A MODEL ONTARIO SERVICE:
ROLES OF SUPPORT WORKER

This is a real role description for support workers with adults in one Ontario region. One of our members reports that it does work.

1. Case management:

  • meet with service users in order to confirm and determine present needs, identify future goals, and desired outcomes on an ongoing basis.
  • facilitate the meeting of needs and goals through support and or instruction.
  • provide information about and/or assistance in accessing other services and programs so that service user's personal outcomes can be realized.
  • recognize that over time, needs and goals change and services and supports need to be adjusted.
  • acknowledge the fact that the core to case management is the relationship with the client--this relationship emphasizes trust, openness, empathy, and good listening skills in order to maintain continuity between goal planning and outcomes.
2. Advocacy
on behalf of individuals to ensure that their rights are acknowledged and not compromised in situations such as when:
  • a service user and support system disagree.
  • a service user doesn’t receive adequate medical, psychiatric, or dental care.
  • a service user has difficulty accessing social, health, and educational services.
  • a service user has problems securing appropriate accommodations,
  • vocational programs, and or employment
  • a service user is in conflict with the criminal justice system.
3. Emotional Support:
  • providing in person support for community appointments, reviews, and or assessments.
  • providing emotional support during stressful life changes.
  • providing ongoing support to individuals related to interpersonal relationships and social development.
4. Instrumental counseling, to help individual in:
  • community awareness and orientation (includes bus training).
  • developing basic budgeting and money management skills.
  • learning how to access community programs, services, and/or institutions.
  • developing a higher level of independence with regards to personal hygiene and activities of daily living.
  • improving communications and or social skills.
  • increasing safety awareness and developing strategies.


5. Crisis management:

The most time-intensive function of the developmental support services
program is that of crisis management where service users are assisted in adapting to and or coping with unexpected change. It is offered on a 24 hour basis, and these unexpected circumstances often interfere with, and take priority over, scheduled appointments. 
Emergencies/crises may include:

  • death of a spouse, caregiver, or friend.
  • change in accommodations or forced eviction.
  • change in financial situation.
  • conflict with the law.
  • psychiatric or behavioural distress.
  • involvement with the Children’s Aid society, or other family service providers.
  • change in medical condition or medical emergency.
  • any situation involving health, safety, and security issues that require essential supports to be made available immediately to the service user.