NDIS Change of Situation

Guest blogger Mary Ingerton, Managing Director at Support Coordination Academy, talks through how to manage a change in a participant’s situation.

The NDIS expects a Support Coordinator to prepare a participant for unexpected events, and to have the skills to plan, prevent, develop strategies, and take steps to manage a crisis.

So, what does this actually mean and how can a Support Coordinator build their skills to manage a crisis situation? Let’s explore this further…

A change could include a life transition stage, like leaving school or moving out of home. A crisis event, however, is different. This is a situation that impacts on a participant’s access to supports, is likely to have a detrimental impact and places the participant at risk of harm.

How to identify changes

When a Support Coordinator first works with a participant, they start to build their relationship and gain an understanding of how a participant chooses to live their life. This includes the people in their life, the supports, and services they receive, where they live, the decisions they make – in effect how they choose to have choice and control over their lives.

Through this understanding, a Support Coordinator is able to recognise when something is not going as well as it should. This is often observed through a pattern of behaviour over a period of time, which is an indicator that a participant could be heading towards a crisis situation, especially if no action is taken to address the situation.

These could include things like:

  • Disengagement from formal services – a participant consistently missing appointments or making excuses around why a support is not working.
  • Unstable living arrangements - the person might be having constant disputes with their neighbours or landlord or are constantly in arrears in their rent.
  • Frequent interactions with mainstream services – e.g. police, healthcare, or justice.
  • Risk factors in informal supports – there could be an over-reliance on ageing carers, exposure to domestic violence or frequent abuse of drugs or alcohol.

How to manage risk

A Support Coordinator needs to maintain a balance between ensuring the safety and well-being of the participant, while respecting the person’s autonomy and right to have choice and control over their supports and services.

Support Coordinators manage this balance, by:

  • Working collaboratively with the participant and their support network to discuss and address concerns, using a person-centred approach to understand the underlying issues and how these challenges create barriers and/or risk for the participant.
  • Identifying appropriate strategies to overcome barriers and reduce the likelihood of a risk occurring, taking the participant’s individual needs and preferences into consideration to ensure their choice and control remains central to all planning and agreed intervention strategies.

NDIS Change of Situation Form

If you have assessed your client’s needs have changed and you need to notify the NDIA, a NDIS Change in Situation form will need to be completed. When completing this form, the NDIS will ask whether a Plan Variation or a Plan Reassessment needs to be completed.

  • Additional funding for support already allocated on their NDIS Plan; or
  • Different funding for support not already allocated on their NDIS Plan.

However, the majority of funding allocated continues to meet the participant needs; and there is enough funding available until the end of the participant’s current NDIS Plan.

A Plan Reassessment is needed when:

  • The funding no longer meets the participant’s support needs due to a significant change in their situation; and
  • The participant requires a full review and reassessment of their disability related needs to assess the ongoing funding required.

When supporting a participant to submit a Change of Situation, a Support Coordinator has to provide evidence to substantiate the recommended supports required, and evidence how they have supported the participant to manage the crisis. This is in addition to the collaborating evidence provided by the participant’s support network.

Support Coordinators supply this evidence by providing a:

  • Risk Assessment and Risk Management Plan, to evidence the nature and level of risk, the mitigation strategies being implemented to reduce the likelihood of the risk occurring, and how the support network are supporting the participant to manage the risk.
  • A Report to document the change in the participant’s situation, the impact, the factors that contribute to a higher level of complexity, associated risks, and the recommended supports required.

The NDIS will then assess whether a Plan Variation or a full Plan Reassessment is required, based on the information provided in the Change of Situation form and attached evidence provided.

There’s a lot to learn about the NDIS and Support Coordination. To help you to build your skills, Endeavour Foundation has partnered with Support Coordination Academy to offer free online professional learning sessions for Support Coordinators.

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