Support Workers

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June 28, 2017

FREE TO READ:Finding and Choosing Support Workers with your NDIS Funds (Part I)

A Support Worker is someone you pay to help you because of your disability related needs, a Carer is someone who is not paid – usually family or a close friend. It can be difficult to find good support workers that “click” with you and your needs, so here are some ideas or where to find potential workers, and interviewing tips, too.

How might you use your “Core” funds for a Support Worker?

• Helping with your personal care (toileting, feeding, showering, teeth cleaning, shaving)

• Moving around at home – transfers from bed or chair to wheelchair or toilet or shower etc

• Building your skills (cooking/making snacks, kicking a football, cleaning/tidying, getting dressed, washing dishes, using a computer, gardening)

• Helping you try new things or continue existing activities (hobbies, recreation, leisure, employment, sports, volunteering, making friends, learning new things)

• Helping you make friends and get out into your neighbourhood and into your local town or city

• Cleaning, yard-work, watering, filing, laundry, changing beds

• Cooking, light household duties, laundry etc

• Transportation – driving you around or going with you on public transport

• Indirectly providing families and carers time away from their caring role

Where might you find a support worker to hire yourself?

• Contact a university or TAFE student association, or a relevant faculty

• Ask your extended family and neighbours if they know anyone

• OSHC (out of School Hours Care) workers or SSO’s from a local school

• People from your faith community, or a club you’re already involved with

• Put a shareable post on Facebook, or other social media (be careful not to share too much information publicly!)

• Restaurant, fast food or supermarket workers

• Ask your therapists if they know anyone who might be interested

www.HireUp.com.au and www.bettercaring.com.au are great places to look for potential workers

• Advertise on Gumtree, in your local paper, or through employment websites like www.seek.com.au

• Go to a Support Worker Provider – they may be an NFP or a for-profit company

Tips

• Make sure potential support workers have current State and National Police Clearances, First Aid Certificate and definitely check their references

• Be careful when advertising and interviewing strangers to make sure you don’t publicly share information which makes you or your family vulnerable – never include your home address or full name in an ad – you can meet interviewees for the first time at a library, coffee shop or other public place to keep safe.

Interview Question Ideas

• What is your experience with people with disability and/or children?

• What gave you an interest in working with people with disability?

• Do you have a disability or care for anyone in your family with disability?

• Do you have any studies/qualifications (related or otherwise, current or past)?

• Do you have your own reliable insured transport, licence and clean driving record?

• Are you OK with my pet cat/dog/bird in the house?

• What are your interests outside of work/study? Could you introduce any of these to me or my child?

• Have you had experience of (my child’s extra medical or behavioural support needs)?

• I/My child can sometimes get anxious/distressed. What would you do if he broke a window and was having a meltdown?

• Are you willing and able to provide personal care support (toileting etc), and can you do overnight help?

• Do you have any physical limitations that might make this job hard that I should know about?

• I/My child is very active – would you be fit enough to keep up?

• My child is not good about personal boundaries – would you comfortable with…?

• How would you communicate to us about your time with our child? (email/phone/text)

• What would you do if…?

• What is your availability and what notice do you require?

• How many hours of work are you looking for and are you willing to travel?

• Our cultural/belief background is… Do you share/are you comfortable supporting our beliefs?

General Tips on Choosing Support Workers to Meet Your Needs

• It is very very rare that any one support worker will have all of your desired qualities. Consider taking on two or three workers, even if you don’t have a lot of hours of work to offer – people do get sick, move on and go on holidays – don’t get caught short with just one worker.

• Younger student workers often have energy and enthusiasm, but may have limited availability, especially at exam or holiday time. They may also have upcoming student “placement” obligations for their study – ask about these!

• It is unlikely that your workers will work only for you – keep this in mind and try to book workers for regular shifts, and do this in as far advance as possible.

• Professional (full-time) support workers may have set ideas about the work you need and ways to do things, and may not be as flexible, but they may also have very valuable experience.

• Are you looking for community access – someone willing and able to get out and about with you or your child, or are you really looking for in-home support? These activities are not necessarily incompatible, but a young student may not have the domestic and life experience to just “notice” what needs doing and show that initiative (remember *your* first share house?).

• And one more thing – the NDIS will not fund parents or family members of participants to provide personal care supports except in the most exceptional circumstances (and even then, only for a short time), and there are many good reasons for this policy decision – it’s hard to fire Grandma or your sister!

Where to go for more information

Here’s a guide to recruiting and interviewing potential support workers from HireUp: https://hireup.com.au/wp-content/uploads/RecruitmentManualforUsers_July16.pdf

Here is some great Easy English information about how to choose staff from MyChoiceMatters: http://www.mychoicematters.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=9&Itemid=113

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