Over the past 8 years, the number of participants benefiting from NDIS supports has grown exponentially. However, the rise of NDIS participants is not necessarily mirrored when it comes to service providers. Which means sometimes there are not enough service providers to go around. This can lead to participants being put on waitlists and not being able to access the supports they need when they need them. So, what can you do?
Finding the right provider for your needs
Before getting into provider waitlists, it’s important to know how to find the right provider to suit your needs. After all, you don’t want to be put on a waitlist only to discover that the provider isn’t right for you.
When it comes to finding a provider, you should consider what your goals are, and what types of supports and services can help you achieve those goals with your allocated NDIS funding.
There are three main steps for finding the right provider:
Step #1: Research
This is such an important step because it helps you to have a greater understanding of the types of providers available and the services they can offer. If researching providers is something you need assistance with, your support coordinator, local area coordinator (LAC), plan manager disability advocate, carer or family and friends may be able to assist you. There are provider data bases and Facebook groups you can also use to help find providers in your area.
Step #2: Narrow it down
Once you have a list of providers who may be able to help you, try to narrow down the list to your top three (or another number of your preference). This should be based on whether the services they provide are in line with your needs and your funding, as well as proximity to you. For example: are you able to drive, take the bus or use another form of transport easily to appointments, or do they offer home visits?
Step #3: Reach out to providers
Once you’ve decided on your top provider options, it’s time to reach out to them. Typically, you can contact providers online, via email or by phone to organise an appointment.
What can I do if they put me on a waitlist?
If one or all your provider options put you on a waitlist, that can be disheartening. If only some of your options put you on a waitlist and some don’t then it may be worth considering going with one of the provider options that is available when you need them.
If a provider puts you on a waitlist, you should ask:
How long will it be before I can get an appointment?
How long will the wait time be in-between appointments?
Can I remove you name from the waitlist later if need be?
Can I work with other providers while I wait?
Do I need to contact the provider about any changes with my position on the waitlist or will the reach out to me?
How much notice will I be given if an appointment becomes available?
Are there any therapy assistants* available that could provide some supports?
*Therapy assistants are in training however they do need to work under the supervision of a skilled therapist so this could be an option that could get you an appointment sooner if need be.
If you are put on a waitlist, it’s important to let your plan manager (that’s us!) know so we can keep track of your funding.
What to do when you’ve secured an appointment
Once you have secured your initial appointment, there are some key questions you should ask yourself in preparation:
How frequent do you need their support, and will your NDIS funding cover your needs?
Which day(s) of the week you would like support and what time(s) of day work best (i.e., morning, middle of the day, afternoon etc.)?
You should check if your provider can offer the support you need and when those supports can commence before making a final decision as to whether this provider is the right provider for your needs.
Read more about the benefits of working with an independent, professional Plan Manager. Alternatively, contact our friendly team on 1300 322 273 or firstname.lastname@example.org.