Support Coordination is a category of support under NDIS that is well known to those who are connected to or working in the NDIS sphere. It is an important support category in a participant’s NDIS plan. For the purpose of this article only, I have referred to it as SC. There is so much written and published about support coordination and the role of support coordinators themselves (Detailed Info HERE), hence I would not rewrite it; instead, I will focus on key discussions that can assist in making support coordination a better experience.
My aim to write today is to shed some light on the very important part of support coordination, that is - the planning itself but more specifically doing it in line with the total SC budget within a participant’s plan, and this is often overlooked. It can be a crucial first step prior to starting the SC support delivery.
We at ELS have heard from families and health care teams, that many of the scheme participants were unable to achieve their plan goals even at the expiry of the plan. Such situations can be demotivating for participants and may even lead to loss of trust. Now, we understand that there can be many underlying reasons leading to such situations, hence some of the information below can help alleviate such issues.
The details below can be a refresher for those who are already in NDIS or it may be helpful for some new support coordinators in the field.
Now, very simply a support coordinator’s job is to assist the participant to navigate and connect with the support providers and help participants build their capacity for choice and control in their NDIS journey. SC is only meant to be funded for the first few plans and is expected to reduce gradually over subsequent plans. The reason for this reduction is due to NDIS believing that with time either the participant develops the capacity to navigate the support system or may already have been connected to the required support network. Hence one can see the importance of getting the support coordination right in the first place, as mishandling it may potentially have implications on plan outcomes.
While support coordination may sound simple the way it is defined, but in practice, it can be rather complex and time-intensive support. This is so, due to the unprecedented events that may arise during the course of its actual delivery. Such events may easily exhaust the available SC funding very quickly. This is why we put a great deal of emphasis on better planning of the support coordination.
Planning not just for the support itself however planning the budget for SC funds and then constantly monitoring the usage of budget along the line and making adjustments as needed. A simple idea can be to create a list of goals as per the participant’s plan and break it down into sub-goals and then allocate a set number of hours from the total to each of the goals.
Consider confining a small number of hours within the budget for contingency. This may be very helpful, particularly in an event where complications may arise. Such number crunching may not only give more clarity in setting the expectations right from the plan, but it also helps to foresee if you may need to support voluntarily to the participant to reach their goals should the funding may not be enough, as the plan review can be a time-intensive process and may not necessarily happen instantaneously.
We at ELS utilize the first initial meetings to sit with participants and/or family and talk as much detail, particularly the practical side of things, includes what are the priority goals or tasks an sc may follow first, and assign a priority number to each goal, talk about what is the communication channel preferred by the participant, who are the nominees if not one. Hence the idea is to make the upcoming pathway to achieve goals as clear as possible and try and reduce the barriers. This airs out the confusion and leaves no grey areas.
For planning and reporting, we use a simple yet smart excel based tool that assists us in such critical planning and brings quality to our work. If you are a support coordinator reading this article and simply wish to explore this tool, we have made it freely available to you using the below link (enjoy using it and if you like it - please write us feedback) -
Above simple techniques and planning can not only get you to the other end of the success line but also definitely gets you organized for reporting the progress of the support coordination at the end of the plan which is very much liked by NDIS as a good practice and indirectly may assist in preparation for the next planning meeting.
Our Aim at ELS - HAPPY CLIENTS AND HAPPY STAFF.