Therapists (OT) – evaluate a person’s condition and needs to develop an individual treatment plan.

    OT’s help people with disability learn or adapt their skills to perform day to day tasks, such as dressing, or improving strength and stamina.

    They can, where required, also recommend and instruct patients on how to use special equipment, such as wheelchairs and other aids.

  • Dietitians – provide food and nutrition advice to people to help improve their health.  They do this by creating individualised meal plans after assessing an individual’s needs, health goals and requirements.

What disability sector job would you want to work in? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content
Types of jobs in the disability sector
Qualifications and experience
How do people with disability utilise speech pathology?