ISCO 08 Code 5321   Health care assistants             

Lead Statement

Health care assistants provide direct personal care and assistance with activities of daily living to patients and residents in a variety of health care settings such as hospitals, clinics, and residential nursing care facilities. They generally work in implementation of established care plans and practices, and under the direct supervision of a medical, nursing or other health professionals or associate professionals.

Task statement

Tasks include:

  • implementing care, treatment and referral plans established by medical nursing and other health professionals;
  • assisting patients with personal care needs such as showering, toilet and  dressing;
  • assisting patients with mobility and communication needs;
  • lifting and turning patients and transporting them in wheelchairs or on movable beds;
  • changing bed-linen and ensuring facilities are kept clean and tidy;
  • observing and reporting changes in patients’ condition or behaviour;
  • serving and collecting food trays and assisting patients needing help with eating and drinking;
  • participating in planning the care of individuals;
  • following therapy plans and assisting with rehabilitation exercises, basic treatment and delivery of medications;
  • sterilising surgical and other instruments and equipment.

Included occupations

Examples of the occupations classified here:

  • Midwifery attendant
  • Nursing aide (clinic or hospital)
  • Psychiatric aid

Excluded occupations

Some related occupations classified elsewhere:

  • Nurse (professional) - 2230
  • Nurse (associate professional) - 3231
  • Ambulance worker - 3258
  • Nursing aide (home) - 5321


Workers who provide personal care to residents of institutions and facilities that have permanent medical or nursing supervision (such as hospitals, rehabilitation centres, residential nursing care facilities and nursing homes) and therefore work under the direct supervision of nurses or doctors, should be classified in Unit group 5321, Health care assistants.  Workers who provide personal care to residents of independent living units, generally without permanent medical or nursing supervision, should be classified in Unit Group 5322, Home-based personal care workers.  In general, workers classified in Minor group 532, Personal care workers in health services, do not perform tasks requiring extensive medical knowledge or training, such as administering medications and cleaning and dressing wounds: where tasks of this type are performed they are of a simple and routine nature.


ISCO 88 Code(s) 5132, part

(NCvB; Maart 2010)