November 9, 2017
FREE TO READ: NDIS NUTS & BOLTS TIPS: Annual Reviews – All about therapist reports
So, the end date of your plan is coming!
(this is a bit of a long read, sorry)
First, I suggest that you set a reminder, or write in your calendar, a full THREE MONTHS before your plan expires. This should give you enough time to get the reports you need.
Reports are NOT needed for most core supports most of the time – so don’t worry about asking your support workers or taxi drivers to write a review of how you’ve progressed towards your goals. I wish I was joking when I write this, but I have experienced a planner requesting a written report from a support worker who worked two hours a week for a participant. Just so you know, if they do ask, then I suggest you ask them for a specific, relevant and reasonable reason to provide reports from your support workers, and if they can’t, then I would not be providing those reports until I’d spoken to someone higher up the food chain.
So, reports, generally speaking, need to be organised by you, or your Nominee, or, if you’re lucky, your Support Coordinator, for each of the therapists you have funded with your NDIS plan over that plan year – this means your psychologist, occupational therapist, physiotherapist, speech therapist, behaviour support specialist etc. – any allied health professional you saw on a somewhat regular basis, who has worked to help you toward your NDIS goals.Some therapists will write their annual reports at no extra cost, but most will charge you, at least one hour (and some much more!), so be aware that this will eat into your therapy budget and you should be aware and plan for that when figuring out your services and budget. (And, if you’re smart, ask about their report writing charges and have it included before your sign their service agreement).
I’ve seen hundreds of NDIS therapist reports from dozens of therapists in the past four years, and not all are equal! I’ve seen parents cry when an NDIS planner has read a report in a planning meeting and said “This really doesn’t help me at all”.You don’t want to be that crying person.
So, here are four things that I’m pretty sure the NDIS want to know at review time for most participants…
1. FREQUENCY OF THERAPY – How many sessions were actually provided during the plan year.
2. PROGRESS MADE – This means baseline and ACTUAL PROGRESS/IMPROVEMENTS – this DOES NOT mean “We worked on core strength and fine motor control” – but it DOES mean “Jonny is now able to feed himself soft foods using an adapted spoon without support for around half of his mealtimes” or “Sarah has increased her spoken vocabulary from 20 to 100 intelligible words over the plan year” or “Louise can now successfully and safely catch a public bus home from her dance lessons every Saturday”. Some therapists do excellent reviews with pretty graphs tracking progress etc. This is easier with some kinds of therapy than others.
3. NEW GOALS – While you probably have a good handle on your broad goals, your therapists often have good ideas about smaller, bite size goals to work on – like “Jonny will be able to eat clear soup with a spoon with only minor spillage” or “Sarah’s intelligible spoken vocab will increase from 100 to 300 words over the coming year” or “Louise will learn how to order a taxi using her smart phone and to pay for it using her debit card and taxi voucher without getting ripped off by the driver”
4. EQUIPMENT NEEDED – This one is important, because if the type of equipment is requested in your planning meeting and approved in your plan (actual formal NDIS prescriptions and quotes are not required at this stage, but can expedite the process if you already know exactly what specific item is needed), then you won’t have to suffer through a full plan review when equipment is requested in between plans. And trust me on this one, you DON’T want a review mid plan unless you really have to (and you could have many more grey hairs before you actually get that review).
5. FUTURE THERAPY RECOMMENDATIONS – with justifications of why you need it. This means evidence as above showing the progress the therapy is already achieving, as well as evidence of why they think future therapy will help you meet your goals.If your therapist provides you a review report that does not cover these basics then it pretty much falls on you to let your therapist know you need a report that tells the NDIS what they need to know to justify funding further therapy.Of course, none of this guarantees that your NDIS planner or LAC will actually read or consider the reports, but they certainly should, and if you don’t get the therapy you need funded in your new plan, if you request a review, at least those reports will be in your file and should then be reviewed by the next planner who does your unscheduled review.Good luck!
As per usual, this post is based on our experience as Support Coordinators serving loads of people with NDIS plans. It is NOT direct personal advice and may not be right for your personal situation, so always check with the NDIS in case there’s been changes and stuff.