News Archives - Afea Care Services

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.

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).

What’s it like to work from home and home school?

Meet Ammee who is juggling both

There has been a lot of news coverage of the situation many concerned parents find themselves in, or about to be in. However, juggling full-time work and home schooling  children isn’t all bad says Afea Care Coordinator Ammee, who is enjoying the extra time with her family.

“I’ve been working from home for nearly a month, and we work on a roster of one week in the office, one week at home. I feel I am more productive when I work from home, I am more relaxed because I have stopped chanting my daily mantra “Hurry up! Get moving! I need to catch the metro in time!”

I can move freely in the apartment and choose to either work from the dining table, kitchen benchtop or my daughter’s favourite study table. I also get a shoulder massage, which is very rewarding. The best thing about working from home is that I am physically and mentally present for my children during a time when they need to feel a sense of security.

There are some challenges of working from home though, I miss my work family, the laughter and the chit chats! Having to juggle work and being part of the home-schooling journey with my kids is also a challenge. I was never an ‘A’ student during my school days so having to teach my two children at home has been difficult.

I am lucky my children are 10 and 14 so are at an age where they understand the restrictions and are compliant with it. The present situation makes them nervous as well, so they are happy to follow the rules.

Although they are happy to be at home most of the time, they do miss their friends and being outdoors. The only reason they miss school itself is because there is less class work compared to home schooling, and of course, they don’t get allocated chores by me when they’re at school.

The first week very tricky as we were all getting used to the concept. However, my children connect with their friends and keep in contact with their teachers via email to stay on track, this helps me focus on my work.

We now have a routine that we’re starting to settle into, I am up before the kids and I use this peaceful time to meditate. Once the children get up and we all prepare and have breakfast.  After we are ready, I log into my work and the children get on with their online schooling. We break for lunch and enjoy a meal together and catch up on school chats and facetime with my sister (who was in isolation for 14 days). Back to work again till 5pm.

After work, I facetime with my sister in the evening. Some days, the children and I will play basketball on the mini hoop that we have in the apartment or play board games, some evenings we go for a walk, ride a bike/scooter/skateboard, other evenings we exercise our facial muscles by arguing with each other! After dinner is cooked, we eat our meal together, relax in front of the TV and practice the last pose of yoga, Savasana (lying down) for a fair few hours.

Looking after myself is important for my whole family, so I have a few strategies. First and foremost, I stay away from people. I catch up on sleep and allow myself to slow down, which has been a big reward. I have started practicing yoga after a very long time which I am thoroughly loving!

My tips to other parents in my position: embrace each day as it comes, keep affirming, I CAN DO IT and ALL IS WELL! Don’t overly concern yourself with what is going on in the news and the rest of the world, try to focus on your present situation to maintain your sanity!”

We’re all affected in one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without forgetting the tragic loss of life that has resulted, it is a good opportunity for us all to find comfort in the things closest to us. Our families, our friends, the roof over our heads; the time we now have to think about what is truly important in life, and how we can change our world for the better, from the inside out.

How can NDIS and HCP funding help people during COVID-19 lockdown?

The core purpose of both the NDIS and Home Care Packages is to help people achieve their goals and live independently. During a pandemic such as we are experiencing now with COVID-19, where people are restricted to their homes and have limited to no interactions with others, it can be difficult for people to maintain health and quality of life.

The wellbeing of our clientele is just as important as their physical health. That is why we are continuing all current in-home services, as well as revolutionising the way we provide basic supports to our clients. 

We’ve put together some ways of putting funding from NDIS and Home Care Package to use to maintain positive mental and physical health during this time.

Shopping

Buying groceries has been a challenge for everyone during this time due to panic buying. The crowds that have been observed in grocery stores pose a risk to everyone, but especially those in the community who are already vulnerable. Luckily, there are a number of options available to the elderly and people with a disability to get groceries.

Shopping by List

An Afea Carer can take a shopping list created by the client or their family, shop for them, bring the goods back and pack them away. Meal preparation can be added to this service so clients need not worry about making meals themselves. 

Shopping Assistance

Shopping Assistance

This has always been a common service for us, and that hasn’t changed. However, what has is that large supermarkets have dedicated hours for vulnerable people, and we can help clients get there during those times to avoid crowds and have first pick of stock.

Online Shopping Assistance

Our Afea Carers can assist clients to create a log in and order goods online. At this time, Coles and Woolworths have suspended online shopping, but have promised to roll out priority service for the elderly, people with a disability and people in quarantine soon.

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Afea Carers can provide disinfecting services if clients are worried about the virus being brought into their home by visitors. This can be organised as a daily, weekly, fortnightly, or once off service depending on clients’ circumstances. So clients can continue to receive needed services, we can add personal domestic assistance before and after each regular service to take special precautions.

Remote Services

Loneliness will be one of the biggest challenges we will need to overcome as a society in a world where we cannot see others or interact with the community. Afea is about to roll out remote services so clients can remain social, without any risk of infection. Clients and Carers can talk, watch movies or even play games together without being in the same place.

Connection to Support Networks

As a part of a face-to-face service, Afea Carers can help clients learn to use technologies that will allow them to connect with their support networks. This could be family, friends, counsellors or any other allied health professionals.

Exercise

Although there are restrictions on the amount we’re allowed to go out, and the reasons for it, we are still able to leave the house for exercise in groups of two or less. If a client wishes to get some fresh air and stretch their legs, Carers can accompany them for a walk around the neighbourhood, whilst practicing social distancing.

Regular Services

The supports provided by our Carers are vital to the lives of many, therefore we are not stopping any essential services. In particular, supports such as domestic assistance (cleaning), medication assistance, exercise and personal care are vital to the health of many of our clients and will continue.

We have rolled out COVID-19 training, provided extra Personal Protective Equipment, ordered 5,000 more masks, and are asking Carers and clients to communicate if they are unwell before any service.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about any of the above on 1300 65 11 33 (option 2) or hello@afea.com.au.

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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