The value of onsite care services in a clustered SDA model

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The Accessible Homes Australia (AHA) team has been working with tenants of its Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) apartments to further refine the concept of its innovative supported housing model, including the 24/7 onsite concierge care service.

AHA offers 17 high physical support, clustered SDA apartments across two Gold Coast locations — East Palm Beach and No. 1 Grant Avenue, Hope Island — each fitted with two-way assistance call and respond systems connecting each tenant to onsite care providers CareMatch Australia (Palm Beach) and Gold Coast Disability Connect (Hope Island).

These two-bedroom, sole-occupancy apartments offer life-changing independent living through accessible and customisable home features; provisioning for assistive technology and automation; and full choice and control over the primary support and care for tenants participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

AHA and the SDA tenants of each property understand the importance of including the onsite concierge care service as part of their support team to ensure the viability of their clustered care model now and into the future.

AHA Managing Director, Tom Ray, says this type of shared care model needs to be supported and embraced by participants of the scheme to increase the likelihood of more sole occupancy outcomes for more Australians living with disability — and less shared housing outcomes for those who don’t choose to live in group homes — being granted by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

“The inclusion of onsite care services as part of a holistic support model respects and supports individual needs, but also helps the NDIA to rationalise the cost of sole occupancy outcomes by being able to provide a common support service,” he says.

“The NDIA has done a great job in providing choice and control in the provision of care to NDIS participants. Our concept of sharing care support within a clustered setting requires participants to make use of the onsite concierge service as a collective choice, which means each instance of shared support must be tailored to suit those who it serves.

“Pooling funding to share onsite care support shows the NDIA this type of sole occupancy, clustered care SDA model not only allows for more independence and privacy for participants — but is also more financially feasible than many traditional shared group home outcomes. That’s why we’ve been working with our tenants to define how this service should work for them, and they have provided key insights, engagement, and design engagement in building a support model most suitable for them.

The 24/7 onsite concierge care service at AHA’s Specialist Disability Accommodation apartment buildings provides flexible support delivery based on the tenants’ individual schedules and needs. This service can be used in addition to any primary supports, giving tenants access to carers who are on-hand for quick, ad hoc, or emergency support needs.

This means that, for the day-to-day, schedulable, and consistent tasks, tenants can use their primary provider of choice to deliver, in the style of drop-in supports you’d access in-home anywhere in the community. Outside of these shift times, tenants can rely on the concierge for anything else they might need assistance with.

“At the end of last year, the NDIA released a specific line item to this end, called “Onsite Shared Supports”, which acts as a standardised, stated and cost-effective funding type in an NDIS plan to support this type of model,” says Tom.

“Tenants use this funding toward the shared support service to ensure its viability in maintaining the provision of around-the-clock care and communication.. “Recent news reports indicate the cost of the NDIS is ballooning above expectations. With the Federal Government possibly considering ways to make the scheme more sustainable, we’re trying to offer an SDA solution that provides support for participants to live in independent homes in a more cost-effective way.

“For too long, housing solutions for people living with a disability were limited and beyond their control. They were pushed into situations that were not of their choosing and not appropriate for their support needs.

“The SDA has given hope to people who have the capability to live independently through sole occupancy outcomes.  AHA’s clustered care model aims to provide independent dwellings while keeping costs low for the government through some level of shared support.”

AHA has supported tenants at each site to form a collective committee per cluster, so they can collaborate and share choice and control over the selection and management of onsite care providers. As tenants at each site are able to vote every 12 months on who their provider should be, a committee is a great way to ensure that tenants are informed and working together on this shared service. This process occurred recently, resulting in the selection of Gold Coast Disability Connect as the new provider at Hope Island, after tenants redefined what they wanted and needed from their secondary on-site support provider and went through a selection process to source the right fit for the job.

AHA Founder and CEO, Perry Cross AM, says the move is to help strengthen the case for the NDIA to deliver more sole occupancy outcomes for SDA participants.

“The SDA scheme is an incredible innovation and, in my eyes, it’s still evolving,” says Perry

“We haven’t quite gotten all the way there — yet — and a lot of the design is still being undertaken. So, there is a need for groups of people requiring this service to get on board and engage, but also take up the opportunity to decide and design what this service should look like for them.

“The beauty of the scheme and the innovation of the scheme is to allow longevity and to provide access to accessible housing for those who need it.”

If you would like to know more information about AHA’s clustered SDA model and how concierge care works, please contact the team at [email protected] or fill in our contact form.

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