What is the Difference Between a Support Worker and a Healthcare Assistant? 

A long list of individuals provide quality care in the hospitals of the UK. Each of these individuals has their own set of responsibilities and together they keep the healthcare industry running. If you are thinking of joining the healthcare industry, understanding different roles and their associated responsibilities is essential. Support workers and healthcare assistants are often confused with each other but they have different responsibilities. Knowing the difference between a support worker and a healthcare assistant can help you figure out which role is the right option for you. 

What is a Support Worker?

A support worker is someone responsible for looking after the well-being of people in their day-to-day lives. They help people with physical and learning disabilities live a more fulfilling life. As the name of their profession suggests, support workers provide support to people to help them realize their potential. 

Instead of working in hospitals, support workers lend their skills to community-based care homes or the homes of individuals who require care. Support workers never work in a medical setting as their primary duty is to provide care and support to people with disabilities. Becoming a support worker is the ideal career path for people who are good at offering emotional support to others. 

How to Become a Support Worker?

Becoming a support worker is not a long and hard process. You don’t need a degree to work as a support worker in care homes. However, you will need training of some sort to become eligible to provide care to people with disabilities. As a support worker, you should also have basic knowledge of physical and learning disabilities. 

What is a Healthcare Assistant?

Healthcare assistants, also known as HCAs, look after patients in multiple settings including hospitals and care homes. A healthcare assistant has to assist patients with activities like washing, dressing, and feeding. HCAs also take the vitals of the patients and offer their assistance to the nursing staff whenever needed. 

These individuals also often provide care services to the patients at the homes of the latter. People with a high degree of patience and nerves of steel can thrive in this field. 

How to Become a Healthcare Assistant?

Becoming a healthcare assistant doesn’t require you to have a specific degree. However, like most healthcare workers, you must have some form of training. Hospitals in the UK offer full ongoing training to new recruits. The training teaches HCAs about everything from safeguarding patients to food hygiene. 

The Difference Between a Support Worker and a Healthcare Assistant

On the surface support workers and healthcare assistants seem to have the same job, but everything from the setting they work in to the type of care they provide is different. Support workers offer guidance and emotional support to the people they work with. They also provide supervision and companionship to people with physical and mental disabilities. Through their skills, support workers enable their patients to live a more independent life. Support workers do not work in medical settings and are often found in care homes and the homes of people they work with. 

On the other hand, healthcare assistants often work in medical settings and provide basic care to their patients. Healthcare assistants or HCAs can also work in care homes and the homes of individual patients. Unlike support workers, HCAs assist patients with daily activities like washing and dressing. Nurses supervise the work of healthcare assistants to make sure they do their duties properly. Healthcare assistants are also often responsible for assisting nurses with looking after patients and providing them with basic care. 

A Support Worker and a Healthcare Assistant: Which Role is Better? 

Both support workers and healthcare assistants are important for the smooth working of the healthcare industry. However, when deciding on a career path, you can weigh the pros and cons of each option with respect to your personal preferences. Working in the healthcare industry can be taxing on your mental health if you don’t pick the right career path. So, make sure you are choosing the right option between a support worker and a healthcare assistant. 

If you are a support worker or a healthcare assistant looking for a well-paying job, reach out to ESGO today. We have opportunities for both support workers and healthcare assistants that not only pay well but also have flexible schedules.