New website upgrades! What’s new

Scaling Up Your Support Coordination Service for the Pandemic: Top Tips

The NDIA’s decision to allow people to claim Support Coordination from Core is highly welcome, but it will also lead to an increased workload for Support Coordinators. Evie explores her top tips for dealing with increased demand.

By Evie Naufal

Updated 15 Apr 20247 Apr 2020

The NDIA announced last week that Participants can now claim Support Coordination from their Core support budgets. This temporary COVID-19 measure is incredibly welcome. It opens the door for people to supplement their Support Coordination budgets, and for people who don’t have Support Coordination funding to access this much-needed support.

An increase in demand for Support Coordination services will ultimately occur, one which can only be met by new Coordinators entering the workforce. But Support Coordinators now face crises upon crises, with COVID-19 related work layered on top of their existing roles in an environment where most work is now carried out remotely (away from the individual and the team). Undoubtedly, growing your team whilst retaining service quality will be an incredibly important but complex task.

To help you think through the (potentially huge!) scale-up ahead, here are some of our top tips:

Teams

Instead of hiring new (potentially inexperienced) Support Coordinators to work with new clients, how can you structure your Support Coordinators as a team who collaborate on their caseloads? This is also important for existing Coordinators whose clients are increasing their hours of support - while the number of people they support may not have increased, their workload certainly will have.

Can you reallocate your team’s workload to free up your most experienced people to do the highly skilled work whilst creating a role for someone less experienced to support the team and learn on the job? Tasks like maintaining a list of provider capacity and restrictions or chasing up new service agreements could be done by a single person, rather than a whole team of Coordinators.

But don’t take it from me – ask your team, “Which parts of your role can we support you with so you can be freed up to do what you do best?” and look to create supporting roles for recruits who may not yet have the experience to perform the whole role autonomously.

 

Rethink KPIS

The current circumstances call us to evaluate our teams not just by how productive they are, but how well they are supporting themselves and others to keep showing up and performing over time. The following months will be a difficult time financially for many organisations, but try to balance concerns around billable hours with the goal to keep our people healthy and sustainable in their roles.

Consider how you can incentivise Coordinators to role model positive mental health practices or collaborate with others. From our experience, we reckon it’s fair to say the majority of Support Coordinators also have caring and/or parenting responsibilities. Think about how you can reward people who are striking an appropriate balance between their home and work lives (knowing that "appropriate" might not look the same as it did 3 weeks ago).

Training

It’s more important than ever that Support Coordinators have the appropriate training to enable them to support people in this complex environment. You can use remote learning tools like Zoom to onboard recruits or upskill existing team members. There are also many opportunities in virtual collaboration and messaging spaces.

DSC has moved all our Support Coordination 2 Day Intensives online to get newbies up to speed. We have also recently started a Complex Support Coordination online courses for people wanting to take their skills to the next level. But we also have a bunch of free training that will be accessible to everyone – check out DSC & The Growing Space’s recent COVID-19 and Support Coordination webinar, our free Infection Prevention module and the back catalogue of Support Coordination articles in this resource hub.

 

Finally, the most important takeaway of them all: be kind to one another. The NDIA’s decision to put Support Coordination into Core has been rightly applauded throughout the sector. But for Support Coordinators already struggling with their case load, it is a bit of a double edged sword. We are all completely over hearing that these are “unprecedented times”. But Coordinators and Managers alike all need to remember that this is not something anyone was prepared for. There are going to be times when each of us feels completely out of our comfort zone. That is the moment when our team stepping up will be what gets us through.

Authors

Evie Naufal

Explore DSC

Subscribe to the newsletter you’ll actually want to read

Learn from the humans obsessed with Australia’s NDIS. 50,000 readers strong.

Explore DSC Learning