top of page

14. What should support workers be like? Thoughts from people with learning disabilities

Written by Andrea Bruun, Research Associate, Kingston University.

Support staff do an incredible job supporting people with learning disabilities. The job requires different skills, knowledge, and ways of being. But what do the people they support actually think they should be like? We asked our Monday All Together Group that exact question.

In this blog, we told you about how we dressed up our colleague Leon as a support worker (now being called Mamma Mia). Mamma Mia was used a canvas that our group members could pin their thoughts and ideas on. We promised to get back to you with what they actually said, so have a look at the pictures below.

As you can see, our group had so much to say! We typed up all their pieces of papers and made it into a Google Jamboard so we could share their thoughts with our online Thursday All Together group with families, support staff, and healthcare professionals. The Jamboard was pretty packed too as you can see.

So, what did the group actually say? We sorted their ideas and points into four overall categories:

  • How to be: The group listed different ways that they would want their support worker to be like such as kind, funny, and to listen to them.

  • Knowledge: Group members said they would want someone who knows them and what they like.

  • Supporting them: The group listed different specific tasks that they would want their support worker to support them with such as helping them out with money, keeping them safe, and taking them out to do (fun) things.

  • How to support: Group members mentioned how they would want to be supported by support workers. This involved the support workers being on time, and being professional and respectful (not talking on the phone, not coming into someone’s room without knocking, and keeping confidentiality) – and something we have heard a lot throughout this project: “stay and not keep change”.

These thoughts are very important for the project so we can see if there are certain support staff competencies that we need to focus on when creating our toolkit for end-of-life care planning with people with learning disabilities. Our Monday All Together Group, once again, gave us lots to think about. They are hard-working and brilliant thinkers, and we are vey lucky to have them onboard on the project!


bottom of page