The Job Description - Caregiver

June 1, 2010

My last post discussed how the role of caregiver goes far beyond performing simple tasks that enable an individual with developmental disabilities to get through their day or navigate their community. I made the point that as the trainer for Lauren’s caregivers, it is important for me to make sure that new caregivers know that they are also responsible for helping Lauren to live a life that meets all of her needs, not just the physical ones. When we do a new self-hire, part of the application that an employee has to sign off on is a job description. That job description should include the tasks that the employee needs to perform, and it should also include an explanation of the ethical responsibility for helping the individual, that they will be caring for, live a life of purpose and quality.

The directions for completing the employee application include an explanation of how the program participant should go about writing a job description to include in the application. The directions state:

The position description will determine what the DSP will be doing to support you. Essential functions are the basic job duties that the DSP must be able to perform. You need to simply list what you need the DSP to do for you. You may also list what you would like the DSP to do. Here are some questions to ask yourself in developing a position description:

1. What are the tasks that I cannot do independently?

2. What do I need assistance with on a daily basis?

3. What may I need assistance with?
The directions are very “task” focused. It leads the individual with disabilities into developing a job description that really does not outline all of the duties that the DSP should be prepared to perform. I would like to suggest adding some questions to the list, so that a more appropriate job description can be developed that will encompass all aspects of what the DSP’s role should be in an individual’s life. Perhaps we could add questions such as:

     What assistance do I need to achieve the goals in my life?

     What does someone need to do to support my relationships with others and to build new ones?

It is important that we recognize the importance of assuring that caregivers are aware that there is more to their job than meeting physical needs or of being a “keeper”.

An Additional Note:

In preparation for writing this post, I researched some job descriptions for DSP’s that are listed on the internet:

Short and cold from Indiana:
Direct Support Professionals (DSP) are responsible for providing direct care, treatment, and supervision of our customers in home and community settings

Direct and institutional from Arizona:
Position Responsibilities may include but are not limited to:
• Assure health and welfare of individual served at all times
• Complete first time service orientation with each new individual assignment
• Carry out assigned tasks such as bathing, dressing, and meal preparation as authorized
• Provide a communication link between person served, family and administrative staff
• Complete and submit time sheets and other required paperwork as directed
• Maintain training certifications
• Report to work on time and be actively engaged for full duration of your shift

Totally task oriented from a national group:
When working with the mentally disabled, caregivers will be performing a number of duties on a day-to-day basis. These duties include planning and preparing meals, helping clients get dressed and accomplish simple personal hygiene tasks, taking clients to the grocery store, on errands and to the doctor, helping their client clean the house and perform household chores and more.

And the scariest one from North Carolina:
  • Manifests in daily action a Christian spirit and lifestyle.
  • Demonstrates a working knowledge and understanding of the Institution’s structure, services, policies and procedures and job performance requirements.
  • Assures all rights listed in Domiciliary Home Resident’s Bill of Rights are exercised for each resident and gives assistance to residents in exercising these rights.
  • Maintains confidentiality regarding each resident and his or her records.
  • Maintains proper record keeping in all areas to include, but not limited to, management records and residents’ funds.
  • Purchases all food, supplies and equipment to meet the needs of each resident according to schedule maintained in group home and upon approval by group home administrator.
  • Responsible for greeting visitors in a positive and hospitable manner.
  • Oversees residents’ daily activities, assisting and supervising as needed.
  • Gives attention to medical and dental health needs of each resident upon consultation with Administrator
  • Provides transportation for residents.
  • Responsible for maintaining vehicle in good operating condition and/or reporting needed maintenance or repairs to supervisor.
  • Maintains proper administration of ALL medications, medication storage, and medication records for each resident.
  • Provides the required amount of weekly activities (14 hours) in coordination with Activities Coordinator/Administrator.
  • Documents all accidents/incidents according to Institutional policies and procedures and monitoring agencies
  • Follows proper procedures for restraints as ordered by the physician.
  • Follows all sanitation, safety, and building code requirements.
  • Cooperates with the licensing and monitoring agencies.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by supervisor


  1. And be sure you make them drink plenty of water!

  2. This article is good, but i want to get a daily worksheet for the caregiver to work with, so that I can evaluate the worker. This sheet should contain a number of duties, and a box to tick off the duties

  3. please keep sharing of knowledges with us.Thanks a lot for your great posting.Senior home care atlanta