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What is a Direct Support Professional?

Here at Hope Haven, DSPs are the heartbeat of everything that we do!  In this interview, Kimber Patterson, LMSW, Area Manager, Community Living Services, and Lora Elsenbast, Area Manager, Community Living Services, team up to talk all things DSP! Keep reading to learn more about what a DSP is and how they make an incredible difference in the Hope Haven community. 

Direct Support Professional

What is a DSP and what do they do?

DSP stands for Direct Support Professional, which means working directly with clients.  DSPs help clients with their daily living skills such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, shopping, and personal hygiene needs. Our role is to guide, teach, and support. We are not a "parent" role, but rather a coach and teacher to help our clients make informed decisions and be as independent as possible in their homes and communities.

What types of tasks are DSPs responsible for?

The tasks you will be responsible for are ensuring that medications are given/taken, that the client's physical needs are met, and helping people with their individual goals. DSPs assist with a wide range of basic living skills including but not limited to- cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, budgeting, hygiene, medication management, assisting with appointments, communication, socialization (going out to eat, shopping, personal relationships) with peers and community, insuring health and safety, etc.

What kind of training will a DSP receive for this role?

New staff shadow a current employee for 24 hours.  Then the new staff leads and a staff shadows them for 16 hours. You will receive CPR training, mandatory reporting training, and medication management training. During your first 90 days of employment, you will work on completing various training online as well.

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What kind of schedule could I expect?

We offer several options for schedules. Most of the work that we do happens once the clients get home from work or Day Hab and weekends. Many of our staff like the longer shifts, which means they only work 2 days a week! Others, who may have children at home, prefer to work 4-5 hour shifts or 8-12 hour shifts each week. We use a two week master schedule, so you will always have the same days off and know which weekends you will be working months in advance! 

What benefits or perks would I be eligible for?

We offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes competitive pay, major medical insurance, supplemental insurance, a retirement savings plan, paid holidays and time off, and additional certifications and training. Our greatest benefits, however, aren’t things that can be written down or cashed in; as a member of the Hope Haven team, you become a vital and valued member of a community that will exchange your gifts and talents for the beautiful and long-lasting rewards of paying it forward.

For more information on these benefits, click here.

How do I know if I'm qualified to be a DSP?

No experience is required, we will train you on the job!  We are looking for caring, compassionate people who want to empower others to learn new skills and become more independent! You need patience, good decision making skills, strong work ethic, basic computer knowledge, and possess a valid driver’s license.

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What personality traits characterize a good DSP?

Caring. Compassionate. Dependable. Motivating. Supportive. Good Communication Skills.

Why work as a DSP for Hope Haven?

No matter where you go in life, this job will positively impact you.  You will learn how to work in a team environment as well as work independently.  You will learn to problem solve, be creative, and great communication skills.  You will truly make a difference in someone’s life, assist others in reaching their potential, and experience joy from seeing success in others.

Ready to get started? Join our team today!

Apply Now



Hope Haven

Hope Haven 712.476.2737 1800 19th Street Rock Valley IA 51247 US 43.21034340 -96.29112910