1) What services do they provide?
2) Pen down all the services you or your family member requires, such as showering, dressing, medication administration, social access, community access, developing a skill, OT, Physio, counsellor, home modification, cleaner, job etc.
3) Do they offer the services that you are looking for?
4) What are their minimum hours of shift?
5) What are their maximum hours of shift?
6) How do they provide the services?
7) What funding is available?
8) Who will be involved?
9) Will there be a meet & greet session?
10) How to communicate with the company?
11) What is their wait time?
12) What is their best contact number?
13) Which number works after hours?
14) Would anyone be available on call?
15) Can they pick emergency shifts?
16) Where to call if they urgently require support?
17) If you need experienced support workers, please don\’t hesitate to ask if you\’d like to work with someone with experience (specify the background).
18) Suppose you are open to exploring. Always tell your provider. I am open to working with someone who doesn\’t have experience but should have skills such as (specify the skills)
19) Discuss hours of shifts
20) Discuss how kilometres will be charged
21) If you are a plan nominee or a family member: ask if there is any support for the family member, such as helping the family understand the disability and how shifts would work.
22) Support Workers change for many reasons; some are carer switch, not working for a provider, travelling overseas or interstate etc. So if there are any replacement shifts:
a) Will they be covered?
b) Who will cover?
c) Who will do the handover?
d) How will the handover be done?
e) Will there be any meet & greet sessions?
f) What type of transportation do they have?
g) Can the vehicle fit in a wheelchair, walker or any other equipment etc
23) Apart from available information, list down things you are looking for specifically, such as:
a) Working with females or males only.
b) Language barrier Understands specific language & can have a
support person with the same vocabulary.
c) Have particular skills so that the support person can help you increase your functional capacity
d) Known sign language or Braille
And so on
24) Check our company\’s website & reviews and ask for references.
25) If Independent support person: do reference check, experience check, police check, the requirement of certificates, qualification & if they align with government rules & regulations
26) Where to complain or provide feedback?
27) With whom to discuss ongoing needs?
28) Will they be able to provide support during holidays?
29) What happens if there is a cancellation from the company\’s or independent support person\’s side? Will they be able to replace the shift?
30) Read the service agreement.
31) Request to add any additional information.
32) Know their shift cancellations policy.
32 ) Know if you will be charged if you cancel any shift.
33) Notice period.
34) Rates.
35) What things would be included in the service agreement, such as:
a) Responsibility of the support provider, the responsibility of the person receiving the carer
b) Duration of the agreement
c) List of support
d) Cost
e) Dispute resolution process
f) Legal Terms & Conditions
g) Company policy
h) Invoicing information
i) How to request the support
j) How to complain to the governing bodies.
k) How to receive the documents: online, mail
l) Whom to engage?
m) Next to kin
n) Information on their intake process.
36) If the provider provides services at no cost to you or your family
members, such as free online courses, meet-up groups, etc.
37) Request the company or independent support person for one day trial with a support person and check the compatibility before signing the service agreement
38) Check their service agreement cancellation policy
39) Check if the company or independent provider can do the handover & how this will be done.
40) Ask the support provider what information they require from you.
41) Ask the support provider how they will handle all the sensitive information.
42) Discuss how much information they would provide to the support person.
43) Know how they would handle abuse, discrimination & violence, including the use of illegal products.
44) Discuss invoices & how they would be handled.
45) If there is a problem, how does it get solved?
46) Discuss any set-up costs or hidden costs.
47) Discuss the process of switching the support person if unsatisfied with the outcome.
48) Selection of independent support provider:
a) Qualification
b) Experience: Beginner, some experience or advanced
c) Checks & Certificates
d) Able to provide the reference
e) Disability Informed
f) Incorporating family members or guardians into the discussion (if
g) Crisis plan
h) If Allied Health: how they develop a strategic plan to improve functional capacity & behaviour problems when to involve social worker, physio, psychiatrist, and counsellor and that they are informed of human rights. Know their intake process, waiting time, and report writing.
i) Privacy policy
j) Service Agreement
k) Discussion of sensitive information & Intake
l) Able to do shadow shifts
m) Record of expense
n) Commitment to shift & timings
49) If you are staying at disability providers accommodation or residential, then know their:
a) visitor policy
b) Meals
c) Community Access
d) Social access
e) Availability of indoor or outdoor activities
f) Facility of transportation
g) Accessible toilets (if applicable)
h) Canteen
50) Availability of any support to educate & learn about disability
51) How to reach goals where assistive technology and equipment are required, such as wheelchairs, shower chairs, continents aids etc.
52) Explore your service options with them. Always ask if they know a good service provider for other services & investigate on your own. Go for multiple options and do meet & greet & choose.
53) Be clear, transparent, and honest when communicating.

                                                             -Anjali Sahni

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