ndis Archives - Afea Care Services

From STEPtember and beyond: How we care for our complex needs clients

This month, many of us Afeans are doing the STEPtember challenge to raise funds for people with cerebral palsy. We’re dutifully taking 10,000 steps every day for 30 days. We hope the money we raise will go towards vital support like customising a wheelchair for a child or even help fund research to better understand the genetic causes of cerebral palsy.

STEPtember for Cerebral Palsy

For many of us, supporting people through complex care needs is not something we do just in September. At Afea, we work every day to provide care and support for some of our beautiful clients who live with a variety of conditions, like cerebral palsy.

Jesse is one of these Afeans. He has worked at Afea for three years, mainly as a Care Coordinator. Here he explains what he does in his role to facilitate care for Michael, one of our clients with cerebral palsy. He explains in his words

It’s important to listen

I’ve been a Care Coordinator for Michael for a few years. During that time, I’ve built a great rapport with him and his wife Janet.

Michael is almost non-verbal, although when I listen carefully, I can understand what he is saying. I think it’s important to take the time to listen to our clients with complex needs.

I think you should always do your best to understand what they’re communicating.

The nature of Michael’s disability limits his capacity to lead a normal life. Because of that, I understand how vulnerable he is. It’s so important to find him the right supports to help him achieve his goals.

For Michael, his primary goal is to have a meaningful life with dignity. He has 24 hour supports to help him with everything from showering and daily needs, cooking and cleaning and someone there overnight to make sure he stays safe and secure.

Finding specialist carers for someone with complex care needs

For people with physical disabilities like Michael, it’s important you find the right carers. In my role as Care Coordinator, I had to make sure every person who cared for him had the right training.

They need to have completed hoist training so they can move Michael out of his bed or chair and transfer him into other rooms.

They need experience with manual handling and using a pelican belt.

We also sometimes use our Registered Nurses for training due to some specific complex care needs.

It’s also important to have Support Workers who have plenty of experience. Some people may have done some training in an aged care facility, but it’s different working in NDIS because the work is so broad, dependent on needs.

Michael was in hospital last year after having surgery on his neck. After the surgery Michael had two Support Workers with him while he was there providing personal care, feeding him and giving him social support.

An occupational therapist also trained them to massage his neck and other areas where he had difficulties, like his hips. This helped him recover better after his surgery.

An ongoing relationship with Michael

I have to admit that it’s sometimes emotional work. I‘ve built a rapport with Michael and I see what he goes through. I can only do my best to facilitate his needs to help him live a meaningful life.

Recently, Michael had an issue with his wheelchair. There were a few issues with getting a repairer before his OT assessment. So, I went over in my own time and fixed his wheelchair. He appreciated that.

I wish I could do more to help him, although I visit when I can. I’ve recently taken on a new role at Afea but lucky for me, I will still be assigned to Michael and Janet, and even have access to a company car to help me get there. I can continue being there every step of the way, as much as I can.”

If you’d like to know more about our complex care support services, get in touch

Esha’s interview on ABC Radio

Founder and CEO of Afea, Esha Oberoi spoke with Nas Campanella on ABC Radio Sydney about the workforce challenges in the support work industry.

After a string of unrewarding jobs that lasted no more than 6 months, Esha Oberoi fell into support work in her early 20s. As Esha puts it, she walked in and had a pulse, therefore was hired. Only on-the-job training, and not much in the way of background checks.

Esha felt a deep connection with her clients, noticing they were feeling the same isolation she had felt through her teenage years due to her depression and anxiety. That’s when she decided to do something about it.

Nas Campanella, Esha Oberoi, Kaitlin Mountain and Jo Berry at ABC studios

Founding a business at 24

Noticing that many of her clients didn’t need full-time care, Esha decided that she would attempt to redefine what care meant, and how it was delivered.

This started not in residential care, but in the home. By educating families to the benefits of home care, Esha was able to keep people in their homes, with their families for longer. All they need is a skilled support worker with whom they have a connection.

Shifting industry standards for support work

The pattern of the industry has always been to hire a support worker, and send them to clients. Esha knew that this wasn’t going to be helpful for anyone, so she decided early on that she would invest heavily in training, and upskilling.

Today our support workers (Afea Carers) have an induction, on-the-job training with their clients, and regular on-site check-ins from our Care Managers.

Challenges with finding support workers

The industry has seen many changes since the role out of the NDIS, which has seen many providers pop up, and a shortage of support workers. Esha wants the community to know about how rewarding this industry is, and how many opportunities can come from it.

She spoke with ABC’s disability affairs reporter Nas Campanella about these challenges, and how we fix it – by telling our stories!


Click here to listen now!

Selfie of Esha, Kaitlin and Jo with headphones on in ABC radio studio

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