Direct Support Professional Job Description: Top Duties and Requirements

A Direct Support Professional, or Direct Support Provider, works with individuals who have developmental disabilities. Their duties include creating behaviour plans for these individuals, teaching them self-care skills, and helping them with certain essential daily tasks.

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Direct Support Professional duties and responsibilities

A Direct Support Professional is someone who personally supports those with mental or physical disabilities, among other challenges. Some primary duties and responsibilities of a Direct Support Professional include:

  • Providing assistance to clients in dealing with personal tasks such as bathing and dressing
  • Performing housekeeping tasks including vacuuming, washing dishes, and cleaning, among others
  • Helping clients with grocery shopping and meal preparation while ensuring they meet their daily nutritional requirements
  • Planning client appointments and organizing their schedule
  • Organizing transportation arrangements for clients based on their appointments
  • Helping clients interact within their community and social network

What does a Direct Support Professional do?

A Direct Support Professional provides assistance to people with cognitive impairments, chronic illnesses, or other mental or physical disabilities. Direct Support Professionals work in a variety of settings, including group homes, residential or retirement homes, day service programs, and client homes. They provide support to people with different medical conditions and assist them with personal tasks and other daily activities. 

Direct Support Professional skills and qualifications

A Direct Support Professional must have a wide variety of skills to fulfill the needs of their clients. Some examples of a Direct Support Professional’s skills and qualifications include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Comprehensive knowledge of protocols related to specific projects or client needs
  • Integrity, trustworthiness, and dependability to provide assurance to clients and their families that their loved ones are safe
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Compassion, sensitivity, and empathy when dealing with clients with a variety of healthcare issues

Direct Support Professional experience requirements

Direct Support Professionals generally must have a minimum of one year of experience as a Developmental Service Worker. Depending on the type of clients involved, some candidates may need someone with experience working with children. Candidates who have experience supporting clients with complex conditions and high behavioural needs are preferred for roles working with clients with specific health conditions.

Direct Support Professional education and training requirements

A Direct Support Professional generally must have a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as a valid first aid and CPR certification. They should also be trained in basic housekeeping tasks and be familiar with safety protocols, including how to respond to the patients in case of an emergency while knowing who to contact when the need arises. In addition, a Direct Support Professional must have knowledge about basic nutrition to ensure that clients eat properly, an awareness of infection control to protect clients from health-related complications, and the understanding of how to properly take note of vital signs.

Direct Support Professional salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average pay for a Direct Support Professional is $18.53 per hour in Canada. Rate of pay may be dependent on experience, location, and type of client.

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Direct Support Professional job description FAQs

What qualities make a good Direct Support Professional?

A Direct Support Professional has to engage with clients on a regular basis. They must maintain integrity at all times, as this will increase the client’s trust in them. Communication skills are also very important because Direct Support Professionals have to engage in direct communication with both the patient and their family, and need everyone in the loop to manage any challenges along the way. In addition, a Direct Support Professional must have the patience to fulfill client needs and handle requests for support in a polite and respectful manner, especially because they often have to interact with individuals who suffer from cognitive impairment or mobility issues.

Who does a Direct Support Professional report to?

Direct Support Professionals generally report to their Team Leader, and are expected to provide regular reports and updates about client tasks, appointments, progress, and any areas that need attention.

What makes a good Direct Support Professional job description?

A good job description for a Direct Support Professional clearly specifies the type and level of experience required for the role, the type of clients they will support, and the training and certification they require to effectively fulfill their responsibilities. A good job description also clearly outlines the hours the employee will have to commit to, and if they need to be flexible in terms of schedules and assigned shifts. Since this position requires the candidate to be in close contact with clients, the job description should clearly specify soft skills that can be useful in this role. 

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