Accessing care support in AHA’s clustered apartment SDA model

Accessing care support in AHA’s clustered apartment SDA model
Brianna Barry
About the Author
Brianna Barry
General Manager for Customers and Operations

Brianna supports prospective Accessible Homes Australia tenants through their Specialist Disability Accommodation journey, ensures the satisfaction and care of current tenants, and is a point of contact between tenants and the onsite concierge Supported Independent Living service.

How does Accessible Homes Australia’s concierge support service work within the clustered apartment model?

It’s a unique set-up where Specialist Disability Accommodation apartments are peppered within an otherwise residential apartment complex, plus there is an additional unit where a service provider is based to deliver 24-hour support. It’s flexible support delivery that provides customers access to supports based on their individual schedules and needs. 

You can pick out times in your schedule where you’d like your support to be delivered by your chosen primary providers, those direct supports who can provide you with assistance for your daily tasks that are easy to schedule, like cleaning, meal preparation and personal care. Outside of those hours, and around-the-clock, you then have access to the concierge apartment and the staff that are based there for on-call, ad hoc or emergency support. 

They’re based on-site and you can just buzz or call them when you need assistance. They’ll pop up only for the times you need them — after that they head back to their unit. The service is there as a back-up; it’s there for safety and for all the things that are otherwise hard to access, like a second pair of hands should you need two people to assist you with hoisting.  

What features of AHA’s Specialist Disability Accommodation apartments assist in this care model? 

Every single apartment has communication and emergency duress alarm systems wired within it that go directly to the concierge caregivers. Depending on your support needs and how you customise the assisted check-in within your apartment, you could press a button, or you could verbalise a particular command to activate the microphone installed in the rooms and have a two-way conversation with the concierge service about what supports you might need. 

Whether you need a hand with something simple, like getting a glass of water or picking up a remote, or if it’s something serious, like you’ve had a fall or are experiencing pain, the support staff in the concierge unit can triage those requests to ensure the most urgent enquiries get sorted quickly. If it is something that does need a wait time associated with it, they can let you know how long that’s going to be. 

In addition to the two-way communication system going down to the concierge, you have assisted tech and internal communications to allow you to talk with other people that might be accessing your space to provide support. This includes a wall panel that lets you see who’s at the front door of the apartment complex and allows you to give them remote access to the lift and welcome them into your home. 

Does this concierge support model have an impact on care wait times?

Anything you can schedule, anything that is a regular task that happens at a regular time, you allocate to your primary provider of support or a drop-in, home care support service you might already be using right now. Based on your support requirements, all of your one-on-one times are with them, to go into your home and to work with you on your one-on-one tasks, like meal prep or personal care — whatever it might look like for you. Outside of those hours, for any unexpected tasks that need to be delivered, that’s when you access the concierge. They can also provide the second person for a hoist during times where you are getting your one-on-one supports. 

The concierge works with you to quote to the NDIS know how much funding needs to go towards staffing it correctly by having a conversation with every single person that lives in the units. They have a look at the individual schedule of each participant, including the times you might be working with another provider on those one-on-one primary support needs. Based on tasks you may need assistance with or staff members that may be required, they map the whole group and staff the service based on those requirements. Being able to staff based on the needs of the people living there does a great amount to reduce wait times. There may be times when the concierge service is not immediately available but this is communicated to you through the communication systems. 

What are the efficiencies of this model in comparison to the previous Supported Independent Living (SIL) models?

Your supports are spread among more people, meaning it’s a more cost-effective solution for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and for yourself. This care model also solves a common issue for those who need a second staff member to assist with a certain task, for example hoisting or personal care, which can be difficult to try and guess or schedule when you need extra support. It can also be hard to find a staff member to come in for a minimal amount of time — when sometimes you just require 15-minutes of support. Under this model, you have the concierge staff there 24/7 to call upon for that extra set of hands.

What are the advantages of this care model?

This care model allows you to have a lot more space and independence within your own living area, while also having access to backup support should anything unexpected happen. Having the concierge service nearby means you can access supports only for as long as you need them, without needing to fill a three-hour shift for a support staff member who’s come in for a task that only takes 15 minutes. You get peace of mind that you’ve got someone when you need them without feeling like they’re in your home all the time. 

It also gives you the ability to ramp up or ramp down your supports as required. If you’re going through a period with a health condition that may exacerbate symptoms, you have access to more support during those times. And in plan reviews you have the ability to change around how those supports look and maintain control on how those supports that are delivered to you.  

How can I be considered for one of AHA’s SDA apartment buildings?

Reach out to us by emailing [email protected] or filling in this online form. I’m the general manager of customers and operations, and you’ll reach me directly so that I can talk you through exactly what the SDA pathway looks like. 

If you’re looking at the concept in general, start talking to the relevant people in your life, like your support coordinator or local area coordinator, about addressing this in your plan. They can help you update your plan to include a goal to explore your housing options. This means you can receive funding and services to assist you with what you need to navigate what can be quite a multifaceted pathway at times. Then explore what kind physical build you need and what supports you require to live your most safe and independent life.

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