Support Coordination is a new role that has emerged along with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). For new participants of the scheme, it may be unclear what a support coordinator does and what is expected of them. Here are a few key points to look for in a support coordinator, so you know what to expect of them:
- Clear service agreement
A service agreement is a requirement for all providers when using your NDIS funding, and it is no different for support coordination. It is important to take note of the policies of each company as it is different, especially their cancellation policy and terms for ending service with a provider. Note that most support coordination will bill for all time spent including face to face contact, phone calls, texts, and emails.
- Risk assessment
It is common to have a risk assessment when starting a service with a company or individual that provides support coordination. This may be daunting as it asks you to re-live your past risks and experiences. This is to ensure that all risk to yourself or to others is accounted for and action plans on how to handle the risk, however unlikely it might be, are put in place. It is important to also know that the provider has insurance as the participant could be liable for compensation if the carer does not have adequate insurance if something were to happen during a session.
- Punctual for appointments
A support coordinator should always keep track of appointments with them and turn up on time. If there is an uncertainty of keeping appointments, it would be wise to ask the support coordinator to send a reminder the day before the appointment so no time is wasted. For appointments with other providers, it is not the support coordinator’s job to keep track of a participant’s timetable; a system should be figured out be it a physical diary or a digital calendar.
- Knowledge of a variety of providers, choice and control
The main role of a support coordinator is to search for service providers in a participant’s area. They should have a good knowledge database of all kinds of supports out there. It should be expected that there is a choice of a few providers to choose from allowing participants to take their pick or change when preferred. In some cases of specialised needs such as homelessness or mental health, specialist support coordinators with a clinical background can provide additional help.
- Funded and non-funded supports
Support coordinators can also search and suggest supports that are not funded on the NDIS. Housing, education, community meetup groups are a couple of things that can be accessed. It is also possible to coordinate GP, specialist and medical appointments through a support coordinator.
- Knowledge of the Price Guide
Knowing the key aspects of the price guide is key to working as a support coordinator. It is a very lengthy and complicated document so if they don’t know it off by heart, and they should find out and get back to you on it by calling a plan manager or the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
The coordination role is one that requires a lot of organisational skills. Keeping track of all funded supports and making sure one does not run out of funding before the plan ends is important.
- Capacity building
A support coordinator should be helping a participant to coordinate their own supports if they are able to. Some level of coaching and strength-based training is involved in the role. One should not see a support coordinator as a case manager as the goal would be able to handle the future coordination independently if a participant is capable of doing so.
- Dial-a-friend, Regular check-ins
For many participants who do not have many informal supports from friends and family, the support coordinator is there as your first point of contact in the case of an emergency. However, one must take note on the number of hours contacting a support coordinator as every minute is billed so use the time wisely to reduce the risk of running out of funding. A support coordinator’s contact with a participant will be much more during the start and end of the plan. In between when supports have been put in place, it can be expected that there will be brief check-ins to discuss how the plan is going and if any changes need to be made.
Towards the end of the plan, about three months before the plan ends, the support coordinator should start preparing for the scheduled plan review. If you are unhappy before the plan ends, and want to apply for an unscheduled review, the support coordinator can also guide you through the process. Collecting reports from therapists, providers and preparing a review document is part of the procedure. The support coordinator is able to attend the review meeting; however, they are not meant to advocate on behalf of the participant.