What is a Direct Support Professional? | Emmaus Homes

What is a Direct Support Professional?

Direct Support Professionals assist people with cognitive and developmental disabilities. They provide support with everyday tasks such as cleaning, preparing meals, taking medications, attending appointments and running errands.

Sometimes when people think of the services Emmaus provides, they think of caregivers. While a caregiver may be incredible in the role, there is a difference between what a caregiver does and the work of a Direct Support Professional or DSP.

A caregiver will do things for someone (e.g. pick out groceries). In contrast, a DSP will work with someone to enable them to do things independently (e.g. help them to pick out their own groceries).

According to indeed.com, the skills a Direct Support Professional, aside from strong people skills, include:

  • Organization: Direct support professionals must maintain accurate, detailed records of their clients’ appointments, medications and activities. Organization is essential to ensure that all critical tasks are completed and documented.
  • Communication: Direct support professionals must communicate with coworkers, other healthcare professionals and the people they support. Strong communication skills help them build a rapport with clients to better assist them.
  • Dependability: The role of a direct support professional is crucial for people that rely on this care. Employers must be able to rely on their support professionals to show up on time and reliably complete all assigned tasks.

Becoming a DSP is a great opportunity if you enjoy working in Direct Care, Community or Group Home settings as a Caregiver, Home Health Aide, Personal Care Assistant (PCA), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Occupational Therapy (OT) Assistant and is also a great way to gain experience if you are currently a student in a Health or Social services field.

Direct Support Professionals pour their heart and soul into their work, like Elaine.

“She comes to work faithfully giving 110% of herself. Elaine is an awesome co-worker. Recently, one of the individuals we support was being honored for her volunteer duties but didn’t have anything to wear for the recognition dinner. Elaine was able to help the individual get everything she needed to look and feel beautiful for her special day.”

Or someone like Bryan,

“Bryan is such a patient guy. He works with four men who smile when they see him in the morning. Bryan knows how important a routine is for them. When he is working the guys know exactly how their morning is going to go without question. Bryan can read body language and see if someone is not feeling well or if they need something. He is very attentive and pays close attention to what everyone enjoys watching, listening to or talking about. He jokes and laughs and is always in happy mood when getting the day started. If something goes wrong, Bryan keeps that same positive attitude.”

As a Direct Support Professional at Emmaus, you could be part of a team who provides care, coaching and support for clients with their daily activities to help them live independently.

The DSP position at Emmaus starts at $12.00/hr.  After 6 months of employment, Direct Support Professionals are eligible to apply for a Direct Support Lead position which pays $15.00/hr.  Emmaus also offers a defined career path to management positions.

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