This Practice Standard aims to ensure that NDIS participants are able to access supports that appropriately meet their needs, goals and preferences (NDIS 2020).
Access to Supports Quality Indicators
NDIS providers must meet the following quality indicators:
Clearly Defined and Documented Supports
Providers must ensure that the following key information is clearly defined and documented:
The services that are available
Any criteria for accessing these services
Any costs that are involved in accessing these services.
This information must be provided to participants before they sign a service agreement with the provider (NDS 2020). Furthermore, it is crucial that this information is delivered in a way that the participant is able to understand, taking into account:
The participant’s preferred language
The participant’s preferred method of communication
The participant’s preferred format of communication
Terms that the participant is most likely to understand.
(NDIS 2020; WAAMH 2021)
Examples of how to clearly define and document supports include:
Using wording in access/eligibility policies that does not exclude potential participants
Establishing relationships with other providers so that participants can be referred to more appropriate services for their needs if required
Publishing information about eligibility, intake processes and costs on the organisation’s website or in brochures
Reasonable Adjustments to the Support Delivery Environment
Providers are expected to make and monitor reasonable adjustments to their support delivery environment in order to ensure that it is fit for purpose and responsive to the needs of participants (WAAMH 2021). These adjustments should support participants’:
Quality of life
Furthermore, these adjustments should be continuously monitored in order to ensure that they are meeting their required purposes (WAAMH 2021).
Aspects of the support delivery environment that may require consideration include:
Consider obtaining feedback from participants related to how the service delivery environment could be adjusted to better suit their needs (WAAMH 2021).
Withdrawal of Supports
Participants should be appropriately informed about the circumstances under which supports may be stopped or withdrawn (WAAMH 2021).
This quality indicator is underpinned by the concept of dignity of risk; participants should be afforded the right to undertake reasonable risks, and all NDIS participants should have their rights to autonomy and self-determination respected (WAAMH 2021; Lifestyle Centred Services 2020).
In some cases, participants might make choices that the provider believes are too risky to support. Despite this, providers should not deny access to required supports just because they are deemed ‘too risky’ (NDS 2020).
Maintaining an appropriate balance between dignity of risk and duty of care is essential.
In order to ensure the dignity of risk, providers should:
Train and educate staff on how to ensure dignity of risk while upholding their duty of care
Acknowledge that participants are experts in their own lives and work alongside them
Consider a gradual approach to withdrawing services rather than doing so suddenly (e.g. implementing a warning or traffic light system). This provides participants with the ability to exercise control and choice within a defined area
Establish a code of conduct
Develop policies and procedures related to supported decision-making and risk enablement.
(WAAMH 2021; NDS 2020)
While supports should not be withdrawn solely based upon risks taken by participants, the reasons for which they might be stopped should be clearly defined and understood by participants. Examples for situations in which supports might be discontinued include:>
Failure by participants to adhere to the terms of their service agreement
Failure by participants to adhere to the provider’s policies and procedures
Failure by participants to communicate and provide information about changes to their care needs
Failure to adhere to workplace health and safety requirements
Communication issues between the participant and provider
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