1. What does your role involve?
I am a Client Engagement Officer at Baptist Care SA. My role is to engage with clients who are on the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) and are looking for services to meet their NDIS goals.
I help potential clients through the onboarding process. I also connect them with other services at Baptist Care SA and even other service providers, if required.
People often have lots of questions about the NDIS and services available to them and I’m glad to be able to help answer these.
At the conclusion of a contract, I consult with the client about whether they wish to renew their contract with us. This is also an opportunity for them to engage additional Baptist Care SA services if and as required. If that’s what they wish to do, I organise this accordingly.
2. What do you enjoy most about your work? Why do you work in a disability team?
I became involved in the disability sector as I have family members that have been on the NDIS. I am very grateful for the people that helped us navigate the NDIS and provided advice about services. During our journey, I learned that information was at times difficult to find and understand so once I reached a certain stage, I committed to “giving back” to others.
3. What are the most important things about providing good service for our clients?
Initially it is listening and hearing what people need and where they are at in their NDIS journey. People come to us with different capacities and at various stages of their journey. Some people have a strong understanding of where they are at in that journey and what they are looking for. Others come to us at the beginning and quite often feel lost and overwhelmed. At times they do not know where to turn. So initially it is about listening, hearing them out, assuring them they are being heard and that we will support them to the best of our ability.
From there, we give people options about our services and other services in the community. If we are unable to provide the service that they require, we suggest other providers that can help them. It is important for people to have choices and feel a sense of control and ownership over their situation.
At this point, we link clients to their required services. Often it is quite a journey to reach this point and it is encouraging for them to experience a sense of progression, that they are not alone, they have support and Baptist Care SA is right beside them.
Through this process we empower people, so that they feel like they know where to turn.
4. Can you give an example of a successful client relationship you’ve had / you have now?
Because we engage with so many people on a daily and weekly basis and are usually the first point of contact, we develop a sense of familiarity with our clients. While we do not always have the opportunity to meet people face to face, clients can ring us directly and know that we will be there to assist them, no matter how big or small the issue. They recognise and know they can come to us, ask questions, and connect them with who or what they need.
As an example, I can think of a particular client’s sister and family living interstate, who were unable to travel to South Australia due to COVID restrictions. Her brother (living in Adelaide) desperately needed support and she was at a loss as to how to support him, having had no success connecting with other providers for various reasons. She was really struggling and feeling quite desperate. After connecting with Baptist Care SA, we sorted out the issues at hand and consequently, engaged her brother as a client. Despite living interstate, they now feel secure with Baptist Care SA as their brother’s NDIS provider. They are now at ease, knowing he is being looked after. He is receiving the services and support he requires, both safely and reliably.
5. What specifically made this relationship work? What needs were met and what goals were achieved?
By building trust through our actions. We were readily accessible, we listened and gently guided the family and client through the process.
Our client does not have the capacity to understand how the NDIS works and financial issues, so he had been taken advantage of previously. The actions and the protections we put in place showed the family that Baptist Care SA could be trusted and that we were supporting him in an ethical manner.
6. How do you make sure your client is satisfied with the service we provide?
At the end of a client’s contract we do not assume that clients want to continue working with Baptist Care SA. We have a conversation with them to give them the opportunity to make choices and have control of their services and providers.
When we engage a new client or renew a contract, we send an information pack which contains a feedback form amongst other things.
The fact that clients come back to us and renew their contracts is also a good sign that they are satisfied with our service. Quite often, clients ring us and tell us how happy they are with what we have done. Signs like this indicate that people are happy with the service that we are providing.
7. If there are challenges for our clients, what sort of initiatives can we put in place to support them?
If a client is experiencing a challenge, we listen to them, whatever those challenges might be. We then connect them to the relevant staff and work through a range of strategies to determine what the problem is, how we can sort through it and what options are available to the client to resolve it.
We work in partnership with the service team, as well as the client. With their permission, we can also contact the NDIS on our client’s behalf, to help gather information for them. Often there is that lack of information or that lack of understanding, so we try to break down any barriers to find a resolution.
8. We pride ourselves on working alongside our clients, at their pace – why do you think this is so important?
It is important to work alongside our clients, at their pace because everybody comes to us at a different stage of the NDIS process. Some are at the beginning of the process and really do not understand the process, what is available to them and how the system works. Others come to us mid-way through the process, and others come to us quite well informed and are simply looking for an additional service. So, we work with clients based on the stage of where they are at.
Many of our clients do not have the intellectual capacity to understand the NDIS and the processes required to navigate it, so we tailor our communications accordingly. For example, we have easy read documentation we can provide to clients. We also try to engage a nominee or advocate for clients if required, so that they have that support as well.
It is important that things move at the client’s pace, so they feel like they are in control and are making their own decisions. We try to ensure that we are not just doing things for them. When clients feel like they have ownership over their life, developing and working towards goals tend to naturally follow.
9. What are your interests?
Much of my time is dedicated to my family – my husband and my 14-year-old son. I enjoy watching my son play sport, in particular basketball.
I also love scrapbooking and crafts, follow AFL football, enjoy going out to dinner and catching up with friends.
If you have any questions about Baptist Care SA’s NDIS services, our Client Engagement Team is here to help.
Baptist Care SA, lives, works and walks on Kaurna, Permangk and Boandik lands. We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the state’s first peoples, recognise their traditional ownership, and respect their cultural heritage, beliefs, deep connection and continued guardianship of land and waters. We value the contributions of Elders past and present, and are committed to learning from those emerging.