Helping providers to help participants
In this edition:
- Client Interview: Conscious Healthcare SA
- Amended NDIS Practice Standards
- Tips And Tricks To Prepare For Ndis Audits – Preparatory Audits
- Upcoming Training Opportunities
CLIENT INTERVIEW: CONSCIOUS HEALTHCARE SA
Recently EFA worked in partnership with Conscious Healthcare SA (CHSA) to deliver a number of supports including training, review of their NDIS self-assessment, development of policies and procedures, and conducting a preparatory audit. EFA and CHSA worked together to achieve mutual success from August 2021 to January 2022.
Nina McMahon, GM Operations at CHSA, and I caught up yesterday to discuss their experiences with EFA.
In Nina’s words:
Based in the Glenelg area in Adelaide, we provide services in the greater metropolitan area from Gawler in the north to Victor Harbour in the south as well as the Adelaide hills and the mid north.
Formerly we were known as Trevor Keen Health Services. We started off as a solo business with around 20 participants and 1 ½ practitioners; and we now have 30 people working together, predominantly practitioners, and have provided support, to date, for more than 700 people. We provide quality allied health services; including OT, physio, dietetic services, developmental education and social work and are currently extending our suite of services to include a range of additional services including positive behaviour support.
We recognise how much of an honour it is to be invited into someone’s home and we feel it enhances flexibility, freedom, choice and engagement. We aim to make a real difference and we put heart into everything we do.
I asked Nina; “With all the options available to you these days why did you choose EFA? ”Basically, it was one phone call according to Nina. Nina said she called her friend, the very experienced Wendy Warren CEO of EBL Disability Services who recommended Sharon Floyd and her team at EFA. Nina then spoke with Sharon and that clinched the deal. At that first conversation Nina received some invaluable advice upfront. Nina said that Sharon has been very professional and, throughout the process, was a wealth of valuable information regarding NDIS standards and audit requirements and is indeed wonderful to work with.
CHSA is adding an additional 21 registration groups to its scope and EFA assisted in the preparation for expansion into each of those additional registration areas. Patty Wassenaar from EFA conducted a Preparatory Audit with the Conscious Healthcare team and participants in January 2022. Nina said that Patty was “absolutely marvellous” in the preparatory audit. Her friendly, articulate manner was balanced with a very professional and concentrated approach. Patty was thorough and set the scene for a practice run that was just like the “real deal”.
Nina said, “Patty’s engagement with us was consistent, clear, systematic and precise. Her ability to review evidence was accurate, detailed and very fast. Patty’s descriptive response to each identified piece of reviewed evidence was focused.” Furthermore, Patty delivered the Report Findings to CHSA within 24 hours. The preparatory piece, Nina reflected, gave CHSA an opportunity to be in a stronger position and more ready to navigate the actual NDIS audit process in the weeks that followed.
Nina also made special mention in a shout out to Rachael Gratton our admin extraordinaire. Nina said that nothing is ever too much trouble for Rachael. She has been extremely helpful and very easy to talk with. “Rachael is prompt and super friendly.”
Staff attended the Restrictive Practices workshop presented by EFA Associate, Mike Finn. Nina commented that Mike is a great trainer and very personable. What really impressed Nina was the fact that once Mike comprehended that the CHSA team mainly consists of contractors he understood their unique legal position and dynamics and how the gamut of pieces that make up the organisation work cohesively together.
When asked what was of particular note in the overall experience with EFA Nina stated “Communication!” Nina said that it was; “Right on the button!” CHSA always received a full and clear answer from EFA, more than what was expected, consistently following up to check in. Nina glowingly said that EFA are “really great operators.” In fact, Nina said; “If EFA says something we believe it. They are top notch!” Nina told me that they now consider the personnel of EFA to be their mates and they promote EFA at every opportunity.
Nina said, “The nature of auditing can be ‘stiff’ but that wasn’t our experience with EFA”.
Nina’s pride was evident when she spoke about CHSA’s aim to impact the industry by sharing the wealth of knowledge they have to as many people as possible. They aim to become a training ground and a knowledge base that they offer across the NDIS industry. One way CHSA do this is by offering free resources via their website (https://www.
Nina said; “We want to positively impact the industry. Be forward thinking and create ripples!”
Nina exclaims that they would certainly recommend Engels Floyd to our mates. “We look forward to engaging with EFA in the future and attending some of their programs,” Nina stated in the evaluation, “I have felt very supported throughout the process and the preparatory audit was an excellent action to take. I highly recommend, any organisation preparing for NDIS registration to consult with Sharon, Jen and their team. This way we can all bring a higher level of quality to the industry.”
According to Nina; “The service that EFA provides is a bit of gold!” Now that is something we can all be proud of as we at EFA do our best to go beyond the normal expectations and to deliver a high-quality service. Nina you are right on the button too.
AMENDED NDIS PRACTICE STANDARDS
ARE YOU READY?
Are you aware of the significant changes made to the NDIS Practice Standards on 15 November 2021 including three new Practice Standards:
- Mealtime Management
- Dysphagia Management
- Emergency and Disaster Management
In addition to that there are edits to existing Quality Indicators and NEW Quality Indicators for:
- The Core Module
- Module 3: Early childhood supports
- Verification Module
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT YOU?
At your next upcoming audit all providers undergoing certification audits will be assessed against these requirements, whether it be midterm or re-certification.
Importantly, note that quality and safety in mealtime support, and COVID-19 preparedness and response have been identified as Compliance and Enforcement priorities for 2021-22 by the NDIS Commission.
Providers will need to make sure that their current policies, procedures and practices reflect these requirements.
For example; auditors will be looking for evidence about how:
- Governing body personnel develop and review emergency and disaster management plans, in consultation with participants and their support networks.
- All workers are trained in implementation of these plans, plus how they are trained in infection prevention, and use of PPE.
- Individual risk assessments include the extent to which the health and safety of participants would be affected in the event those services were disrupted.
EFA always strives to remain ahead of NDIS updates and we do have our fingers on the pulse with these recent changes and what is required of providers. Please feel free to contact us if you need EFA support to understand and implement these important requirements.
TIPS AND TRICKS TO PREPARE FOR NDIS AUDITS – PREPARATORY AUDITS
Forward planning and preparation is the key to a successful audit. We certainly don’t encourage providers to see an NDIS audit as just a pass/fail or tick the box approach. It’s all about having in place a commitment to quality and ongoing improvements. With such a commitment the audit is then more than a way of confirming conformance as it also highlights areas for improvement. Non-conformances aren’t the end of the world! We know that providers do want to minimise them wherever possible however. Having a system of Internal Audits in place is a great way to prepare for NDIS external audits (see above) so that non-conformances are pinpointed prior to the “Real Deal!”
Another option you may have not yet considered is to have a ‘Preparatory Audit’. EFA conducts numerous ‘Preparatory Audits’ for our clients. These are a valuable way to give providers a ‘trial run’ of an external NDIS audit. As part of that process we will chat to a sample of a provider’s staff, participants, governing body, and key personnel. We will review your systems to verify records of how providers are implementing their policies and procedures. Providers will be left with a comprehensive audit report with findings as well as practical recommendations to address any areas requiring corrective action.
The feature article in this newsletter is from one of our recent clients, Conscious Healthcare SA who claimed immense value in the Preparatory Audit process that EFA supported them with. In fact they gave us 5 Stars!
While all care has been taken in the preparation of this material, no responsibility is accepted by Engels Floyd & Associates for any errors, omissions or inaccuracies. The material provided in this resource has been prepared to provide general information only. It is not intended to be relied upon or be a substitute for legal or other appropriate professional advice. Engels Floyd & Associates accept no responsibility for any known or unknown consequences that may result from reliance on any information provided in this newsletter, or any external websites referred to.