Support Workers are typically hard-working, kind-hearted, patient people.
In fact, most of them have a long list of admirable qualities next to their name. But most of the ones we’ve met aren’t psychic. So a little coaching and communication is required to ensure they understand your needs and can support you best.
Coaching your Support Workers and team is integral to ensuring a successful working relationship that gives you (or your loved one) the best level of care.
Let’s dive into the details…
Ensuring Person-Centred Support
Lots of Support Workers have undergone numerous levels of training and education before and throughout their careers. This forms an important part of their skillset and ensures they are extra qualified for certain tasks. Equally, with a major national shortage of workers, more new Support Workers exist.
Even the most highly-qualified Support Workers need to learn on the job when they start providing their services to a new NDIS Participant client.
Your needs are unique, as is your personality, and your Support Worker needs to create a system of care that’s perfectly suited to you and based on your choices.
This kind of support isn’t a copy-paste approach from a textbook. It allows the person being cared for to lead the situation and make important decisions.
How To Ensure Good Coaching
If possible, guidance for your Support Workers should begin at the very beginning of your support relationship.
This is because giving firm instructions can be easier when you haven’t gotten to know each other too well. When delivered in the beginning, it will feel like training.
If brought up a little later down the track, it is likely to feel like criticism.
Good training from the beginning will ensure good routines and an understanding of boundaries and expectations. So it pays to share your needs early on.
If you have already been with your Support Worker for a while but would like to provide feedback, that’s okay too! You can explain that you have some ideas for making things even better and you play an active role in your care.
Plan Your Big Conversations
It’s a good idea to get clear on what you want before having the conversation. You may wish to ask a family member or friend to help you sort through your ideas.
Tip - The best thing to do is write down some steps that can be made into a PDF (with updates over time) and sent to them via email or printed off.
Setting clear steps around your support needs is particularly important for in-house services or any appointments you have regularly.
Arranging Regular Check-Ins
Once your expectations have been set and you’ve shared your vision for a successful Support Worker relationship, it’s a good idea to set times for check-ins down the track. Letting your Support Workers know you would like to sit down and regularly review how things are going ensures it’s not a surprise later on.
You may wish to do this weekly in the beginning and then less frequently as time goes on, or you may feel monthly chats are more suitable from the very start.
The idea is to make sure you feel in control of the situation and get the best support you possibly can. Regular check-ins provide an opportunity for good two-way communication. It’s a chance to say things you may not otherwise feel inclined to mention and fix little issues before they evolve into something bigger.
Remember The Nature Of Your Relationship
It is important to remember that your Support Workers do not always work for you directly. Often times the provide a service to you and are self-employed.
Knowing this can take the pressure off your support relationship. Your coaching, feedback and requests can be informal and open to change as you see fit.
Take the time early on together to set the tone. You'll be glad you did!