Recruiting, Selecting, and Retaining Direct Service Workers to Provide Self-Directed HCBS

Shifting Roles

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A woman looking sad and forlorn.

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DSWs frequently work more than one job because direct service work often has low wages. They may be family or a friend in addition to being your DSW. Being a DSW is different from other jobs. These all can lead to stress and burnout.

People who support others are most often big-hearted and well-meaning but not always focused on taking care of themselves. The work of being a DSW can be rewarding. Many DSWs find satisfaction in supporting people to have the best quality of life possible. However, there are also challenges to being a DSW, which can lead to stress and burnout.

Many people who provide services and supports to frail elders and individuals with disabilities experience shifting roles and emotions in their work. It is natural for them to feel angry, frustrated, sad, or alone.

Some family members who provide home and community-based services may be on duty 24 hours a day. This makes it difficult to unwind or separate work from home and personal life.