Two questions formed the basis of the talk show by the strategic unit of Q1 Care   held early this month. Is the welfare of clients being maximised by NDIS service providers? Does service provision in the NDIS space require profit making for NDIS providers or businesses in the sector?

To address the above two questions, let us start by saying that the rational and relevance of service provision should be client focused. In a sense, when clients or their representatives enter into a service agreement, the expectation is to get the best from services they receive. For this reason, it is the responsibility of the service provider to do everything within the ambit of the law to provide the maximum service to the client in such a way that the welfare of the client is not compromised. This means that failing to meet the optimum needs of the clients is a disservice which undermines the integrity of the service provider.

What happens if a service provider does not provide satisfactory services to the client?

Failing to provide professional services that meets the expectation of the client affects not just the client but other service providers. In common language, we say one bad apple affects the others in a lot. So, a bad service provider gives a bad experience to the NDIS clients and this could affect the perception of the client about other providers. Hence, it is really important that service providers really take time to think about their irresponsible actions which may affect all stakeholders in the industry. Once, I met a client who shared an experience of a provider looking for more hours rather than focusing on the needs of the client. Since then, the client had the picture of service providers as money making seekers. This brings in the second question.

Does making money wrong in a NDIS business?

Support services in Australia to help people with disabilities

Let us get it right, that there are costs involved in setting up and operating a NDIS business or any other business. However, it is more important to take a break and ask yourself whether the services you provide are more about the clients or your bank balance. Make no mistake, the bank balance is needed to keep the business going, but the welfare of the client should not be compromised just because the provider seeks to increase their revenue projection. Seeking the welfare of the client is a matter of conscience and obligation which should be at the forefront of all that pertains to the service delivery objective. NDIS service providers, support workers, support coordinators and plan managers are required to have a moment of reflection and think about whether their commitments to NDIS clients are worth writing home about. Let us remember, the NDIS ethical standards require that we provide efficient services to the clients in the best professional manner possible. A way to really achieve an efficient service provision as a service provider is by having a true passion for the clients. Passion for the clients is not something money can buy, it lies within, and this cannot be faked because time unfolds, the true motive of the service provider is revealed. Client-focused vs. Money -focused. Remember, it is counterproductive if you compromise the welfare of the client for money because at the end of the day, your business can just get that far. So, if your motive is to have a sustainable and thriving business it does make sense to prioritise the needs of the client. The clients are human like the providers, and it takes empathy to realise that every effort has to be made to empathise and shed light into the life of clients. One tip to address the inadequate service delivery of the client is through internal monitoring. NDIS service providers should do on the spot check of all their facilities in making sure that there no cracks in the services being offered to the clients. After all, the persons with disabilities need the best just like any other human. Be human and humanise your service delivery, in so doing, you create a great experience for users of your services and thereby improve the quality of life for the clients. Another tip is to make sure that every feedback received from the client should be treated with high importance and should be acted upon. Remember, sometimes there is a conflict of personalities between the client and the support persons. In such cases, it takes excellent conflict management to resolve any sort of misunderstanding such that both parties are happy. Last but not least, as service providers let us never forget that our employees should be looked after because there is a possibility that, the energy they receive from the employer is transferred to the client. Bottom line is, if we treat our employees with dignity, respect and care, the same energy will be transferred to the client. Always remember to treat clients with dignity, care, respect, empathy, and professionalism.

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