How should a good quality support worker act?

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The disability sector is growing quickly and there are many support workers available – for you to get quality support and the best possible outcome from the services you receive, you need to have a support worker that will best assist you and your needs.

Key points

  • Quality support workers should have several key traits that show they are providing good support
  • Knowing these factors when you are looking for a support worker or provider can help you to find the right one
  • Support workers should be incorporating these important factors into their support delivery

But how do you know the support worker you have, or choose, will provide the quality support you need?

Research from LaTrobe University and the Summer Foundation has highlighted some key factors that a support worker needs to deliver that should result in quality support.

The research

The study, “They treat you like a person, they ask you what you want”: a grounded theory study of quality paid disability support for adults with acquired neurological disability, found that there are nine key factors in good disability support.

One of the most important factors a good support worker needs to have is recognition that the person they are providing support to is an individual with their own needs and experiences.

A quality support worker should also:

  • Want to support a person with disability, not just be working to make money
  • Treat a person with disability as a person and nothing less
  • See a person with disability as the expert in their support needs
  • Respond to a person with disability’s needs

With all of these factors satisfied, you can be assured that you will be able to lead your own supports and make sure you are getting what you need.

You should also work together with your support workers to make sure they are the “right fit” for you, they work well with you, and can “get the balance right”.

What does this mean for a person with disability?

You should have choice and control over who provides your support and what support is provided.

By thinking about the necessary elements for high quality services, you can choose a support worker with the right characteristics to provide you with support that will enhance and assist your life.

With good quality supports you will feel more satisfied, comfortable, safe and have more chance of achieving your goals.

This research also shows that working relationships with your support workers are important and that you will benefit more from a worker that you have a strong relationship with – so try to look out for someone who you get along and is the right fit for you!

What does this mean for a support worker?

Support workers should strive to follow these principles to make sure their clients are being provided support that works for them.

If a support worker knows they are providing a quality service, it will increase their work satisfaction and overall happiness, as well as boost their work opportunities.

If support workers strive for better service, they can expect:

  • More clients wanting to hire them
  • Having clients on a regular roster for longer periods of time
  • A more stable schedule

Providers should consider delivering training to workers around these important qualities and disability awareness, as the training required of support workers may not cover these important factors for quality support.

These important qualities might also be included as assessment criteria in a provider’s hiring process to ensure any support workers hired match the provider’s workplace culture and expectations for quality support.

What characteristics do you believe lead to quality disability support? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Tips for choosing a support provider
How to change NDIS providers
What does the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission do?