Since the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) commenced in 2016, people with disability across Australia have accessed much needed supports to improve their quality of life. But while the NDIS has been great for many, there’s no doubt that it can seem like a complex and confusing system – which is exactly why the Support Coordinator role was created.
Support Coordinators have become an important resource for many NDIS participants. But what exactly is a support coordinator, and how do you find the right one? Read on to understand.
What is a Support Coordinator?
A Support Coordinator uses NDIS funded supports to help participants achieve their goals and obtain the greatest value from their NDIS plan. Support Coordination is funded through the Capacity Building Budget in your plan and must be stated in your plan for you to access. Generally your NDIS planner or Local Area Coordinator will give you a list to choose from or you can search for your own. Support Coordination can be provided for plan, self and agency managed clients.
A Support Coordinator is there to enable you to have choice and control over your plan. They will help explain your plan, how to use it and link you with both mainstream and disability supports. A Support Coordinator can connect you with the providers of your choice that can facilitate core, capacity building or capital supports. The Support Coordinator will assist you to ensure these supports are aligned with your goals and approved funding. Additionally, a Support Coordinator will:
- Support the participant to navigate the NDIS and connect with providers that are best suited to their goals, location and personal preferences.
- Assist the participant to achieve their goals by providing advice while allowing the participant to exercise choice and control.
- Help the participant to understand what is possible under their current NDIS plan.
- Link to other supports such a s health, housing and transport
- Support all stakeholder to communicate and support the participant’s goals
What are the different types of Support Coordination?
There are two main types of Support Coordination referenced in the NDIS framework.
Coordination of Supports
Coordination of Supports is the most common support provided by Support Coordinators. According to the 2019-2020 NDIS Price guide, this service is generally billed at $98 per hour. As part of this service, Support Coordinators are required to both assist and strengthen a participant’s ability to coordinate their own supports, build capacity for independence and participate in the community. Coordination of Supports generally involves helping participants establish their support network and resolve stresses or concerns.
Specialist Support Coordination
Specialist Support Coordination is a niche support that can be provided to participants with higher needs. A Specialist Support Coordinator will hold a higher qualification in the Allied Health field. These qualifications may include but are not limited to psychology, occupational therapy or social work.
Specialist Support Coordination is more intensive and complex, so providers bill this service at $182 per hour. When working with a Specialist Support Coordinator, participants will receive assistance for both navigating high risk situations and addressing barriers to participation. A Specialist Support Coordinator will help reduce complexity around a participant’s NDIS plan and continue to provide connections, build capacity and improve resilience –as would be performed under Coordination of Supports.
How does a Support Coordinator help?
The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) describes support coordination as “connect to informal, community, mainstream and funded supports”. A Support Coordinator may perform the following tasks:
- Connection with supports and services: assist participants to build connections with the community and other support networks by researching and referring providers that best suit the participant’s needs
- Establish supports: aid participants in identifying needed supports, provide options to allow choice and control and design supports to ensure outcomes are realised.
- Coach, refine, reflect: help participants overcome barriers, reflect on goals/outcomes and prepare for their plan review by providing regular phone and face to face meetings.
- Crisis planning, prevention, mitigation and action: help participants through stresses or crises by offering guidance and advice on helpful supports.
- Build capacity and resilience: help participants become more resilient and build their capacity to increase independence by encouraging independence and offering practical guidance and emotional support.
How do I find the right Support Coordinator?
Having the right Support Coordinator can greatly improve your quality of life, mental health and general wellbeing. This means finding a trusted and respected provider is crucial to getting the most value out of your NDIS plan.
When you are researching Support Coordinators, it is important to compare. We suggest contacting two or three local organisations and asking for an overview of their services. Giving yourself options means you have a stronger chance of choosing someone that best suits your needs.
To find the right Support Coordinator, you should confirm they:
- Make you the priority: a support coordinator should partner closely with you, respect your choices and offer flexible solutions that meet your goals.
- Remain outcome focused: a Support Coordinator’s key responsibility is to help you achieve your outlined goals or outcomes in your NDIS plan. If they are not focused on achieving your outcomes, they are not doing their job.
- Know your local area: a Support Coordinator cannot achieve your goals or outcomes if they have inadequate knowledge of the providers and services available near you.
- Readily share information: your Support Coordinator needs to decipher and explain how your plan works in a way you understand.
Questions to ask before signing with a Support Coordinator
Before signing a service agreement, we suggest meeting your new provider and asking a few questions. This allows you to determine if the Support Coordinator has the capacity to meet your situational needs. These questions include:
- How will you help me achieve my goals?
- Have you successfully worked with people with my diagnosis or condition?
- How much do you charge?
- What services are included in my agreement?
- What is the quickest way to contact you?
- Is there a notice period for ending my service agreement?
- How will you communicate with me?
How can breakthru help with Support Coordination?
As a registered NDIS provider with over 25 years of experience helping people with disability, we can connect you with a Support Coordinator that can help you achieve your goals.
Interested? Simply contact one of our friendly staff today.
Having grown up with his younger sister Katey (who was born with Down Syndrome), Josh has witnessed first hand the barriers and misconceptions placed around people with a disability. As part of the breakthru team, Josh hopes to assist people just like Katey find the information or supports they need to live their best life.