Engaging the unengaged: what we have learnt about letting consumers design their NDIS services

Kirsty Egan

South East Regional Community Health Service, Country Health SA, PO Box 267, Mt Gambier SA 5290, kirsty.egan@sa.gov.au

Stream: Healthy People: “Consumer Directed Care”

Introduction:

The first stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) was rolled out in South Australia on 1st July 2013 for children aged 13 years and under. This was a transformational change in what and how health care is delivered for children and their families with consumer-directed care informing this new philosophy of care. While the theoretical underpinnings of consumer-directed care are strong, large scale practical application of, and testing in, real life practice remains. This projects aims to highlight learnings from the coalface about letting consumers design their NDIS services.

Methods:

Reflections from allied health clinicians working across rural and remote South Australia.

Results:

A number of expected and unexpected learnings were identified. Engaging early with families, especially vulnerable families, to help them get the most value for their child’s plan is critical. The concept of payment for services may be new to some, especially the complexity of families who self-manage their funds. Networking and engaging with other stakeholders, such as NDIS Local Area Coordinator, is important in order to ensure seamless access to services and promote public and private sector collaborations. From a service point of view, managing demand carefully through adequate resourcing and staffing is important. This is particularly relevant as public health services now have to adopt a “business approach” to providing services.

Discussion:

Consumer-directed care is here to stay, in one form or the other. Sharing learnings can assist improvements in service delivery for all health care stakeholders.

Biography

Kirsty is the Early Childhood Team Leader at the South East Regional Community Health Service, based in Mt Gambier South Australia. She supports a team of Early Childhood Allied Health professionals to provide services to families and children in the South East region.Kirsty is a member of the Country Health SA Child Health and Development (CHAD) Statewide Forum.She has a clinical background as an Occupational Therapist and has worked across a range of clinical areas over the last 12 years, with a passion for paediatrics.