1: What does your role involve?
I help clients funded by the NDIS to work towards the goals identified in their NDIS plan. These goals may include engaging in the community, exploring new interests and assisting with daily living and self-care skills.
Mostly the role involves helping our clients connect with others and developing greater independence. For example, supporting clients to make informed choices, budgeting, choosing what to wear, personal hygiene and managing their time.
My role as a Community Support Coordinator also includes finding or recruiting the most suitable Support Worker within the team, to support that person to meet their NDIS goals.
2: What do you enjoy most about your work? Why do you work in a disability team?
I believe that people develop a sense of value and belonging when they connect to a community that resonates with their beliefs, values and interests.
Often people with disability haven’t had opportunities or supports to enable them to connect and may feel disengaged or isolated. So, what I enjoy the most is seeing people become engaged and connecting.
I particularly enjoy seeing people exploring a variety of activities, identifying their interests and then connecting with that interest. In my years of work, I have helped clients connect with the community choir, art, car clubs and line dancing just to name a few.
The great benefit of working within a team is that we draw on each other’s diverse range of cultures, skills, interests and connections, to help our clients pursue theirs.
3: What do you think are the most important things about providing a good service for our clients?
It’s really important for our clients to feel valued and respected. Listening carefully and communicating clearly is key. This helps us provide a professional and personable service.
Each of our clients is the expert of their own life. I aim to find a Support Worker that’s the “best fit” for them. As a Community Support Coordinator, I spend a lot of time communicating with my staff and aim to maintain a positive work culture which flows into our interactions with our clients. Good service is often enhanced by the recruitment and retention of a professional and reliable team. We support the workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance and we encourage professional development.
4: Can you give an example of a successful client relationship you’ve had/you have now?
Some of our clients find it difficult to communicate. So I make it a priority to reach out and connect with them to ensure they feel valued and recognised. Many of these clients now call me regularly, just to say “hello”.
In another instance, we had a young person wanting to ride his bike home from his new school and gain some independence. One of our Developmental Educators was engaged to communicate with our Support Worker and client’s parents to assess their skills and abilities. We developed a safety plan around this and the Support Worker is working with the client to implement this safety plan, which also includes learning to hang out safely at the local park.
5: What specifically made this relationship work? What needs were met and what goals achieved?
Talking to a client on their terms is really important. Listening is vital and doing what one says they will do. It’s important that clients trust their service provider.
I also find that appropriate humour is fabulous for opening up the communication channels and putting them at ease.
I regularly liaise and connect with other stakeholders within a client’s life including their Support Coordinator, therapists and informal supports to ensure we are working together to achieve the client’s goals.
6: How do you make sure your client is satisfied with the service we provide?
In my experience, satisfaction is often measured by a person’s continuous engagement in the support. If a client cancels supports, it’s important to open up the communication and unpack the reasons for cancellations. We aim to provide a service where the client has choice and flexibility. Clients can open the door or leave it closed when we come knocking – but I would say we have a really good strike rate with attendance and retention.
Support Workers also keep records of each and every support, which provides clear written communication and keeps me informed of the level of engagement and satisfaction of each client.
7: If there are challenges for our clients, what sort of initiatives can we put in place to support them?
We talk openly with our clients about their expectations and consider their likes, dislikes, interests, history – it all helps us create a better, safer environment for the client. Some clients can articulate these expectations clearly, others need support and guidance. Some clients are resistant to change, others feel uncomfortable in certain environments or are sensitive to noise.
For every client who engages with community supports, we conduct risk assessments to address any potential challenges, and we talk about the processes we’ll put in place to minimize those risks.
8: We pride ourselves on working alongside our clients, at their pace – why do you think this is so important?
Everyone is unique and different and it’s important to treat each client as such. Some people are ready to engage and jump into new activities and experiences, others need lots of encouragement. The key is to work with clients, not for.
We aim to help clients achieve their best life, as independently as possible.
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