Disability Archives - Afea Care Services

How we help our clients with their mental health

Why helping our clients with their mental health is so important at Afea

At Afea, talking about mental health isn’t something we only do on one awareness day or month. It’s pivotal to our workplace culture. We’ve spoken about how we work on mental health at work. As our carers spend most of their day with clients, we thought it was important to highlight how we help our clients with their mental health too.

We have learnt mental health first aid

With one in five of Australians experiencing a mental health illness each year, we recently trained up in mental health first aid. This amazing course gave us the skills to recognise when one of our friends, colleagues or clients is experiencing a mental health emergency and what to do about it. We are honoured to be part of the first million Australians to be trained up in mental health first aid.

We provide companionship services

Loneliness and isolation can have a profound effect on our mental health. A UK survey found that a quarter of people with a disability felt lonely every day. Loneliness has been compounded this year with Covid-19. People with a disability are considered more vulnerable so many people have had extended periods at home to avoid exposure to the virus.

The NDIA has made allowances for funding to be used more flexibly as a result of the pandemic, and people are able to use their funding in different ways. Often our clients would have services that took them out into the community or be involved in activities that are not as safe as they were. As an alternative, Afea carers have been visiting them in their homes to keep them company and do activities with them. It can be as simple as playing games, watching movies together or talking sport! Having this support and someone to spend time with can help reduce feelings of loneliness and social isolation and is a good way to use any outstanding funding.

We match carers and clients

When a new client joins us, we give a lot of thought to who we assign as a carer. Many of our clients see their carers every day, sometimes more than even their own family and friends. Which is why we find the best fit for both carers and clients. We match based on interests, cultural background and language so when they’re receiving services, they get along and become close. Feeling connected to someone can be a protective factor against anxiety and depression, so it’s vital that our carers and clients feel this genuine connection.

We check-in and follow up 

Caring for our clients’ mental health is just as important as their physical health. Our carers are so close to their clients that they can tell if they’re having a bad day. If they’re worried about a client for any reason, they report it back to head office. From there, we will have someone check-in with the client or we’ll talk to their family members. Our carers are like part of the family with their clients and always want what’s best for them.

We help our clients access social and community services

It’s not just about helping our clients within the home. We all know how important it is to get out and about for our mental health and it’s no different for our clients. We help our clients access social and community services such as craft groups, dance classes, book clubs or meetups with family and friends. We have provided extra PPE to make sure these social activities can go on wherever possible, even during this pandemic period.

If you want to know more about how we match our carers with our clients and the kind of services we provide, get in touch with us.

Our favourite Australian disability podcasts

What disability podcasts are you listening to?

Have you got on board with the podcast craze? 1.6million Australians regularly listen to podcasts and that number is growing all the time. We love listening to podcasts – it’s such a great way to learn new things and be entertained when we’re going for a walk or doing chores.

We also love the diversity of voices we can hear on podcasts. It allows a whole range of people to share their unique and fascinating stories. We particularly like podcasts that give people with a disability the opportunity to share their stories and opinions. Fortunately, there are many out there that do just that! Here are our top Australian disability podcasts.

ListenAble

You may remember Dylan Alcott, the Australian wheelchair basketballer and wheelchair tennis player. He recently started a podcast called ListenAble with his mate Angus O’Loughlin. They already have a weekend radio program on the Hit Network but started this podcast to talk more about life for people with a disability. They hope to break down the stigma of living with a disability by asking questions you thought were off-limits. They’re very experienced with the radio format so it’s easy to listen to and very entertaining. Listen to it here.

Inform

Inform is a national information hub for people with disabilities that already produces a website and a newsletter. Their podcast comes out monthly and is a conversation for people with disabilities about people with disabilities. It covers some fascinating topics – starting your own business, supported decision making, navigating the NDIS, finding a job. Plus, they speak to lots of inspiring people in the community who are living with a disability. Listen to it here

Disability done different

Father and daughter team Roland and Evie Naufal have candid conversations with people who’ve carved their own path in the disability sector. They want to challenge the traditional ways of doing things. Their podcast is full of relaxed conversations with fascinating people. It’s also peppered with some good-natured bickering between the co-hosts! Listen to it here

Reasonable and Necessary: Making Sense of the NDIS

Dr George Taleporos hosts this podcast which is all about navigating the NDIS. Dr George started podcasting in 2018 so there are lots of podcasts to catch up on. He looks at topics like what to do if you’re not happy with your NDIS plan, how to achieve great outcomes with the NDIS and how the NDIS can do better. Listen to it here.

One in Five

The Melbourne Disability Institute produces the One in Five podcast. They explore some of the complex issues facing people with a disability such as employment, housing, supporting families and the law. They speak to a range of experts who work in the space and many people with a disability. With one in five people living with a disability, they aim to talk about ways everyone can improve the lives of people with a disability. Listen to it here

Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability Podcast: Research to practice

Australasian’s peak body in intellectual disability were early to the podcast phase, creating their first one in 2016. They aim to promote research to inform and influence good practise and policy for people with intellectual disabilities. In their podcast episodes, they speak to researchers about topics as diverse as living in group homes, LBGTQIA+ adults who have intellectual disabilities, political citizenship, good health and more. Listen to it here.

Do you have any other podcast recommendations?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What is support work and how do you get into it?

Would you make a good disability support worker?

Have you ever thought about getting into disability support work? Here we answer your questions about what disability support work is and how you get into it.

What is a disability support worker?

A support worker or carer helps people with physical or intellectual disabilities in their day-to-day tasks. They have a wide range of tasks and responsibilities and their work can be very varied.

Support workers can help people with personal care such a showering, getting dressed, feeding and taking medication. They can provide practical help with transport, daily chores and making food. They can also provide vital social interaction and take clients out into the community to increase social enrichment and enjoyment.

Carers also provide much-needed emotional support to people with disabilities. They spend a lot of time with their clients, so often become like a close friend or trusted support. Support workers form strong bonds with their clients and become a crucial component in their lives.

What kind of person makes a good support worker?

The most important thing about working in care work is making sure you’ve got the right attitude. Are you passionate about helping others? If you answered yes, then you’re likely to be a great support worker.

As you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your clients, it’s important that you’re a people person and be good at building relationships. You need to be a good communicator as you may be helping your client communicate if they find it difficult themselves.

As you’re going to be working with vulnerable people and be welcomed into their homes, you must be very trustworthy. You always need to look after their health and safety and take responsibility for them.

What qualifications do you need for disability care work?

Although it’s not compulsory to have formal qualifications, some providers do need you to have a certificate III in Support Work, such as this TAFE NSW Course. It’s also a helpful way to learn more about the industry and get clear expectations about what it’s going to be like.

You also need to make sure you a police check, a first-aid certificate and a working with children check if you want to work with children. If you want to help clients by providing transport, you’ll need a reliable car and comprehensive insurance.

What extra talents could you bring to the job?

Every carer is different and brings unique perspectives to the lives of their clients. Think about what your interests are, what kind of client you want and what you’d like to share. Do you love movies? The outdoors? Could you play video games or talk sports all afternoon? Do you have any skills or hobbies that you can use to enrich the lives of your clients?

You may be spending a lot of time with your clients, so you want to be matched with people who you’re likely to get along with. You can use your skills to help your clients achieve their goals, whether it’s being more creative or learning something new.

How would being a support worker fit in with your life?

Being a support worker is a great, flexible job that is ideal for people who don’t necessarily want to work 9-5. People with disabilities need support at all hours of the day (and night!). People who are studying (especially nursing, psychology or social work) often find support work is an ideal part-time job to fit in with their course work. It is also a great, flexible role for those with a family or for people who want varied hours.

At Afea, we make sure we find you clients who are close to where you live so you won’t have to travel too far. We also do our best to find clients who you will fit with. It’s better for the clients and the support workers if everyone gets along.

Want to know more about becoming an Afea carer?

NDIS funds can now be used to pay for PPE

The NDIA has announced another update to the Price Guide to offer more flexibility and protection to its participants. From now until September, participants can claim up to $50 from their Core Supports funds to pay for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

NDIS participants in NSW and Victoria who receive an average minimum of one hour per day of face-to-face Daily Living supports may be eligible for the new item.

PPE that may be claimed includes face masks, face shields, and gloves however they may only be used within their face-to-face supports. Hand sanitiser and protective equipment for the use of participants outside of their homes and services are considered to be a personal expense and will not be reimbursed by the NDIS.

What this means for participants

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 breakout, many NDIS participants have put their non-essential services on hold to avoid risk of infection. Even ‘non-essential’ services have an impact on people with a disability. Clients should feel safe getting the supports they’ve previously received.

People who have services on hold may find themselves with surplus funding. Unfortunately, this could result in a reduction in the amount of funds they’re approved for in their next plan.

This PPE funding update not only provides participants with extra protection and reassurance during tough times. It also allows them to receive the supports they need and continue to do so in their next plans.

How to claim PPE expenses

Plan and Agency Managed participants

These participants must buy their PPE from registered NDIS providers, such as: Bright Sky and Confidence Club. Participants will need to give the details of their Plan Manager, or the NDIS Portal to the PPE provider so they can receive payment for the goods.

Self-Managed Participants

Participants with Self-Managed plans can buy PPE from any provider and claim the cost (up to $50) against their Core Funding. The process is the same with any other service or goods being claimed whereby they record the transaction and claim reimbursement from the NDIS Portal themselves.

It is important for Self-Managed participants to ensure they have adequate funding to claim costs against.

For more information about the update, visit the NDIS website here.

Our Supported Independent Living home has a new resident

This month we welcomed our newest resident into our Supported Independent Living home. We marked the occasion with balloons, gifts, cake and a little get together with the client’s Support Coordinator, Afea Care Manager Raju, Afea Carer Annette, and our Supported Independent Living House Manager, Sri.

Celebrating the newest resident of The Oxley Park Supported Independent Living home

What can our newest resident expect on their supported independent journey?

Our new resident has just begun a journey of growth as they learn to live independently with the help of our staff. They have moved into one of our three recently refurbished Oxley Park townhouses. These homes have private backyards, lots of natural light and have open plan living, dining and kitchen areas.

Our main Supported Independent Living Carer, Annette, has been working in the accommodation since it opened. She sees everyone making huge strides and she’s seen big improvements in the residents’ lives.

How are our Independent Living residents supported?

Annette supports our residents in many ways. She helps them get ready in the morning and has been showing them how to cook delicious meals. She teaches the residents how to budget their money and spend wisely when they go on shopping outings (which have become a weekly highlight!)

Supported Independent Living House Manager, Sri sees the progress residents makes each day. He says: “It’s really heart-warming to see our residents’ lives transform for the better. You wouldn’t believe how far they’ve come with the right support and a stable home.”

We hope our new resident will love their supported independent life and will enjoy getting to know their Afea Carers and fellow housemates. Welcome!

Find out more about the benefits of Supported Independent Living here.

Updates to the NDIS Price Guide

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has published the NDIS Price Guide and Support Catalogue for 2020-21. The new Price Guide has been updated as a result of the Fair Work Commission Annual Wage Review 2019‒20. The latest Price Guide, effective from 1 July 2020 and can be accessed here.

In accordance with your Services Agreement, Afea will be charging as per the price limits specified under the amended NDIS Price Guide 2020-21. Your plan funds have been automatically indexed as of 1 July 2020 to offset the annual indexation. An NDIS systems update is expected to occur on 11 July 2020 and new funds balance should reflect on PRODA once updated. There will be no impact to the services you currently receive.

There is also no action required from you to seek a plan review to access additional funds.

The NDIA has removed COVID-19 pricing where a 10% temporary increase was applied in March 2020, which means you will be able to get more service hours in line with your NDIS Plan funding. Other temporary arrangements introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic such as late cancellation notice (from 10 business days’) and its charges have also changed. 

As per the new NDIS Price Guide, clients will be required to give 2 clear business days’ notice of cancellation for supports that is less than 8 hours of continuous duration with an agreed total price of less than $1000, or 5 clear business days’ notice for any other supports.

Whilst the NDIA is recommending 2 or 5 clear business days’ notice of cancellation, Afea will keep our cancellation policy unchanged where you can continue to provide 24 hours’ notice if you wish to cancel a service.

If you have any questions relating to the changes, please feel free to contact our helpful Afea Care Coordinators at 1300 65 11 33 (option 1).

Tips for Independent Living

Moving into a new home is a huge step towards gaining independence. Having a safe and stable home provides a solid foundation for other aspects of life. But living independently can be a little daunting at times, so it helps to have a few routines and strategies in place to stay on top of everything. In honour of our newly refurbished Supported Independent Living Home in Oxley Park, we put together these handy tips for living independently

  1. Build a support network

It is important to have a steady support network before you move out. This might include professional help such as Support Coordinators, Counsellors, Social Workers and Carers, as well as informal support such as friends, family and community groups. Be honest and open with them about what your goals are and how you will go about achieving them. It is ok to lean on this network if you feel you could use some extra help or some advice.

  • Have a mental health plan

Mental health is a buzz term that is thrown around a lot these days. Nevertheless, it is worth having some maintenance strategies to encourage mental and emotional stability. Knowing your triggers and who you can turn to in times of crisis are small steps to take to give yourself the best chance in life. Undertaking small activities that keep you organised and make you happy go a long way in overall mental health whilst. Of course, these strategies will need to go hand in hand with any professional help you are receiving. Keeping a list of contacts and emergency numbers you can call by the phone is a good idea in case you find yourself in need of immediate help.

  • Set achievable goals and check in on them

Before you access Supported Independent Living funding you will need to have a think about what goals you wish to achieve. This, along with your needs will determine the budget for your care plan. Make it work for you by really thinking about what you can achieve and let your Carers and other professionals help you reach these goals.

  • Involve yourself in social or fun activities

Getting involved in local community groups can help keep you active, social and happy. Think about some activities you might be interested and see if there are any groups you can be a part of, such as walking groups, sports teams or even classes. Councils are often a good place to look, and your Support Coordinator or someone in your network may be able to help you access them.

  • Rome wasn’t built in a day

Perhaps most importantly – try not to sweat the small stuff! Focusing your energy on making small improvements can often make more of a difference than trying to first tackle the big things, which have a higher risk of delay or failure. A good place to start is to try to make positive behaviours habits, like learning to prepare simple meals, brushing your teeth twice a day or going for a walk every Saturday morning.

If you want to hear more advice about Supported Independent Living or would like to enquire about our recently refurbished Home in Oxley Park, call us today on 1300 65 11 33.

Updates to transport funding in the NDIS Price Guide

As you’ve probably heard, the guidelines around transport in NDIS plans have once again been updated. Participants now have the ability to use core support funding to cover additional non-labour costs associated with transporting them to and from NDIS funded community-based activities. There is also more flexibility in accessing transport funding in within plans. The changes were brought about in response to feedback from clients and providers asking for a fair and consistent solution to claiming non-labour transport costs to ensure participants can continue to access supports in their community – worry free. In this update, we provide you with an explanation of what has changed and what that means for Afea’s NDIS Clients.

The changes explained

In a nutshell, the NDIA now allows participants to claim the non-labour costs associated with transport from their core support funding. These costs, on top of the Carer’s time, are at a per kilometre rate, and are charged separately to the service they are receiving. Prior to this, the participant was required to claim funds from their transport funding and/or contribute out of their own pocket. This offered little flexibility to participants as the transport budget is determined at the beginning of a plan and is often a limited amount.

The other significant change is that participants need not contribute themselves for other costs relating to transportation, such as road tolls, parking and transport fares.

The NDIA has laid out a guide for what providers can charge their participants for costs associated with travel. Now, providers can claim:

  • A mileage cost per kilometre that is agreed upon by the provider and participant
  • Up to the full amount for other costs (including road tolls, parking and public transport fares)

What it means for participants

NDIS participants and their providers must agree on the amount that is to be charged. This is in the form of the service agreement which participants would have signed at the beginning of their plan (or review). In other words, the participant and provider must agree to have the amount deducted from core supports using the correct support item.

Participants and their providers will need to consider the costs of transportation when creating a budget and schedule so as not to run out of funds too early.

And for Afea’s NDIS Clients?

Afea Clients will be charged at $1.10 per kilometre (GST exempt) for transport in their scheduled services. Our transportation is often as a part of another service by a Carer. In which case, the travel costs will be charged from core supports under the correct line item as part of the supports to help the client participate more in the community.

If you have any transport or other NDIS-related questions, reach out to our experts now! 1300 65 11 33

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Disability Accommodation Vacancies!

We are looking for housemates for this recently refurbished home, perfect for NDIS participants who have low to standard needs with a diagnosed mental health disorder or intellectual disability.

Supported Independent Living, Short Term Accommodation and Medium Term Accommodation are all available in this beautiful home.

About the home

  • Secure garden
  • New fridge and TV
  • Furnished shared living spaces
  • Central location in Western Sydney
  • Garage with internal access to house
  • Accessible by bus and close to train stations
  • Active daily assistance and overnight assistance
  • Assistance from property manager 5 days a week

We will offer 24/7 support from our qualified and experienced Afea Carers to help residents maintain independence

Contact us today for more information 1300 65 11 33