What Is a Support Worker?


You Will Learn.

  • What a Support Worker is. 
  • What the responsibilities of a Support Worker are.  
  • What qualifications a Support Worker needs.
  • What skills a Support Worker needs.  
  • Who employs a Support Worker.
  • The average salary of a Support Worker.
  • Where the latest Support Worker jobs are and how to apply for them.
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A female Support Worker helping an elderly lady

What Is a Support Worker?

A Support Worker provides assistance and care to individuals with physical or mental health conditions, disabilities, or older adults who require support in their daily lives. 

They work under the guidance and supervision of healthcare professionals, such as nurses or doctors, to ensure the well-being and safety of patients. 

Support Workers may assist with tasks like personal care, administering medication, monitoring vital signs, accompanying patients to appointments, providing emotional support, and assisting with rehabilitation exercises. 

They play a crucial role in promoting the overall health and independence of individuals within healthcare settings, such as hospitals, clinics, or residential care homes.

What Are the Responsibilities of a Support Worker?

While working as a Support Worker, you will be required to: 

  • Provide personal care and assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.
  • Administer medication as prescribed and maintain accurate medication records.
  • Monitor and record vital signs, such as blood pressure and temperature.
  • Assist with mobility and transfers, ensuring patient safety.
  • Accompany patients to appointments, therapies, or recreational activities.
  • Assist in meal planning, preparation, and feeding if necessary.
  • Support individuals with their rehabilitation exercises and therapy plans.
  • Maintain a clean and safe environment for patients.
  • Offer emotional support and actively listen to patients' concerns.
  • Communicate effectively with healthcare professionals and report any changes in patients' conditions.
  • Document observations and care provided accurately and in a timely manner.
  • Participate in team meetings and contribute to care planning for patients.
  • Promote independence and empower patients to engage in activities of daily living.
  • Respect patients' privacy, dignity, and cultural values.
  • Adhere to health and safety regulations and following infection control protocols.

Frequently Asked Questions

The qualifications required for a Support Worker in healthcare can vary depending on the specific role and employer. While formal qualifications are not always mandatory, most employers prefer candidates with a minimum of a Level 2 Diploma in Health and Social Care or a related field. 

Additionally, having relevant experience or training in areas such as first aid, medication administration, manual handling, and safeguarding vulnerable adults can be advantageous. 

Some employers may require Support Workers to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, which verifies their suitability to work with vulnerable individuals. 

Continuous professional development and on-the-job training are often provided to enhance skills and knowledge in the healthcare field.

On average, a Support Worker in the UK can earn between £16,000 and £23,000 per year.

However, this can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, qualifications, and the employer.

Support Workers can be employed by a variety of organisations and institutions involved in healthcare provision. These include hospitals, both public and private, where support workers assist in various departments such as wards, outpatient clinics, and rehabilitation units. 

Residential care homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities also employ support workers to provide care and support to their residents. Home care agencies hire support workers to deliver care directly to individuals in their own homes. 

Additionally, Support Workers may find employment in community health centres, mental health facilities, hospices, and specialised care units, catering to specific conditions or disabilities.

What Skills Does a Support Worker Need?

Key skills of a Support Worker include: 

  • Effective verbal and written communication skills.
  • Active listening to understand patients' needs and concerns.
  • Empathy and compassion to provide emotional support.
  • Maintaining personal hygiene and ensuring patient comfort.
  • Knowledge of medication management and the ability to administer medication as prescribed.
  • Basic understanding of healthcare procedures and equipment used in patient care.
  • Recording and reporting vital signs accurately.
  • Awareness and adherence to health and safety regulations.
  • Understanding infection control protocols and implementing them effectively.
  • Promoting a safe environment for patients and oneself.
  • Keen observation to identify any changes in patients' conditions.
  • Accurate documentation of patient information, care provided, and any notable observations.

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