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

High demand occupation

About this job

Home support workers, housekeepers and related occupations work in clients' residences and are responsible for different duties depending on the specific career.

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Home support worker


Home support workers provide personal care and companionship for seniors, persons with disabilities and convalescent clients. Care is provided within the client's residence, in which the home support worker may also live. They may be self-employed or work for home care and support agencies or private households.

Housekeepers perform housekeeping and other home management duties in private households, embassies and other residential establishments.

Workers in these occupations should enjoy meeting new people and helping others and be:

  • well-organized
  • good at following instructions
  • patient and understanding of clients' needs
Common job titles
  • attendant, home care
  • caregiver (live-in)
  • companion
  • home health care / home support
  • home support attendant
  • homemaker / teaching homemaker
  • attendant, home care
  • caregiver (live-in)
  • companion
  • doula / infant care
  • family caregiver / family worker
  • home health care / home support

Duties

Home support/community health workers:

  • give bedside and personal care to clients under the direction of a health-care worker or nurse
  • provide care and companionship for individuals and families during periods of incapacitation, convalescence or family disruption
  • may perform routine health-related duties such as changing non-sterile dressings, assisting in the administration of medications and collecting specimens under the general direction of home care agency supervisor or nurse
  • may perform routine housekeeping duties such as laundry, washing dishes and making beds.
  • keep track of medications and help with feeding, bathing and personal hygiene
  • may plan and prepare meals and special diets and undertake limited housekeeping duties

Housekeepers:

  • perform housekeeping and other home management duties under general direction of employer
  • plan and prepare meals independently or with employer, and may serve meals
  • may care for children.

Work environment

Homemakers

In B.C., most homemakers work for private or municipal (regional district) organizations. Homemakers generally work on their own with periodic visits by their supervisor. They receive detailed instructions that explain when they are to visit clients and what services they need to provide.

Many homemakers work part time and weekend hours are common. Visiting homemakers may go to the same home every day for several months or years. They usually work with a number of different clients, each job lasting a few hours, days or weeks.

They often visit four or five clients on the same day. Surroundings also differ from case to case – some homes are neat and pleasant, while others are untidy or unpleasant. Some clients are angry, abusive, depressed or otherwise difficult, while other clients are pleasant and cooperative.

Housekeepers

Housekeepers are employed by many types of households with various income levels. They usually work in pleasant, comfortable homes or apartments.

Most are day workers who live in their own homes and travel to their workplace, however, some housekeepers live in the home of their employer, generally with their own bedroom and bathroom.

Live-in housekeepers usually work longer hours, however, if they work evenings or weekends, they may get additional time off. Although living in can isolate housekeepers from family and friends, these workers often become part of their employer's family and may derive satisfaction from caring for them.

Housekeeping can be a solitary occupation, since work is usually done alone. Housekeepers are on their feet most of the day and do a lot of walking, lifting, bending and reaching, putting them at risk for back or neck injury.

Foster parents

Foster parents are contracted and regulated by the provincial government. Working conditions vary depending on the type of foster home and the number of children in care.

Generally, foster homes care for one to a maximum of six children. Most foster parents provide care in their own homes, however, when caring for children who need hospitalization or medical treatment, they may make regular visits to the child at a facility.

Foster parents giving this kind of care are expected to be available at all times, including evenings and weekends. Some children may have additional health or learning disabilities that require specialized foster care. Those who care for children with severe physical, psychological or behavioural problems may be exposed to stressful and difficult situations.

According to the Ministry of Children and Family Development, the standards for foster parenting in B.C. are currently undergoing major changes. These include:

  • new relief services to reduce stress on foster parents
  • better standards for homes, with clearer, more detailed direction around key aspects of child care, such as:
  • emergency planning and recreation
  • discipline
  • nutrition
  • health and safety
  • increased hiring of specialized care and multicultural homes
  • improved guardianship practice standards, such as more frequent social worker contact with foster children

Insights from industry

Opportunities for homemakers and companions will be strongest on Vancouver Island and in the Okanagan, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley as many people move to these regions to retire.

There is a growing belief that treatments can be more effective in familiar rather than clinical surroundings, and the development of portable medical equipment for in-home treatment has made this increasingly possible. Elderly patients often do not need the full services of an acute care setting, but do need support services to remain in their homes, which is increasing demand for workers.

There is currently a province-wide shortage of homemakers and companions. Graduates of home support and residential aide programs often choose to work in facilities rather than private homes since they usually offer higher wages and better job stability. However, recent measures to improve conditions for homemakers, such as setting up support teams and increased pay within unionized agencies, may help attract workers to this occupation.

Demand for housekeepers is expected to increase as the number of double-income families increase. These families typically have less time to do household chores and more disposable income, which is contributing to growing demand for housekeepers.

The demand for foster parents is expected to continue to be high, particularly for those with special skills or experience, such as psychiatric or medical training, that allows them to care for children with mental or health disabilities.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Recent graduates usually take positions in facility care, but some may get positions in home support.

Within home support agencies, staff may have the ability to move into administrative work. In addition, with experience and additional training, visiting homemakers may move into jobs such as health-care aide or long-term care aide in nursing homes or long-term care institutions. With further education and training, some workers choose to pursue careers as licensed practical nurses or registered nurses.

Advancement for housekeepers is limited, and usually consists of higher pay and more desirable working conditions. Workers may move to similar jobs in hotels, hospitals and restaurants, where the pay and benefits may be better.

Foster parents can grow to specialize in particular levels of care or focus on children with specific disabilities.

Additional resources