Open Colleges

Caring for someone with an illness or disability

by Elizabeth Harmon
Posted: September 24, 2021

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According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, it’s estimated that 1 in 6 Australians have a disability. This equates to around 4.4 million people in Australia alone. There are also many people suffering from various illnesses and elderly people who need additional help.

disability support carer

There is a whole range of aged care, health and disability support services on offer across Australia. These enable individuals with a healthcare concern to get the professional support they need. This makes healthcare and social assistance one of the top growth industries, with jobs in this area in high demand.

A career in healthcare and disability support

For some individuals living with an illness or disability, it can be life-altering, having a considerable impact on the ability to carry out everyday tasks. For others, it will have a smaller impact, but it may still limit how effectively they participate in society. Some people may also find that their condition has an impact on their overall physical and mental health too.

Whatever your background or age, if you’re interested in ensuring elderly individuals or those with an illness or disability have a better quality of life, there are plenty of career opportunities for you to consider. This can include becoming a Nurse, Aged Care Worker, Community Care Assistant, Disability Care Worker, Residential Care Officer, Senior Personal Care Assistant and more.

As a Carer, you may find yourself working with children and the elderly, with each patient having their own unique needs to understand and cater for. Therefore, whatever job you have, you’ll need to be adaptable and be prepared to provide differing levels of support. You also have the choice of offering in-home support, working at a residential home or providing support in other places such as day centres.

Each role will vary from day-to-day. You may need to assess the physical disability and healthcare needs of a patient, then create a personalised health support plan for them. You may be required to provide emotional support to a patient and their family. You may need to help with personal care, such as getting dressed or making sure an individual takes their prescribed medication on time. Another vital role is supporting individuals’ physical and mental wellbeing by encouraging them to participate in various activities. For more information specifically on what a Disability Support role entails, read our Disability career pathway guide.

Could this be a good career choice for you?

Being a Carer in the healthcare industry can be a challenging and exhausting role. You will spend your days looking after the needs of others, so it’s essential that you practice some self-care too to be able to continue performing at your best. But the role can also be highly rewarding as, ultimately, you’re helping individuals to manage their illness or disability so they can live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives.

Disability support carer

It’s crucial that you have the right attitude towards work and the individuals you’ll care for. You’ll need to be a positive person who is friendly, patient, resilient and compassionate. It’s also essential that you work well with others, have good communication skills, can stay calm under pressure, and are willing to learn.

If you’re new to healthcare and disability support, as well as having relevant interpersonal skills, you may want to consider developing your technical knowledge and skills in this area too. To gain the professional skills to help you thrive, take a nationally recognised qualification like our Certificate IV in Disability.

Through the Certificate IV in Disability course, you’ll learn how to empower diverse people with disability, support individuals and their health needs, provide a person-centred service response and much more. You’ll also have the opportunity to carry out a work placement, where you can put all your learning into practice and gain valuable experience.

Enrol in Open Colleges’ CHC43115 Certificate IV in Disability and get the skills, knowledge and qualification you need to advance your career in the disability support sector.


Elizabeth Harmon

Elizabethis an experienced Freelance Social Media Consultant based in the south of England. She works with a growing number of clients all around the world, showing businesses how to use social media more effectively and helping them to get the maximum benefit from it.

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