The Direct Support Professionals are a vital part of the healthcare, health delivery and quality of life for millions of Americans. They are those who perform the essential job functions within human service organizations, particularly among the developmentally disabled population, nursing home, day treatment programs, state institutions, and other state institutions. Their recognition is still low, and their salaries stagnant. It seems that they are subject to different stigmas due to the fact that people with disabilities and disability have not been given the attention and respect that they deserve. No matter how wealthy, educated, and healthy, everyone will need assistance at some point in their lives. Direct care workers will always be required. Although direct care workers are vital, they face resistance from many sources. Many direct care workers reported that their overall compensation, career advancement and stability suffer when they are referring to this section of the population.
It doesn’t matter how rich or famous you are, there is no way to be enough without the support of someone else. However, no amount of personal accomplishment should be considered sufficient to not lend support, help or give attention to those less fortunate. Direct care workers who are expected to support other people need to see a significant change in their work environment. This will allow them to earn decent wages, great recognition, and advance their careers.
Transformation and social change are not something that can be achieved overnight. They also don’t happen quickly. There will always be resistance, it is certain. Fear of the unknown is the reason for resistance. It’s due to a feeling of comfort. It can also be due to ignorance. True believers and visionaries in social transformation do not have to set a deadline, but they can use education to achieve their goals. They don’t seem unrealistic. They are aware that they will face opposition, rejection, setbacks, and difficulties but they keep going. They know they will not see the end of their fight but others will.
As social and human services workers, we need to be fully involved in our mission, even if we don’t see the full fulfillment of our vision. Visionaries don’t initiate a process expecting to live or see what they envision. It is for tomorrow, so future generations can continue the work and reap the benefits of their labor.
Even though we feel frustrated by the ignorance or reactions of the public to our field and direct care jobs in particular, we still participate in the larger welfare system, which is designed to provide security, equal access and opportunities for all and happiness for everyone.
It takes practice and learning to be fully engaged. It takes patience, courage, yes, courage because of all setbacks. But most importantly, it is our deep understanding of why and how we do what we do that will keep us on our toes and help us move forward in our quest for a better world for all of humanity. It is the foundation of everything we do.
Some kind of assistance will be needed at some point in your life. Human beings are interconnected, interdependent, and connected by a moral contract. Our relationships are based on time, space, and need.
Direct Support professionals are people who can help someone with a disability or impairment. They are responsible for meeting the needs of people with disabilities. This profession requires strong ethics, qualifications, and dispositions. They are more than just a business force, they also help and get paid. They are more than just a gender or physical entity. They can be a source of emotional support for disabled people.
They are a person’s only source of comfort and relief. They can be considered family, or the family that a disabled person would like to have. The Direct Support Professionals are a person’s advocate, protector, and defender. He or she is the disabled person’s advocate, voice, and ears. Direct care workers are the person with disabilities’ best interests at all times and in all situations. Understanding the importance and value of direct care will hopefully change the way it is perceived by politicians, the public and government officials, but also by direct care workers, managers, and other professionals working in the human service field.
It is hoped that more support will be provided to human service agencies and their direct care workers, who do the most important work. As a result, direct care workers will view their job from a new angle and be proud of what it accomplishes. Every human service professional hopes that budget cuts do not threaten their vital organizations, whose visions and revolutionary missions are transforming society and the world. They want to be able to treat people with disabilities with respect, dignity, and fairness.
Direct support workers, also known as direct care workers, provide a variety of services and support for individuals with disabilities, the elderly, the sick and our servicemen who protect us, some of whom return home with some disabilities, retired doctors, and lawyers. They play an important part in maintaining the stability, health, and well-being of society. Direct care can be very demanding in terms of the daily responsibilities. It can also prove to be mentally and physically draining. There are places in human service agencies that have a minimum staff and can deal with individuals’ behaviors while still meeting the agency’s expectations.
Many of the problems in social service agencies, nursing homes, and other human services are directly caused by underpaid, overworked, poorly trained staff. Paradoxically, some of these poor management styles and practices go unchallenged. The executive team is not informed until things become dangerously embarrassing and publically wrong. The environment is strained and sapped by the countless rules and regulations that are added each year, causing fear, stress, and unnecessary burden. It is usually those who have never been involved with or worked with persons with disabilities that want to talk about the direction human service agencies should take.
Despite all the technological, intellectual and medical advances made in disability research, we still fail to fully embrace it. Although some people have better human, professional, and emotional dispositions to care to others, there is a laziness to learn about the topic until it affects us personally or someone close to us. To start with, I want to emphasize the fact that regular budget cuts by government agencies to human services are a result of those cuts. All that follows, including new regulations and fiscal policies of organizations, is directly a result of budget cuts.
Direct care staff are trained to administer medication, assess and evaluate patients, make recommendations, and so on. They gain a broad range of skills and knowledge, as well as valuable information, and are educated about health administration, delivery and other processes. They are able to share their knowledge about pharmaceutical and medical issues with their families, communities and friends. Direct care staff are trained to recognize signs and take action in the event of an emergency. They communicate with medical staff at hospitals and clinics when they transport their patients to the hospital. They can provide assistance in many areas, including behavior management and medical and social information that doctors often don’t know or have. It is paradoxical that direct care staff can sometimes be treated with condescension, even though they provide valuable information and assistance to doctors, nurses, and other professionals.
Direct care staff are invaluable. This goes beyond the daily tasks performed in a home or community. It can be multidisciplinary.
It is multidisciplinary because it covers many areas, including medical, health, diet, and nutrition, educational, administrative, behavioral, psychological, social, financial, and accounting. We must also be well-educated or trained in these areas, as we will be tested every day when we are involved with individuals.
This requires deep understanding. Without it, those in the position may eventually experience burnout, discouragement, and devaluing their work.
We will not be able to fulfill our mission and our responsibilities if we don’t have a solid understanding of them. We will fail our community, and we will betray our social contract. Even if it is a moral contract, we all have a responsibility to one another. Our obligation is to support, protect, and assist our fellow humans, especially those most vulnerable such as the elderly, weak, and marginalized.
There have been many individuals, groups, and institutions throughout history who have challenged the resistance to positive changes, whether it be for racial or religious equality, gender and social justice, or national equality. How many times has it happened that people from different backgrounds and professions, as well as those with different interests, have joined hands to condemn injustice, mistreatment, and wrong?
This is true for the field of disability. Young and old, of all races and cultures, are tirelessly working every day to make the positive and lasting changes that we desperately need to remove barriers that have held a section of our population, or a group, back.
Our mission as direct care staff in human services is more than providing care. Participation in larger public and social policy is part of our mission in a welfare system that aims to provide security for all its citizens. Through our everyday help, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, we are contributing to the creation of an environment of human dignity. Although we have a lot of work, we can accomplish our mission if we are able to explain clearly what we are doing and why.
Direct care workers are responsible for educating their communities and the public, but they also have to prepare themselves. We have so much at stake. How can we not do this?
It is essential to have solid educational and intellectual tools. The sum of all knowledge regarding the issue is intellectual. This includes our personal history, backgrounds and current needs, as well as our processes and rules. To be professional and achieve the best possible results, we must strive for tangible and accurate outcomes.
We must believe in what we do to make a difference in the public’s perception of disability and the importance and value of direct care work. Everything else will follow from that belief.
It is not a one-time task. It is a continuous learning and doing process that requires multiple stages.
It is important to learn to understand our people and their circumstances. Accepting them is key. We must also make sure we keep our professional, moral and intellectual promises to them. These efforts are crucial to achieving our mission. They also help people to understand disabilities and prevent them from happening whenever possible.
It takes sacrifice. Yes, sacrifice. All of us are sacrificial lambs to one another. Take a look around and see who, no matter how small, made you the person you are today.
Human history is not a quick process. Each human achievement and endeavor went through many stages. Those who persevered, were determined, and were educated are the ones who prevailed. Direct care workers are no exception. They must put in every effort to achieve this goal. They must get to know the people they work with. Only then can they appreciate the organization’s mission, and all of its responsibilities. Only then can they truly appreciate the sacrifices and line of work that they have to do.
We can see that someone sacrificed to make us who we are today and who we will be tomorrow. We are where we’re today because of our family, teachers, coaches, doctors, and friends. We must be willing and able to give up our resources, time, and effort to help those less fortunate than us. You will have made a difference in someone’s life and your own. History will be our contribution. Everybody has to be a part of it. Our time will come an go. Other people’s time will come an go. This is how humanity has operated for many years and generations. We will all have contributed, regardless of whether we realize it or not, to the advancement, improvement, and maintenance of humanity. We should not minimize what we do. We must not underestimate the effort and sacrifices we have made. It is our responsibility to continue, improve, and perfect our work. It is our responsibility to educate ourselves, other people and the public.
It takes time to educate the public. It requires strong advocacy. Direct care work is often overlooked. It can be overwhelming, demanding, and frustrating. It is also very rewarding. Direct care workers give up their time, effort, and intellect in order to provide a sense of normalcy for millions of disabled people.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of, but there are many things to be proud. Our mission is to educate our friends, families, and communities about the value and importance of our work. It is our ability to live a productive and meaningful life for each individual that matters. Imagine how you would feel if you were in their shoes. They are not in the same place they hoped and wished for. It is not what their families had hoped for.
What good is education and training if it doesn’t make a difference in the world?
Giving meaning to another person’s life is what we do. Participating in the building and strengthening of various social policies is an equivalent. Participating in strengthening the social welfare system is what we do.