NDIS - "Right Now, in Victoria!"
NDIS freedom of choice - rights/entitlement-based services - can occur for some people right now! Why is it not, then? Because the DHS is playing its usual power-over-people games and protecting its bureaucratic empire!
Most parents/families are concerned at the thought of having to place their vulnerable adult family member in a group home, many of which are little more than a staff work-place-hostel, providing little more than minder care, with few transparent outcomes in accordance with defined care policies, standards and values.
With parents unable, at present, to live forever, the need was/is seen to seek an alternative to that which could not/can not be trusted to ensure real, meaningful and consistent quality of life care, and where residents, parents, families are often intimidated for daring to question service level and quality. The answer - "Do it yourself!"
The Federal Government had set an individualised funding benchmark with the ISP - "Futures for Young Adults". This was an attempt to capture market-place driven quality. Although this ISP failed to achieve this, through lack of service providers to give effective competition, it set a new ball rolling.
If funding could be individualised - paid to the service user (the customer), rather than bulk funding paid to the day service provider - "Why not apply similar principles to accommodation support?"
The primary intention of the NDIS process is, naturally, to initially provide relief for those families, on very long waiting lists, still providing 24/7 care for their family member at home - with no hope of some freedom before they depart this world. We feel no one would deny them being first cab off the rank for NDIS funding.
There is a strong second place for those families who, currently, have independent accommodation for their family member, especially those in government, direct care, group homes. Many of these families are burnt-out fighting the bureaucratic system, year after year, for a reasonable quality of life care for their family member - in contrast to basic minder-care.
Some of the concerns parents have...... A lady who has recently placed her daughter in a CRU, asks, "When a resident is sick, do the staff have to take that person to the doctor or do they have to call the parent in to do this?" "When a resident has to go to the dental hospital is the parent expected to try and find a family member to assist?" This parent is nervous of a man handling her daughters personal care, yet is in fear of making waves to question staff allocations.
So many parents/families are in fear of many forms of intimidation if they dare to speak-out about the care level and quality concerns they have. The ODSC rate the number-one reason why people do not complain, as being fear of intimidation.
Yet the DHS, Disability Services, Victoria, is totally unable, as a direct result of its 'reactive' management above house supervisor, to solve the direct care staff lore problems which create and perpetuate the fear and concerns most parents have regarding group homes.
Service level and quality is directly proportional with direct care staff integrity, rather than consistently proportional with proactive management above house supervisor to set, monitor and maintain direct-care staff work-value expectations. Where there is almost total reliance on staff integrity, houses swing dramatically.
Achieving consistent and meaningful proactive management requires a market place culture of the type intended through NDIS ISPs (individualised funding), rather than captive market bulk funding - A rights-based service, in contrast to a charity-based service.
Most of the supported accommodation services (group homes) in Victoria are bulkfunded by the DHS. It's a sort of pseudo-bulk-funding, as each resident has a 'unitcost', considered to be the dollars needed for staff support and administration overheads. Residents pay living expenses - rent, housekeeping and personal expenditure from their DSP.
At no additional cost to government, each resident's 'unit-cost' could be redefined from bulk-funding to "individualised funding"
. This means they would be free to move, as the NDIS principle intends - but, "RIGHT NOW!"
With a further DHS restrictive practice removed, that residents are denied residential tenancy rights as their reasonable human right, the resident group could choose their service provider and write their own care contract.
This early taste of NDIS style freedom of choice, would help to smooth the way for future NDIS ISPs, when federal funding is finally made available.