Support Workers are a commonly funded item in NDIS plans. Part of a Recovery Coach’s role is to assist you to understand and implement your NDIS plan. That means working with you to research and choose other services, like a Support Worker.
A good Psychosocial Support Worker can make all the difference when it comes to daily life and pursuing recovery goals. We’ve broken down some of the key considerations you can work through as an NDIS participant when choosing psychosocial support, or as a Recovery Coach supporting clients who are going through this process.
Organisation vs sole trader
One consideration is whether an organisation, or sole trader is better suited to your needs.
Something to think about is whether you might prefer building a relationship with an organisation and their team, or the added autonomy of approaching a sole practitioner included through a platform?
Sole traders including platforms
There are many ways to approach a Social Worker. You can advertise directly for the person you are looking for, or you can browse a platform.
Many web-based platforms allow you to review Social Worker profiles to support your decision and are often associated with platforms who list their profiles and assist you to find a match. Benefits of platforms include an array of choices, and sometimes more control over some aspects such as selecting the specific person you think is a good match.
Organisations can have some benefits to consider. These include having easier access to a team who can help provide coverage in times when your Support Worker is on sick leave or on holiday. There are often more direct complaint and feedback options, such as managers you can speak to if things are not going as well as you would like. Many organisations also have standard tools and templates that can help structure the role and expectations.
Dedicated vs multiple services
Some organisations provide a range of supports. Others focus on doing one thing. Accessing a provider who offers a range of services can provide more convenience through bundling some services up and reducing the number of people you need to interact with.
On the other hand, a dedicated provider can often focus their energies on doing one thing really well. Only providing one service can also support clearer management of conflicts of interest that can arise when a single provider is delivering you multiple services.
It is important to remember that having at least more than one provider across your NDIS Plan can support better natural safeguards for you. This is because each service can provide you with a different complaint or escalation process, providing opportunities to seek support if the other provider is not doing what they should.
Stages to Engage A Support Worker
There are multiple steps to finding and engaging a Support Worker who is right for you. Below is a guide to assist you throughout the process.
Step 1: Listing Qualities of a Support Worker
A productive support relationship is built on trust. A Support Worker will spend time with you, and people important to you to best understand your needs. The first step is about determining the qualities you value to find the right fit for you and your NDIS goals.
Start by listing any qualities or skills you want the Support Worker to have. Someone you can get along with and easily talk to? Someone who is a good listener? Do you value a Support Worker who has lived with or who has experienced mental illness and recovery?
Step 2: What Support You Need
It’s important to have a clear idea about the things you want support with. Do you want assistance around the house, support with grocery shopping, or attending appointments?
It’s also good to remember that you don’t have to have one Support Worker do it all.
Step 3: Logistics of Support
You need someone who is available to support you at times and locations that are suitable to you, so it is good to be clear on what you need, days, times, locations, etc.
This section is also good to have a think about how important continuity is for you. If someone cancelled a shift, would you be okay to wait, or do you need reliable support when it is scheduled even if that means an alternate Support Worker for the day?
Stage 4: Finding Support Workers
If you have a Support Coordinator or a Recovery Coach, they can be a great resource in starting your search. Support Coordinators and Recovery Coaches are focused on building networks of providers, being up to date on what is available, and working with you to search for the best individual or organisation to assist you with your NDIS support.
Local Area Coordinators are also a great resource to get your search started. You can find the contact details for the LAC in your area on the NDIS website (Offices and contacts in your area | NDIS).
You can start with a general web search for ‘Psychosocial Support Workers’ in your area, or try a platform where you can list your profile and have people search for your ad.
Stage 5: Interview
Once you have listed your profile or searched for Support Workers within your area, the final stage is interviewing.
Find three to five Support Worker who are interested in supporting you on your journey and ask them to respond to your questions. You can come up with a system to rank their responses based on the list of things you’re looking for.
Once you’ve gone through a few applicants, set up a time to chat with 1-2 of them. We recommend asking each person the same questions. Some questions could include:
- Tell me a bit about yourself?
- What’s your current understanding of my support needs?
- How might you assist me with my personal and NDIS goals?
- What challenges do you anticipate (if any) in supporting me?
- Are there any services or tasks you would feel uncomfortable doing?
- Are you available on the specific days and times I require?
- Do you work for an organisation who delivers multiple services? How does that result in more convenience for me? How do you manage conflicts of interest?
- What is your complaints process?
- What is your approach to ensuring I have support during times of planned or unplanned leave?
- Who can I call if someone doesn’t show up?
- Do you have lived experience of recovery or a mental health condition?
Finding the right support starts with open, full, and honest conversations. Jot down some notes after you meet them and compare the answers to the standard questions plus the connection you felt with them.
If you go with an individual or sole trader, it’s a good idea to have a shortlist of 2-3 Support Worker on the fridge. With a team to call on, you’re in a better position to take charge in making sure you have support if your usual Support Worker is away or sick.
We’re here to build your support team with you
At One Good* Day, our Recovery Coaches do not make choices for you. Our role is to assist in understanding the choices, trade-offs and options, and then to support a smooth engagement process. Ongoing, we will continue to support you to regularly assess your experience with the provider, give clear and actionable feedback as needed, and ultimately make a change if your needs are not being met. Get in touch with us today if we can support you to build up your team.