Over the next 18 months while NDIA struggles to catch up with the delayed NDIS roll-out nationally, we expect that the quality of formal NDIS plans being generated by planners will continue to be mostly sub-standard, simply because planners can’t afford adequate time to facilitate thorough planning.
What to do?
Well, in NSW and SA, NDIS providers are already compelled to prepare a participant ‘Support Plan’ in relation to the services they are providing, per the NDIS Commission’s Practice Standard Core Module Part 4 section 19. The Support Plan must support achievement of goals as described in a client’s NDIS plan.
We suggest that this is the perfect opportunity to address any shortcomings of the NDIS plan, and to get to know your customer better by working with them to prepare a good quality plan for the services that you will provide them. Naturally your support plan will need to link to the all-important funded goals in the NDIS plan, but this is an opportunity to go much further and breathe life into the NDIS participant’s life aspirations.
What does a good quality person-centred plan look like? A good plan will articulate SMART goals, something we see only occasionally in NDIS plans.
We are big fans of Helen Sanderson’s approach to planning. The tools, and others like them, are used by many contemporary disability provider organisations in Australia. Further resources can be found here: http://helensandersonassociates.co.uk/person-centred-practice/person-centred-thinking-tools/
We believe that one of the reasons that so many people are getting poor quality, unfunded NDIS plans is their lack of understanding of what NDIS can fund, and therefore an inability to answer questions during the NDIS planning session that will lead to generation of a good quality support plan.
Unfortunately NDIA doesn’t publish data that shows what goals are being funded, or what services consumers are buying. In the absence of this vital information, we have compiled a list of goals that we see demanding/discerning NDIS participants stipulating, and being funded for.
- Be happy and comfortable in my home
- Be more mobile
- Be able to communicate better
- Get out more – be more socially active, meet new people, develop new friendships
- Move out of parent’s house (or group home) i.e. development of independent living skills
- Live near the beach, near a river, in the city etc.
- Live on my own, or find flatmate/s to share a house with
- Participate in art (in all its forms)
- Drive a car or bike
- Look better and lose weight
- Go camping or hiking in the outdoors
- Go on holiday
- Learn a new skill, whether that be privately or at TAFE
- Volunteer at a local sport/rec club, or at a business
- Get a part-time job e.g. with animals or where I meet people
- Set up and run a small business e.g. Cam Can, John’s crazy socks
- Go dancing or learn how to dance
- Go to a pub or nightclub
- Go to a concert or show
- Go to a place of worship, or other regular community venue/event
- Return to home country (for Aboriginal person or other ethnicity)
- Reconnect with family e.g. if person is estranged from family
- Get a girl/boyfriend, have sex or explore sexuality (not the act, but mentoring support)
- Explore spirituality
For each of these goals, there are strategies and/or support types that may be relevant, for example goal number one above (be happy and comfortable in my home) may include:
- Personal care – toileting, showering, dressing
- Food – tasty, nutritious meals
- Home tasks e.g. cleaning/gardening
- Home mods re accessibility
- Home mods re opening/closing doors/windows
- Home mods re intelligent safety systems
- Therapies incl. occupational therapy, physiotherapy
So next time a participant comes to you with an NDIS plan with goals that are non-specific, or not even what the participant wants (unfortunately common), we would suggest that you convene a discussion with the participant and key members of their circle of support. Guided by section 34 of the NDIS Act, spliced with a dash of creativity, you can support participants to understand the many ways that available NDIS funding may be used to support the achievement of their life goals.
And just a final point – there are multiple people who could facilitate a ‘proper’ planning session – disability advocate, support coordinator, service provider or even a member of the participant’s own circle of support. Or all of these people working together with the participant! A service provider may not be funded to do this work, but we would argue that the value added to the customer will significantly increase the likelihood of customer satisfaction, achievement of goals and customer retention.
Do you have any comments on this article? We’d love to hear. Contact Brendon Grail.