Support coordinators have a very important role in ensuring NDIS participants can access supports which are reasonable and necessary. However, there are instances where the funding which is received does not adequately cover the intensity or duration which supports are being provided.
To optimise the supports which NDIS participants receive there are some steps which supports coordinators can take to adequately prepare for planning meetings including unscheduled plan reviews.
- Gather all progress reports from Allied Health practitioners including functional capacity assessments:
- It is essential to obtain relevant reports/quotes and functional capacity assessments as it is a participants function which inherently dictates the level of supports a participant requires. For example, two participants with a similar diagnosis such as (Parkinson’s disease) may have a considerably different level of support needs depending on their informal supports and relative stage of the disease.
- Gather relevant information/reports from other medical and allied health staff known to the participant. If the participant has seen any specialists privately such as private psychiatric or rehabilitation physicians or allied health staff/ specialists through the public system, attaining documentation from these specialists/staff will considerably assist the participant in getting further funding.
- Prepare a brief summary of the participant to present to the planner which summarises the information which has been gathered. It is critical to note down any hospital admission which the participant has had.
It is important that the reports which are provided are all consistent with each other and “sing from the same hymn” book. Inconsistency between reports/ quotes increases the confusion and can delay the planning review process.
Occupational Therapists are the best placed professionals to complete Functional Assessments as they have the capability to assess an individuals function across range of domains including:
- Cognitive function
- Physical function
- Mental health function
- Sensory needs and emotional regulation functioning
Apart from Occupational Therapists the following professionals may also assess participants function in the following areas (see image below):
It is important to assess an NDIS participants functional needs for a range reason including:
- Understanding a partcipants current function, will enable therapy to be provided to assist in improving their function. Therapy is usually designed to meet realistic goals which have been established with the participant.
- Equipment recommendations can be made to assist someone to live more independently and safely. E.g. a powered wheelchair or pressure relieving mattress.
- Understand the nature of supports and support workers which someone may require to assist them to complete their day to day activities more safely.
- Enable recommendations to be made to family and carers around how to best support an NDIS participant.