What is Direct Care Work?
Direct Care Work is a category of careers in which people help clients, often older adults, physically, or developmentally disabled individuals. Paraprofessionals within this field provide companionship, hands-on care with activities of daily living (ADLs), basic healthcare, and assistance within the home or long term care facility. Career caregivers are desired to fulfill a need for workers within this occupation field. Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA), Home Health Aides (HHA), and Personal Care Workers (PCW) are common examples of direct care workers. Components of direct care work vary depending on the setting in which a caregiver is employed.
Direct Care Work has opportunities for:
- Extra income
- Flexible hours
- Personal recognition
- Touching the lives of others
- Quality training and support
- Career advancement
Caring Careers are crucial in long term care. Many job opportunities are available in a variety of healthcare settings, such as clients' homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, hospice agencies, and nursing homes. Older adults, terminally ill, physically or developmentally disabled individuals, and other diverse populations are cared for and assisted.
*All direct care workers within long-term care must meet certain qualifications. Requirements for LTC positions include a criminal background check, a physical health assessment, speaking and writing skills, and physical capabilities.
Nursing Assistant (NA) Occupation Profile
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
Home Health Aide (HHA)
Hospice Aide (HA)
Certified Medication Assistant (CMA)
Direct Care Workers fulfilling these positions provide a full range of basic healthcare for clients under the supervision of a licensed nurse. Employment is often in nursing homes, home health and hospice agencies, assisted living facilities, and other community based settings. Nursing Assistants aid clients with activities of daily living (ADLs); such as eating, bathing, and toileting. Workers also provide restorative aid and perform clinical tasks, such as range-of-motion exercises and blood pressure readings. With an advanced degree as a Medication Assistant, Nursing Assistants may also administer oral medications to clients.
Training: 120-hour training programs are offered within community colleges and other educational settings. State certification is required. Additional training in specialty areas of hospice or home health is provided by employers. Medication Assistants require 108 hours of training in addition to 2,000 hours of CNA experience.
Supportive Home Care Occupation Profile
Personal Care Worker (PCW)
Resident Assistant (RA)
Direct Support Worker (DSW)
Supportive Home Care Worker (SHC)
Support workers provide clients with assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and personal care, but do not provide basic health care. Employment is often in supportive home care agencies, assisted-living and community-based residential facilities.
Training: Employers will provide training; usually 40-80 hours of training (as required by state regulations).
Long Term Care Nurse
Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)
Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)
Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
Nurses within long term care care provide health care support to clients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes, and in their residence. LTC nurses are typically the supervisors of direct care workers.
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Training: Community college settings, such as Gateway Technical College, offer educational programs for ADN and LPN nurse training. 4-year colleges or universities provide schooling for BSN nurse programs. State certification and licensing is required.