ACR Homes is a leader in the healthcare industry, providing high-quality and personalized patient care for adults with disabilities. Because our employees work as Direct Care Professionals, providing care in group home settings, we're confident we can define what a Direct Care Professional is.
Direct care professionals (DCPs) are defined as individuals who provide supportive services and care to people experiencing illnesses or disabilities and who receive compensation for such services. This definition excludes nurses, case managers and social workers. “Direct care professional” is the umbrella name for the workforce. DCPs are commonly called direct support professionals, direct care workers, supported community living workers, home health aides, certified nurse aides, and many other job titles (source)
Whether you work as a Direct Care Professional, Direct Support Professional, Direct Care Worker, Caregiver, Personal Care Assistant (PCA), or Nursing Aid, the job is so much more than a sterile description. So, we'll further define the important aspects of being a Direct Care Professional.
1. Direct Care Professionals Administer Medications
Every group home company, assisted living facility, home health agency, and home and community based services provider will do things differently. Each setting might also serve a different group of people. However, you'll likely be administering medications to the people you support. At ACR Homes, Direct Care Professionals are provided with paid training in order to administer medications. Because ACR's training is so thorough, Direct Care Professionals feel confident to administer medications through a variety of routes whether it be orally, topically, or something else.
2. Direct Care Professionals Assist with Activities of Daily Living
As a Direct Care Professional you'll become the go-to person for whoever you're providing support to. At ACR Homes, Direct Care Professionals work hands-on with people who have disabilities and them with their activities of daily living. The National Library of Medicine defines activities of daily living as essential and routine tasks that most young healthy individuals can perform without assistance. Because some of residents can't perform these tasks without assistance, you might help residents with:
- Getting dressed
- Brushing teeth
- Using the restroom
- Enjoying activities
- Having relationships
3. Direct Care Professionals Oversee In-home Therapies
No two people are alike, but often times, you'll serve clients who have daily therapies. These might be prescribed by a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, or their doctor. Examples of therapies might include:
- Stretching routines
- Range of motion
- Using physical/occupational therapy equipment and devices
- Assistance with ambulation and transfers...etc.
- Use of a communication device
If this is part of your job description as a Direct Care Professional, you can be sure you'll be trained on how to properly complete any therapy the residents you care for have.
4. Direct Care Professionals Advocate
Because a Direct Care Professional interacts with their clients on a daily basis, they become familiar with the particular base line functions of the individuals they serve. Especially in settings where a client might not be able to verbally express their need, or cognitively understand their needs, advocacy is crucial. Additionally, Who better to give doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers a summary of their clients wellness than a Direct Care Professional? In some workplace settings, you'll be asked to attend doctor appointments with your residents and help advocate for their needs.
5. Direct Care Professionals Complete Cleaning Tasks
Providing people with dignity and respect should be a foundational desire of a Direct Care Professional. One way to live that out is to ensure that even the most basic needs of people are cared for. That not only means providing high-quality healthcare, and empathetic and caring communication, but it also means respecting the clients you serve by making sure their surroundings are clean and comfortable. Direct Care Professionals will likely change bed linens, do laundry, pick up clutter, clean and sanitize surfaces, do the dishes, and more. Everyone deserves the basic respect of dwelling in a clean environment.
6. Direct Care Professionals Chart
At ACR Homes, our Direct Care Professional employees learn how to use medical terminology and a digital charting system. Because you're overseeing multiple aspects of the day for the residents in your workplace, it's only natural that you'll need to document what you're doing. It's encouraged to chart as you go rather than save it all for the end of your shift. That's one of the ways you can ensure you're providing high-quality care. Charting as you go helps you remember care plan requirements, and minimize mistakes. Because charting is a vital task included in many healthcare profession job descriptions, gaining charting experience will come in handy should you decide to pursue other healthcare careers.
7. Direct Care Professionals Take Vitals
Taking a set of vital signs is part of being a Direct Care Professional whether you're working in a clinic, hospital, group home, assisted living facility, or another healthcare setting. Taking vitals can consist of checking blood pressure, counting respirations, checking O2 saturation, taking someone's temperature, and checking the BPM of someone's heart.
8. Direct Care Professionals Build Meaningful Friendships
It's important to spend time with your residents. Spending meaningful time together and building a friendship will make your job even more rewarding. Many Direct Care Professionals see their job as a privilege because they're providing for the foundational needs of people. Building meaningful relationships with the clients you serve will make the job even more impactful for both of you.
9. Direct Care Professionals Respond To Emergencies
In case of emergency, Direct Care Professional staff are trained in CPR and first aide. They also know when to call 911 and act as mandated reporters.
10. Direct Care Professionals Facilitate Activities
You'll have fun coming up with entertaining and engaging activities for the people you support. The residents served at ACR Homes are people with disabilities, and they enjoy finding accessible activities in the Twin Cities, as well as doing fun things in the home. Direct Care Professionals can often be found baking, doing crafts, playing yard games, going on walks, taking residents out for coffee, enjoying board games, working in the garden, going out for ice cream, attending baseball games, playing music, and more.
As you can see, Direct Care Professional staff make an important and tangible impact in the lives of the people they serve. It's a meaningful job that provides both the resident and employee a lot of value. Even though each healthcare setting might be different, our list above outlines some basic aspects of what it means to be a Direct Care Professional.