1. What do you love most about being a support coordinator?
I love being able to listen and work with my participants to get outcomes. Most of the time it can be little things (which really aren't so little) like getting a wheelchair but some times it can truly be life changing.
2. Most rewarding client story you have?
There are so many truly, I can not choose. So I will go with a recent one. One of my clients disability is terminal he is getting to the end stages of his life and the only person qualified enough to care for him and that he also wants to care for him is his mother. generally the NDIS do not allow informal support (Family) to be paid to care for their loved one (Operational Guideline 11.1). Mum had used all of her long service, annual, sick and carers leave and needed to be able to continue to care for her son. We were successfully able to get the relevant approval from the NDIS to allow the participant to receive the care he so desperately needed and wanted from his Mum and she be paid. Things were going smoothly for a few months and then the provider argued we did not have the right approvals and threaten to cease paying the mum as an employee so we rallied again pin-balling between both the NDIA and the provider was given further written approval for Mum to continue as a paid carer the day before she was due to be suspended by the provider.
Something like this has a true impact on people's lives at times it can be a lot of pressure but there is no comparison to the potential consequences of how an unfavorable decision can impact the participant and the family unit.
I was on a call with the Mother giving her the good news that she would be able to continue supporting her son, I said that she no longer had to worry. She told me that she was not worried but her husband was very worried and she said to him don't worry Mark, Steph will take care of it, it will be ok.
(*name changed for privacy)
3. What do you think the future of the NDIS will be?
Really tricky question. I would hope that it is more autonomous in the sense where the confines of strict budget categories are less and participants and families can dictate with more freedom what supports are best for them e.g I know so many clients that massage really helps however generally that is a blanket no from the NDIS unless some one is self managed. I would also love to see more people self managing if they can.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
4. There has been a lot of chatter about the failures of the NDIS, what are some of the positives of the scheme from your perspective?
If you have an understanding of the NDIS, your rights as as a person and participant, have the correct/ necessary evidences then stick to your guns as the NDIS can be so great. Do not be afraid to review and or appeal decisions as often this is when the really great outcomes eventuate.
All in all the NDIS is a wonderful support it is the biggest social reform since medicare and it will take many years to iron out, some people compare it to trying to fly a plane whilst it is still in construction and they are not wrong. However for the small percent it is not quiet right for there are many more people that it is perfect for. The hard thing is for that small percent it is there life and often not having the correct support makes a significant negative impact on their life in many cases being almost too much to bare.
We need more education for those who use the NDIS
5. What does an average day look like for you?
Many phone calls and emails, educating and helping the participant and their family to understand the NDIS. Looking for different supports like therapist or support workers. Reading reports and making suggestions on the requests before being sent to the NDIS, calling the dreaded NDIS helpline. My daily tasks are so varied if there is one thing you can guarantee is that it is never the same as it is person centered and every participant is and their needs are different.
6. What should participants do if they feel they aren't getting the most of the support coordinator they have?
If they feel they are forgotten about and not being supported they should definitely reach out to there support coordinator to check in, there is always the potential your support coordinator is working away in the back ground or waiting to hear back from the NDIS or a provider.
However if you know they just aren't focused on you and aren't giving you the support you deserve you should seriously considered terminating the service agreement and funding another support coordinator. Cancelling service with a support coordinator is no different to cancelling the service of a support worker who does not treat you right or a Physio that is not helping you reach your therapy goals etc. I would also strongly recommend asking your other providers like support workers or therapist if they know any good Support coordinators you could contact to start over with. Be conscious though of how much funds the previous support coordinator used and what you have remaining to take to the new coordinator this can really affect the likeness of the new support coordinator being able to assist you with real outcomes.
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