NDIS Supports and Safety

Our health and the health of our loved ones is the most priceless asset in our lives. We would never do anything that would jeopardise our safety or that of our loved ones. We would never jump off a plane with 50-50 chance of the parachute opening. Nor will we let our loved ones drive a car with faulty breaks. So why risk your or your loved one’s safety when it comes to choosing your NDIS provider?

NDIS providers are a lot like snowflakes. From a distance they may all look the same, but on closer inspection, one finds intricate details that are unique to each of them. Similarly, while most NDIS providers provide a very similar set of services, but how they provide these services is what distinguishes them from one another. While we can argue that they all have different business strategies, different vision, mission and goals, but for the scope of this article, we will only discuss the safety aspect of support provision, the one thing that matters to you.

There are many strategies that can be employed by support providers to enhance the safety of participants, and they include:

  • detailed documentation of the participant’s journey with the provider

  • regular health assessments by qualified professionals

  • regular follow-up with participants and getting their feedback

  • undertaking regular risk assessments and implementing preventative measures, and,

  • following up on incidents and taking action to prevent their recurrence in the future.

Documentation is an integral component of participant safety, which begins when the participant signs up with the provider. The process involves thoroughly documenting the participant’s medical history, emergency contacts, and contact details of doctors, allied health providers, plan managers/support coordinators, etc. This information is crucial for the provider to plan supports.

Documentation also forms the corner stone of ensuring day-to-day safety of the participant. When staff are working directly with the participant, it is critical that they undertake necessary documentations. This ensures that if an adverse event were to occur, its cause can be identified by reviewing the documentation. For example, appropriate daily food intake is vital for nourishment and wound healing process, however, if a participant is not consuming enough food, it can be easily identified by appropriately documenting a food chart. This information can then be used to tailor dietary plans that will promote the participant’s health.

While documentations are crucial to participants safety, too much documentation can have the opposite effect. If there are too much documentation, the staff may become so busy documenting that it can result in the failure to provide optimal care to the participants. For this reason, it is important to strive a balance between too much and too little documentation.

Along with documentation, checklists can also help staff provide safe and optimal support to participants. Having a checklist of tasks to complete when with the participant has also been found to promote participant safety and enhance the quality of the support provided.

It goes without saying that not all participants are the same, hence not all services can be provided the same way to each participant. When a participant signs up with a provider, it is integral that a comprehensive health assessment is undertaken by a qualified medical professional, such as GP or a qualified nurse. This allows the provider to identify any health issues, such as a diabetes or a pressure sore, for which a management plan can be created, and the progression of the health concern can be monitored regularly. It is important that a comprehensive health assessment is undertake regularly (2-4 time per year), to ensure that new health concerns are identified and managed appropriately.

An important component of NDIS practice standard includes, undertaking risk assessments when a participant joins the organization. We are all different and have different abilities. In some areas of our lives we are completely independent, whereas in other areas, we may need a little help. By undertaking a thorough risk assessment, it allows the support provider to identify areas that pose a threat to the participants safety and put into action different strategies to minimize these risks. For example, a rug in the living room may not be an issue to you or me, but it can be trip hazard (risk) to someone with walking difficulty. By identifying this risk, now measures such as removing the carpet or rearranging its location, can be put in place to prevent future harm to the participant.

However, regardless of how many measures are put in place to prevent future adverse outcomes, sometimes accidents do happen. In such cases documenting the incident is important and it is just as important for the organization to follow up on this incident, identifying what caused it, how can it have been prevented and what can be done to prevent it in the future.

Finally, a provider can implement most or all of the above measures to ensure to the safety of the participant, but at the end of the day, none of this will mean anything if the participant does not feel safe. For this reason, it is important for providers to follow up with participants regularly and get an understanding of how they feel about the support they are getting. It is important that this feedback is communicated with stakeholders and appropriate actions are taken to promote participant satisfaction.

To summarise, there are many strategies that an NDIS provider can use to promote the health and safety of its participants. When signing up with a provider, participants owe it to themselves to find out what their provider is doing to deliver safe services.

At Scarlet Homecare, safety forms the corner stone of our service. We have done the research to identify what we can do to promote the safety of our participants and our staff. By incorporating all the above strategies into our day-to-day service, we strive to provide a healthy and happy environment for our staff and our participants.

For more information on how Scarlet Homecare can help you achieve your NDIS goals, get in touch with us by clicking here.

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