The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is providing many opportunities for people to access supports and services that they may have never been able to before.
It also opens up a dynamic, and innovative marketplace, for new, and exciting providers to provide specialty, niche services, based on the needs of the consumers.
Once you get through the initial planning stage with the NDIS, you will then have to choose service providers. There are lots of options, depending on what your needs are, where you live, age, etc and lots of ways to find different service providers. Google is a great place to start – google ‘the service you are looking for’ + ‘your suburb and state’ and it should give you some information.
When choosing a service provider to work with, there are a range of different things to consider. Below is a list of some of these. Before signing up with any specific organisation, ensure you feel comfortable, and have any questions answered.
Generally you will have a service agreement, that should be clear, and easy to understand. This will describe what the service you are signing up for, involves – including sessions, times, costing, complaints procedures, and how to end the service agreement. The NDIS have provided a template on their website. You should be able to take the time to read through the service agreement, and suggest any changes you want to see.
Ask as many questions as you want! Find out everything you need to know. Make a list of what you want to know, write down questions, and take it to your initial meeting. Also grab the details of your contact at the organisation – email and/or phone number – so if you have questions later, you can always contact them.
Your NDIS plan should have specific goals you are working towards – does this provider line up with supports to help you achieve your goals. On the flip side, how does your provider measure goals and progress? Do they provide initial assessments? Are there ongoing monitoring tools? Are the monthly session summaries? It is important to make sure the supports you have in place are helping you to achieve your goals, and the best way to do this, is monitor, as you go! (Not just at the end of your NDIS plan!)
There are many other things to think about and consider, and you may be able to access some support in finding and engaging service providers, through a Local Area Coordinator (LAC), with the NDIS.