Meet a LiveBig Team Member – Gabriel Wong (QLD)

Gabriel is a passionate and motivated occupational therapist, with a particular focus on community rehabilitation and aged care. His extensive experience includes working in various clinical settings, such as outpatient hand therapy at QEII hospital, acute care at PA hospital, and community mental health at RBWH. He also has a special interest in assistive technology and home modifications, recognising the impact they can have on improving individuals’ quality of life.

At LiveBig, we believe in providing excellent care that is centered around the individual. Gabriel shares this value and strives to implement client-centered therapy through a holistic multidisciplinary approach and evidence-based practice. His expertise includes the assessment and prescription of assistive equipment, falls prevention strategies, pain management, work simplification, energy conservation, cognitive assessment, upper limb rehabilitation, hand therapy, and functional capacity assessment.

With Gabriel’s diverse experience and skills, he has worked with a wide range of clients across the lifespan in the NDIS sector. This includes individuals with various mental health conditions, neurological disorders, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and brain injuries.

Prior to joining LiveBig, Gabriel has worked with reputable multidisciplinary healthcare services and NDIS providers. His previous roles have further honed his abilities and enriched his understanding of providing comprehensive care to individuals with diverse needs.

The addition of Gabriel to our QLD team strengthens our commitment to delivering exceptional support services to the community. We are confident that his expertise and dedication will greatly benefit our clients and contribute to their overall well-being.

If you or someone you know could benefit from Gabriel’s specialised skills and compassionate care, don’t hesitate to reach out to LiveBig. We’re here to simplify the process of accessing support services and to empower individuals to live their lives to the fullest. 

To find out more about LiveBig and the services we provide, contact us today.

If you’re interested in a career with LiveBig, view our careers page.

What the Latest NDIS Report Means For You

The NDIS recently celebrated its 9th birthday by welcoming almost 20,000 new participants in the quarter ending 30 June 2022. The latest National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) quarterly report shows 534,655 people in Australia are receiving individual funding packages for disability-related supports.

That has grown from just 29,719 participants in 2015-2016, after three years of a trial NDIS.

National Disability Insurance Agency acting CEO Dr Lisa Studdert said the scheme has reached a significant milestone. The data demonstrates the NDIA’s progress in working with participants, their support networks, and the disability sector to overcome challenges and support participants across all aspects of their NDIS experience, she said.

“I’m pleased today’s NDIS Quarterly Report shows the NDIS is supporting 534,655 participants,” Dr Studdert said in releasing the quarterly review on 1 August.

“It highlights the important work the NDIA is doing to continuously improve the experience for participants.”

Over the past five years, payments for supports have grown from $2,238 million to $28,661 million. More importantly for individuals, on average payments per participant also increased from $32,300 in 2016-2017 to $55,200 – which is good news for anyone on an NDIS plan.

What’s new?

The report revealed of 19,291 new participants who joined the NDIS in the last quarter of financial year 2021-2022:

  • 44% (8,419) were children, taking the total of NDIS participants younger than 7 to 82,863;
  • 1%, or 1,762 new participants, identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people for a total of 38,846 participants; and
  • 3% (1,792) identified as being from a culturally and linguistically diverse community, taking that total to 49,201 participants.

The report shows participant outcomes have continued to improve under the scheme. More children are now able to enjoy  support for friendships, including at school, while older children report feel a greater sense of choice and control in their lives.

More people with a disability aged 15 and older are also becoming increasingly involved in community activities, learning new things, and becoming a part of their local communities. They also report improved access to health services.

 

Coping with COVID

One of the key elements singled out in the report was the NDIA’s continued work to support the disability sector deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As well as helping facilitate vaccinations and rapid antigen tests, the NDIA supported additional measures to ensure providers could continue to maintain services amid staff disruptions caused by the illness and the need to isolate.

 

Weathering the storm

The report also details how the NDIA helped ensure essential care could continue in the middle of devastating floods in NSW and Queensland.

“The NDIA and partners worked alongside disability support organisations and support workers to provide essential care to participants affected by floods,” Dr Studdert said.

 

Working together

A recent amendment to the NDIS Act enshrined a commitment that “people with a disability are central to the National Disability Insurance Scheme and should be included in a co-design capacity”.

In the June quarter, the NDIA said its Co-design Advisory group continued to meet and provide advice. “The NDIA remains committed to working closely with participants, their families and carers to co-design improvements to the NDIS,” Dr Studdert said. 

 

Other changes

On 1 July 2022, several changes also came into effect including:

  • Updated terminology, including replacing “plan review” with “plan reassessment” to avoid confusion;
  • Introducing plan variations to make it easier and faster for participants to have their plan adjusted in specific situations;
  • Adding protections for participants who want to use a plan manager; and
  • Price limits for supports delivered by disability support workers increased by 9%.

Making a Difference with Behaviour Support

What are Behaviour Support services?

 Behaviour support services can help you address, manage and reduce behaviour (actions) that may harm you, others, or your environment. Behaviour support is registered under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) as Assessment, Recommendation, Therapy And/Or Training (Incl. AT) – Other Therapy.

 

When might I benefit from Behaviour Support?

Behaviour Support may help you if you have complex or unclear needs and need what is called a Functional-Based Assessment. If you need long term or intensive support services, your behaviour support practitioner will help you understand what is available.

Life can be frustrating. No one always gets what they want, gets their own way or always understands why they can’t have what they want. Sometimes, we are asked to change our behaviour. This is often the case when other people expect and want us to behave differently to the way that we do.

 

What is a Behaviour Support practitioner?

A Behaviour Support Practitioner helps people with their behaviour. They can look at why someone is behaving a certain way and develop plans that might involve using less restrictive practices to manage the behaviour. There are four levels of practitioners: core, proficient, advanced and specialist.

A Behaviour Support Practitioner will create an individual plan to address the needs of each person they support. The plan will work toward reducing or removing the need to use regulated restrictive practices.

 

What steps are involved in behaviour support?

A Behaviour Support Practitioner works on a guided plan to help people achieve their NDIS goals. The steps involved are:

 

Goal Setting
  • You can set goals to help you change your behaviour. We support you to focus on improving your behaviour one step at a time. We keep working with you to progress to the next step.
  • We help you to understand why people want you to change your behaviour and what they expect from you. We are on your side to live your best life.

 

Function-Based Assessments
  • Behaviour Assessments help us to better understand who you are and why you use certain behaviours.
  • We complete indirect assessments and review what you’ve tried in the past, what worked and what didn’t work.
  • We complete direct assessments by observing and collecting data for analysis.
  • Support Model Assessments provide recommendations about how your support needs could be addressed in a holistic way across all areas of your life.

 

Behaviour Support Plans
  • Behaviour Support Plans outline the Function(s) of behaviour and outline ways that your support team could intervene to help you improve. They outline proactive and reactive strategies.
  • Proactive strategies are interventions used regularly to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of the target behaviour.
  • Reactive strategies are interventions used after the target behaviour has occurred to help de-escalate a situation more quickly.

 

What behavioural support services does LiveBig offer?

We provide the following services that are either self or plan managed:

  • Early Intervention (0-6) that are either self- managed or plan managed:
  • Therapeutic Service (7+) With Restrictive Practices that are either NDIA managed, Self-Managed or Plan Managed.
  • Therapeutic Service (7+) that are either NDIA managed, Self-Managed or Plan Managed

We offer the same service to everyone. Whether you manage your plan, use a plan manager, or are managed by the NDIA. We also have flexible arrangements to help you get the most out of your NDIS plan. We want to make sure that you make the best decisions for yourself. We will work with you, your family and carers to make sure this happens.

We will support you to establish and achieve your goals.

 

 

A Closer Look at Psychology Services

With LiveBig psychology services, we can support you to feel your best and acknowledge and promote positive behaviour change and good mental health.

 

What are psychology services?

Psychology is the study of the mind and human behaviour and relationship between the two. Registered under Therapeutic Supports in Improved Daily Living Skills, a psychologist will support their client to develop and maintain the skills to live life to the fullest. LiveBig can provide psychology services in the form of assessments, counselling, and training.

 

What do psychologists do?

A psychologist is a trained allied health professional whose specialization is in the field of supporting mental health conditions and human behaviour. Psychologists collaborate closely with clients, their families, and carers to provide a comprehensive assessment of their mental health requirements and identify the best course of action. This can be done online or face to face. If you want to know more about whether telehealth sessions may be suited to your needs, read our article on Why Telehealth May Be the Best Choice for Your NDIS Plan.

 

When would I need to see psychology services?

You will need psychology services as part of your NDIS plan if you have a diagnosed mental health condition or intellectual disability that is negatively impacting areas of your life or is inhibiting your ability to function daily.

We support clients with disability with specific needs in the areas of:

  • Therapy
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Hoarding
  • Dual diagnosis
  • Psychotic disorders such as auditory hallucinations and paranoia

 

I am trying to explain Psychology to my child, how can I break it down?

For children working with a psychologist as part of their NDIS plan, understanding the services they’re receiving is important. For a better understanding on the services you or your loved one is receiving, our psychologist George features in our animated ‘Psychology Explained’ video, looking at who would require this service, and in what ways does it improve your quality of life.

Meet a LiveBig Team Member – Jay, Team Leader

Here’s what Jay had to say: 

I completed my training as a counselling psychologist in New Zealand and soon after moved to Melbourne, Australia. Throughout my career I’ve worked with a range of people from individuals who have experienced mental health concerns to families looking to reach quality of life goals. I enjoy working with clients of all ages, but specifically have an interest in working with those who are going through life-stage developments. I pride myself in being able to adapt and create a safe, non-judgemental, and open reflective space for all my clients. 

Can you outline your experience and background in Psychology?  

Since gaining my registration in New Zealand, I have worked in non-government organisations, where I have worked with individuals who have experienced mental health concerns such as anxiety and depression through to concerns around life stages where social and resilience building skills have been required. I have worked with clients from 5 years old to 65 years old. I pride myself on being culturally sensitive and inclusive, which plays to the strengths of multi-cultural cities like Auckland and Melbourne.  

What inspired you to pursue a career in Psychology? 

I recall wanting to originally be a doctor as I always wanted to help people. But realised quickly that I didn’t hold the disposition required to become a doctor as I tended to faint around the sight of needles and blood. Luckily, when I was 14 years old, I crossed paths with a psychologist. This clinician’s ability to connect and relate to me as a teenager was remarkable, but I recall thinking it wasn’t what she said but how she made me feel that made an impact. Also, knowing that she could help people but without having to engage with the medical disposition was instrumental in my decision to become a psychologist.  

What type of patients are you most interested in working with, in terms of age and type of disability? 

I enjoy working with clients of all ages, but specifically have an interest in individuals who are going through life-stage developments. For example, those leaving primary school and going into secondary school, or individuals leaving secondary school and entering the work force or deciding on university. These pivotal points in each individual’s life can be instrumental in their character development and the way they engage with their environment. I have a special interest in working with individuals who are on the Autism Spectrum, who have an Intellectual disability and non-verbal presentations. However, no two individuals are the same and I find learning alongside each person and presentation is most interesting to me. 

What, in your opinion, are the most important qualities for a Psychologist? 

That’s a hard one! I think the main quality is a desire to understand what your client needs, followed closely by genuineness and authenticity. As each person requires different skills and qualities, it’s imperative to be flexible and know your limits on what you can provide, which is where the authenticity portion is important, as it ensures you’re doing your best to support your clients with what you have.  

How would you define a successful Psychologist? 

I would define a successful psychologist in two stages the initial from a clinical perspective and the consequential success of the clinician on the client’s life. The initial success from a clinical perspective would be a psychologist being able to hold their authentic-self alongside their therapeutic engagement with client. The latter success in my opinion is the mark of a successful psychologist, which would be that a client is able to live their fullest life, with no knowledge that the clinician was ever there. 

Supporting people with disability through the holidays

We spoke to George, a psychologist on the LiveBig team, about the challenges people with disability and their carers face over the holiday period, and some helpful strategies and tools to make the most out of Christmas.  

What are some challenges faced by people with disability and their carers in the holiday season?

The holiday season can create a variety of stressors for people with disability, and those that take care of them. Some challenges that must be acknowledged are:

Feeling more isolated

With businesses closing and not having regular appointments with their specialists, people with disability can feel more isolated during this time. In addition, friends and family who regularly check in may be busier, leading to negative emotions such as depression if someone is feeling more alone than their peers who are enjoying the festive season.

A new challenge this year has been COVID-19. Through the lockdowns and border closures, there are certain parts of Australia and the world that we cannot access, leading to loneliness during the festive season.

Travel planning

For carers or individuals with a disability, especially those with a physical disability, booking accommodation and making travel arrangements is especially stressful.

Heightened anxiety

Busy shopping centres, heightened foot traffic, and overcrowding are a variety of reasons why an individual with a disability can become increasingly anxious in the holiday season.

Pressure on carers

For the carers of people with disability, it’s a difficult time to manage expectations and emotions while preparing for their own holiday period. It is important to take these individuals into consideration, as there are less resources available and more pressure to ensure their dependants needs are met.

What are some strategies to help clients and carers manage this period?

There are a couple of key strategies that carers and people with disability can put in place to manage the expectations and needs of an individual with disability.

For carers, be mindful of your own mental health and watch for burnout. Everyone is different and reacts differently, so it’s important to identify the feelings leading up to burning out to look after your own health and reacting to these emotions by destressing. Help is always at hand, and it’s important for you to have fun and relax during this festive season. Here are a couple strategies to utilise:

Plan ahead

Ensuring that any holiday plans are thoroughly planned ahead is a great action plan when managing accommodation, travel, and the feelings of anxiety. For example, when organising transport, its important to take into consideration the accessibility requirements needed for the person with a disability, and to prebook modes of transportation such as taxi’s. Also, in seeking out accommodation, access ability and location within vicinity of activities and transport to parking must be considered. By planning ahead, you can research these elements, and when the day comes to travel, you can keep focused on the individual with a disability and manage emotions such as feeling overwhelmed.  

Safety plan

A safety plan should be made in case of any issues that could potentially occur, which is likely to happen when travel is involved. An idea could be to have a contact card or book made for the carer and person with disability to hold each other’s phone numbers and booked addresses if one were to lose the other or in the case of an emergency. For the carer, this may involve equipping the person with disability with food and water that is easily accessed.

For people with a disability, make sure you have some fun this holiday season. There are many ways to participate in the Christmas festivities. Have a great time by making time to:

Keep in touch with friends and family

To manage negative emotions or feelings of isolation, making regular plans to see family and friends is key. Reach out to trusted friends and family that you can contact easily and make plans on a regular basis that you can look forward to. This could be a simple get together with friends, or trying out a new activity with a family member, but the important aspect is engaging with people during this time.

A reminder to be COVID safe and mindful of social distancing during this period. If you are unable to see friends and family face-to-face over this period, organising regular phone or video calls and planning virtual activities is a great way to engage.

Practicing healthy habits

Creating a routine that incorporates healthy aspects, such as regular exercise, practicing mindfulness or eating something healthy, can help keep spirits high. Another great way to stay engaged and happy in the holiday period is to create your own celebrations and traditions over the holiday period. Why not cook a festive meal, create a decoration, or purchase an advent calendar?

Although safety and attending to the needs of the individual with a disability is paramount, it’s also important to participate in this festive season and have fun! Christmas may look different this year because of Covid-19, but utilising advice and strategies is a way to make Christmas more enjoyable.

LiveBig would like to wish our clients and their friends and family a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. See you in 2021!

LiveBig Customer Experience Survey – Results

We also love feedback as it helps us learn about what we do well so we can continue doing it and help us adjust how we operate our services to provide a better service to our clients.

Recently, we sent out a survey to our clients, their carers and referrers to gain an understanding of their experiences with LiveBig and we’d like to share the results.

We asked people to rate LiveBig in responsiveness and quality and we are pleased to say that overall, we are doing well.   

Highlights

  • 85% of respondents would recommend LiveBig services to others
  • 84% rated us as being very responsive
  • 86% were satisfied with our service quality

Some of the positive responses we received from clients and carers were:

  • “LiveBig providers are very flexible and responsive to disability needs.”
  • “I was so impressed with how efficient and thorough the OT was that handled my request.”
  • “You are the only provider that got back to me.”
  • “Clear, concise and immediate.”
  • “LiveBig’s service quality is very satisfying, the workers are very skilled, they have many good qualities.”

We also received feedback on areas for improvement, which we always welcome, as it helps us to service our clients better. We will work through the suggestions and bring more information to you in the future on what we have done to improve our service and processes.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey as we know how busy you are! Please know that you do not have to wait until the next survey to tell us what you think about our services. Simply drop us feedback via our website, send us an email [email protected] or call 1300 390 222.

NDIS Release Discussion Paper on Support Coordination and Call for Feedback

This paper forms the basis of a review of the support coordination service model. The purpose of the NDIA conducting this review is to start a process to better understand support service design issues and to shape the future of support coordination services to deliver the best outcomes for participants.

The announcement of this review means that the NDIA seeks to review how NDIS participants receive support coordination services, with several questions being asked to participants to effectively review the services.

The key points from the paper are as follows:

  • Developing a better understanding of the Support Coordinator role
    The role of a support coordinator is not always clear to providers, participants, families, support coordinators and even the NDIA itself. The review looks to improve this by clarifying job roles and functions. While support coordination is a different service to plan management, there could be synergies between the two positions that are yet to be explored. The NDIA is interested in better understanding the benefits and risks of more closely aligning these supports and how that might happen.
  • Focus on participant experience
    The feedback from participants to date is that the NDIA must encourage the development of apps, tools and marketplaces that help participants connect and interact with relevant providers. NDIA must also ensure that participants receive support in critical areas such as achieving employment goals, identifying and location-relevant accommodation options and supporting the participant during key life stages.
  • Value for money: Quality of support coordination
    The NDIA is considering how to better align the price of support coordination with participant outcomes and the price of other scheme supports, which implies that the NDIA is exploring a reduction in the price of support coordination. For example, support coordination pricing could be determined (at least in part) based on the progression and achievement of a participant’s specific goals, such as sourcing appropriate accommodation or employment opportunities. 

Here are the current numbers for funding across different age groups and disabilities.

Support coordination by Age Group, as at 30 June 2020

support-coordination-graph-1

 

Support coordination by disability type, as at 30 June 2020

support-coordination-graph-2

The data in shows the highest proportion of participants by disability type that receive funding for support coordination are psychosocial disability (84%), Acquired Brain Injury (76%), other neurological (63%) and stroke (63%). Participants with global developmental delay (10%) and developmental delay (7%) proportionally receive less support coordination funding.

This discussion paper provided a unique insight into the inconsistencies in support coordination services participants are receiving, focusing on the areas that need improvement.

For more information, including how to respond to the paper follow this link: https://www.ndis.gov.au/community/have-your-say/support-coordination.

Meet a LiveBig Team Member – George, Psychologist

george-psychologyCan you outline your experience and background in psychology for us?
I started my provisional psychology internship in developmental psychology and worked in schools as a school counsellor and then moved to support work with adults living with severe mental illnesses. Upon general registration, I worked in private practice as a general psychologist working with families, couples and individuals who presented with a wide range of problems. I relocated overseas for two years to explore my other passions for travel and business, and in the last year have returned to Australia to continue to pursue my background in psychology. One day, I aim to combine my love of business and psychology.

What inspired you to pursue a career in psychology?
I pursued psychology because I could see the impact mental health issues had on people. I have always worked with the most vulnerable people and being a psychologist allows me to help those in need with problems that they might not necessarily know how to deal with or resolve on their own. I find enjoyment in helping people to articulate their story, guiding people on their road to recovery and being able to celebrate every small achievement towards their goals! My passion is seeing positive outcomes, Improved wellbeing of clients and making good friends and experiences along the way.

What, in your opinion, is the most important quality for a psychologist?
Empathy. I believe one of the most important qualities is to really put yourself in someone else’s shoes. To spend that time to get to know who they are and why they think that way and behave that way helps a psychologist to understand the reasons behind their actions.

Which are the most common disorders you have treated, and how have you approached these?
Anxiety and emotional difficulties. Each person is different and often require an eclectic approach, so no session is ever the same. However, all sessions use an evidence-based approach to ensure that therapies are as effective as possible.

How would you define a successful clinical psychologist?
A successful clinical psychologist is all of the following:

  • Flexible and adaptive
  • Knowledgeable yet humble
  • Allows the client to create their own story and ensures that the client feels understood
  • Challenges any blind spots and negative thought patterns while allowing the client to discover these and make their own decisions on how to better themselves

Has Coronavirus (COVID-19) changed the way you deliver your services, and what challenges have arisen?
Coronavirus has impacted the conventional face-to-face psychology service and this presents as a challenge because client sessions are now conducted predominantly through telehealth, which can alter the level of engagement. However, it is also a positive as I can now work with people from all around the country, reducing travel time and costs for the customer.

Have you noticed any positives in your patients in the transition to telehealth during Coronavirus?
I notice that some of my clients prefer telehealth as it allows them to attend our sessions from the comfort of their own homes. It also makes some people feel more comfortable as they don’t have to be in the physical presence of another person, which can be anxiety-provoking to some.

Would you like to learn more about LiveBig psychology services? Contact us online or phone 1300 390 222.

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