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Personal support

There are many aspects of personal support to consider.

You, a family member or the person you care for can decide to:

Personal support depends on your needs and might include daily support for showering, dressing and eating. It could also be assistance with housework, shopping and cooking. Therapists can coordinate personal support for you through care plans.

Organising your own personal support

If you can identify, arrange and coordinate the services you need yourself, you may still want to request a social worker to offer relevant service information to work towards meeting your goals.

A service provider may be non-profit or a business. You might receive services from a number of service providers. It should always be your decision on what service providers you use.

They can organise the employment and training of people for your daily personal support such as showering, dressing and eating. When you want specific services to reach a particular goal, you can choose a therapist to meet your needs.

Remember that having a disability does not mean that you need to get all the things you need from organisations specialising in disability. You might want to get a lawn mowing service or a cleaning and/or ironing service. If you have your funding managed by a service that specialises in disability services, you can still talk to them about saving money by having more generic services meet some of your needs.

What to look for in a service provider depends on your needs. You might want a service provider who will do everything for you. Or you might want to have a more "hands on" approach and do things for yourself. To find out what different service providers offer, you might ask them some simple questions such as:

  • What do you offer?
  • How will that assist me?
  • How much does the service cost and what will I get?
  • Are there any additional fees?
  • Do you require employees to have training? Or do you offer training?
  • Do you encourage your clients to manage their own rosters?
  • How do you deal with emergency staff shortages?
  • How much of the funding will be used for administration?

Assistance in setting up services

Many people may need initial or occasional guidance in arranging appropriate services. A social worker will meet with you and your carer to discuss your needs and goals so you can jointly decide on the right plan to be put in place. This can happen in the early stages when your plan is first put into action or at times when your needs and goals change.

Ongoing assistance for service provision

A social worker can provide ongoing assistance in contacting and coordinating community services and activities. The social worker can negotiate with, engage and monitor services with you either for certain periods of time or on a continuing basis.
The social worker may also work with other agencies on your behalf if these agencies do not have as much experience in offering services to people with disability.

Setting up a care plan

Man getting care plan

You may need personal support for many different activities. An occupational therapist can set up a care plan for support workers. This may include a pressure care profile if you use a wheelchair or sit or lie for long periods of time.The safest way for transfers, showering, dressing and eating may also be included.

A physiotherapist may also work with you on your care plan taking into account your strength and mobility.

If you have difficulty chewing and swallowing, a speech pathologist can advise on ways of preparing food to suit you and also write a mealtime support plan for use with support workers so they know how you prefer things to be done.

A dietitian can work out a healthy diet that takes into account any health issues you may have such as diabetes.

A physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist can write a plan with you so that a support worker knows how to best work with you so you get and stay fit.

If you are dealing with anxiety or stress and you have complex communication needs, a psychologist, social worker or occupational therapist can write a support profile that you can use to tell people how you want to be supported.