Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations (NOC 4412)

High opportunity occupation

About this job

In B.C., home support workers are known as community health workers. They are health care assistants (HCAs) that work in people’s homes. There, they provide personal care for seniors, people with disabilities and people recovering from illness or accident.

Housekeepers clean, maintain and manage private homes and other residences.

Watch the video below to see what a day in the life of a home support worker is like.

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Home support worker


Common job titles
  • attendant, home care
  • caregiver (live-in)
  • companion
  • doula / infant care
  • family caregiver / family worker
  • home health care / home support

Duties

Community health workers:

  • Provide care and company to people recovering from illness or facing other health issues
  • Help clients with daily personal care, like bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Keep track of medications
  • Work under the direction of a supervisor or nurse
  • Report changes in clients’ behaviour and condition
  • Help clients with movement and transport

Community health workers may also do health- and safety-related housekeeping tasks like laundry, dishes and making beds. In addition, they may plan and make meals that fit their client’s diet. Under the direction of a supervisor or nurse, they may also do routine health-related tasks. These can include changing non-sterile dressings, giving medications and collecting specimens.

Housekeepers:

  • Clean, tidy and organize homes
  • Help with home-management tasks, like organizing a family’s calendar or running errands
  • Plan and make meals

Some housekeepers also serve meals and care for children.

Work environment

Community health workers usually work on their own in clients’ homes, with occasional visits from their supervisor. Many community health workers work part time and on weekends.

Community health workers usually work with a number of clients, and often visit four or five homes on the same day. They may work with a particular client for just a few hours, or they may go to the same home every day for months or years.

Surroundings differ from case to case. Some homes are neat and pleasant, while others are less so. Some clients are pleasant and co-operative, while others can be angry, abusive or depressed.

Community health workers use technology, including smartphone apps, to record client information and organize work schedules.

Housekeepers are employed by many types of households with a range of income levels.

Most housekeepers are day workers who live in their own homes. Others live in their employer’s home. Live-in housekeepers usually work longer hours. If they work evenings or weekends, they may get additional time off.

Most housekeeping work is done alone. Some live-in workers may feel isolated from family and friends. Others become part of their employer’s family and gain satisfaction from caring for them. Housekeepers are on their feet most of the day and do a great deal of walking, lifting, bending and reaching. This can put them at risk for back or neck injury.

Insights from industry

Elderly people often don’t need the full services of a hospital, but need support in order to stay in their homes. There is also growing agreement that people with complex health issues can be better treated at home. This has become more possible as portable medical equipment is made for in-home use.

As a result, the role of the community health worker has grown and changed. The job now focuses more on personal care and health-related duties, such as giving medicine under the direction of a nurse. At the same time, there is less focus on household-related tasks, such as cooking and cleaning.

Community health workers have many job opportunities across the province. But care aides–those health care assistants (HCAs) who work in facilities rather than private homes–usually earn more money and have more job security. Because of this, graduates of HCA programs often choose to work as care aides instead of community health workers. But improvements, including increasing wages for unionized workers, are making the role of community health worker more attractive.

For housekeepers, demand rises as families have more disposable income and less time to do household chores.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

New community health workers usually begin working on a casual basis for one or more employer. They then move into permanent positions with a private organization or public health authority. Some community health workers are self-employed.

Those who prefer to work in care facilities or hospitals rather than in people’s homes can become care aides.

With additional education and certification, community health workers can become licensed practical nurses (LPNs). From there, they can become registered nurses (RNs).

Housekeepers usually have limited options for promotion. Advancement can take the form of higher pay and better working conditions. Some housekeepers choose self-employment.

Additional resources