A residential support worker is part of a specialized living community and helps care for the residents; residents may include senior citizens, at-risk youth, or mentally disabled individuals who seek to live independently but may need assistance or supervision. These communities are staffed by a team of residential support workers, who handle daily tasks that residents do not or cannot perform such as cooking, cleaning, and providing transportation. The level of involvement that workers take with clients often depends on residents' abilities and may vary from resident to resident.
Support staff members that work with youth and children are typically expected to fulfill a hands-on role in providing guidance and supervision, while staff at senior and independent living communities often work in response to resident demands. The typical day for a support worker may involve tasks such as responding to resident requests, cooking meals for large groups, overseeing residents in activities, and transporting individuals to school, work, or other appointments.
Residential support workers are usually expected to have a minimum of a high school degree or equivalent, though more senior staff are normally required to have an associate's or bachelor's degree, as well as considerable experience in the field of residential care. Most employers require residential support workers to undergo a criminal background check and drug test.
Residential Support Worker Tasks
- Maintain records of patient care, condition, progress, or problems to report and discuss observations with supervisor or case manager.
- Transport clients to locations outside the home, such as to physicians' offices or on outings, using a motor vehicle.
- Monitor food and liquid intake and vital signs.
- Change bed linens, wash and iron patients' laundry, and clean patients' quarters.
- Perform a variety of duties as requested by client, such as obtaining household supplies or running errands.