For many Australians accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for the first time, the journey from establishing initial eligibility to support service implementation will be a daunting and confusing one. NDIS coordinators can be a great asset by not only assisting you in understanding the scheme and in finding the services you need, they can also show you how you can coordinate your own supports independently. In this article we will cover what NDIS support coordination should look like and provide some suggestions for finding the right support coordinator for you.
What is NDIS Support Coordination?
Support coordination is a new function within the NDIS designed to help you:
- understand and know how to use your NDIS plan to pursue your goals
- connect to NDIS providers, community, mainstream and other government services
- build confidence and skills to using and coordinating your supports
Why is having an NDIS Support Coordinator important?
A Support Coordinator is a person who understands the service system and has experience in making sure people get the most out of their NDIS funding package. They can:
- link you with services you need
- monitor your budget and support you in implementing your plan
- suggest services you may have not previously thought about
- help you build a care team for yourself or the person you are caring for
- support you during a plan review process
- show you how to use the online portal
- assist you with various assessment and service referrals
- make sure you are in control of choosing your supports
|TIP – Because support coordination is complex and not an automatic part of every funding package, you should consider requesting it during your planning meeting with your NDIS Local Area Coordinator (LAC).|
What levels of NDIS Support Coordination are there?
There are three levels of support coordination that can be included in your plan:
- Support connection – To help connect with informal, community and funded supports
- Support coordination – To help build your skills in understanding and using your plan
- NDIS Specialist support coordination – Is for people whose situations are more complex and who need more intensive support.
Because the role of a support coordinator is flexible, your coordinator can work with you to focus on a specific goal in your NDIS plan (like finding suitable housing and living supports).
TIP – Because you are in control of choosing who your support coordinator is, it is very important to think about the goals and needs you would like to work on. Once you are clear about these things, you can then use your support coordination funding to identify and select someone who has the allied health physiotherapy skills, knowledge and experience to meet your specific needs.
How can I find the right NDIS Support Coordinator for me?
Assuming you have been approved to receive support coordination funding, the next step is to take the time to find a few different providers and make time to catch up with each of them. Below are some questions you can use to help you choose the best coordinator for you:
- Why should I choose you to be my support coordinator?
- What one quality is the most important when being a support coordinator?
- Can you tell me about a time when you provided support coordination to a person with similar needs and goals to me?
- How will you use the hours of support coordination I’ve been funded for to help me achieve my goals?
- What a conflict of interest is and how will you make sure your advice is not biased?
- What different types of support services have you connected people to in the past?
- How will you make sure the relationships we establish with other services are positive and focused on my goals?
- What do you do when relationships with your clients, or between your clients and other services aren’t going so well?
- How will you help me take charge of my service plan and coordinate my own supports?
- What training do you do to make sure you are the best support coordinator you can be?
|TIP – Whatever questions you decide to ask, think about the answers you want to hear before you meet. Take a trusted family member or friend with you and get them to take notes. After the meeting, you can talk privately together about how you felt the meeting went, the answers the support coordinator provided and whether you think that person is a good fit for you.|
The role of support coordination in the success of your plan and the development of your ability to coordinate your own supports is very important. A professional support coordinator will be someone who can help you think about your goals, the services and supports you will need and any additional assistance you’ll require to access those services or supports. Choosing a support coordinator should be a decision you make carefully, so call a range of local NDIS service providers and if you have supportive people around you, ask one of them to help you meet your candidates and make a good decision.