NDIS participants taking control with Better Caring

THE National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is rolling out across Australia, giving rise to a raft of new players who are emerging to help people take advantage of the goals of the scheme — inclusion and the opportunity to live a life they choose.

One such player is Better Caring, a simple online platform that connects NDIS participants directly with local, independent support workers.

The objective is to put the client and the worker at the centre, reducing industry overheads and giving both support workers and consumers more choice over how they work together.

John De Giusti, a support worker offering his services through Better Caring, is taking the platform’s progressive spirit further. Working largely with those who have an intellectual disability or autism, John runs tailored group and individual programs as well as supported travel opportunities. The programs John runs are ultimately tailored to each person’s long-term goals.

“It’s not only about care, it’s about long- term strategies,” he explains.

John’s microbusiness venture is one example, helping participants gain confidence and build small-business skills by delivering boxes of fresh fruit in Sydney. Each Friday, John’s group travels to Paddy’s Market to purchase the fruit wholesale before heading to a commercial kitchen to sort and pack the boxes, ready for distribution to group homes, friends and families.

All proceeds are returned to the group – ultimately, the goal is to build confidence, develop the participants’ ability to network and build relationships and to learn valuable work and small business skills.

In a previous incarnation, John was a transition to work trainer, and is uniquely qualified to run these programs. But it’s not only work that he has on his mind. John also runs Supported Adventure Tours, which takes clients to experience a range of activities in some of the country’s beautiful outdoor destinations, and Heart of Fiji, which provides supported holidays and respite services for parents travelling with family members who require specialist support.

Many of John’s clients use the Better Caring platform to create their own team of paid supports, working with John for specific activities, and other independent support workers to assist with other aspects of their life – from personal care, domestic assistance, social support and more.

Building your own team of paid supports

The Better Caring approach almost sounds obvious but it hasn’t always been this easy. Users can now pick and choose the type of support they want, when they want it and for how long. They can also agree the rates directly with their support worker. And, at an average of just $30 per hour — well below NDIS reference rates — participants can redirect savings elsewhere.

Better Caring also helps clients to bring any existing supports from within their network to the platform – ensuring that they will be covered by insurance, and enabling clients to easily manage their own schedule and pay their range of support workers all through the platform.

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