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.

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.

When learning is fun, what more could you ask for?

Unfortunately, Lidija lost one of the twins at just ten weeks’ gestation, leaving the family devastated. But she tried to stay positive and focus on keeping healthy for the remaining twin, and the pregnancy progressed as normal until 18 weeks when the family suffered another blow. Lidija was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, admitted to hospital and put on bed rest for the remainder of her pregnancy.

Although Lidija was on bed rest, the remaining twin was born prematurely at 26 weeks and five days’ gestation. The family decided to name their new addition Hannah. Hannah weighed only 584 grams. She was so small and fragile that the nurses were unable to even measure her height. Her skin was see-through like a water bottle. You could also see the details inside her tiny little ears. But Hannah showed her fighting spirit and made it through, despite the odds. Now six years old, she has proven to be a fighter ever since.

From there, the family’s lives changed completely. Hannah progressed well through her toddler years with the help of the outpatients’ program from the hospital she was born at, but as she approached the three-year mark, the support that the family was receiving from the hospital suddenly dropped off.

Hannah had never been diagnosed with a disability, she wasn’t as able to perform certain tasks at the level of peers of the same age. She was high functioning in front of outsiders and specialists, performing tests and tasks with ease. But it became apparent to Lidija in their quiet moments together and when things became too much that Hannah would often crumble. Lidija suspected that Hannah had been trying so hard to over-perform during sessions with specialists that she would burn out, leading her to come home and fall apart. With help, Hannah had been progressing so well. But without it, she was regressing, and Lidija became concerned about her ability to keep up with her peers, her social skills and her ability to cope psychologically and in everyday life.

The family were going through a stressful time, and it got to a point where things started to affect Lidija and Ben’s marriage and their finances. Lidija knew then that she needed to take action.

She started to investigate how they could obtain NDIS funding support and made an application through Hannah’s pediatrician. Eighteen months later, having not heard anything, Lidija followed up with the service provider and was advised that they had accidentally disposed of the application as it had been filed through her pediatrician rather than directly by herself. So she applied again, but after the application was misplaced for a second time, Lidija decided on a new course of action.

For six months, Lidija searched for another provider, using all resources provided to her by the NDIS, with no luck. Until she received a recommendation to contact LiveBig, which she did, and she has never looked back. Lidija feels that LiveBig’s services were a perfect fit for Hannah, making life much easier for the whole family. She is so excited before every appointment she has with LiveBig therapy specialists Jessica Suh (Occupational Therapist) and Cheryl Prasad (Speech Pathologist). After each appointment, she happily gives her mother a comprehensive rundown of everything she learned with Jessica and Cheryl.

According to Lidija, “Hannah responds so well because Jessica and Cheryl are gifted specialists who have the resources, knowledge and passion for helping clients. They know how to communicate with her properly. When learning is fun, you can’t ask for more. LiveBig, well done and thank you. I am delighted that we have connected and can see the differences in Hannah. Parents value you, appreciate your hard work and understand that it takes a team.”

A chat with Cheryl: LiveBig’s Speech Pathologist

At LiveBig, we are also still learning. At first, we were still navigating the “new normal”. We were unsure of the future and how this would affect our valued clients. But surprisingly, we have realised that meeting virtually has had many benefits for all.

LiveBig’s speech pathologist Cheryl has found the following benefits:

  • Not commuting = more time to service clients: Cheryl always loved visiting clients’ homes, but saving time on the commute means that Cheryl can serve more people. Previously, LiveBig had a waiting list for speech pathology services and we still do, but this means that our waiting list has reduced.
  • Flexibility with appointments: As Coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease and with students physically returning to school, Cheryl has found that early morning and late afternoon appointments are popular. And she is better able to accommodate these unusual hours as she doesn’t have to worry about leaving the office at 5:00pm. Cheryl has also been able to better accommodate adult clients who need lunchtime slots during work breaks.
  • Clients more receptive to online learning: Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic started, school-aged children have had to adapt to new ways of learning. They are more conscious of hygiene and social distancing, and Cheryl has found that they are more versed in technology and more receptive to telehealth.
  • More relaxed settings for clients (and their families): For clients, meeting virtually has also relieved the stress of having someone visiting their home, being less formal. Both clients and their caregivers feel more comfortable during virtual meetings, allowing Cheryl to focus on what is important – increasing engagement and improving therapy outcomes.
  • Less pressure: When clients feel like they are unable to answer on the spot, telehealth allows them to take their time and respond when they are ready. At LiveBig, we use RMReach telehealth platform, which also allows users to take control of the screen. Meeting virtually, Cheryl finds that some clients are more confident opening up to her, as it feels less threatening than meeting in person.
  • More fun and equally high-quality sessions! When clients are unable to express themselves in words, Cheryl can instruct them to ‘annotate’ via Zoom, enabling them to draw something, and the novel way that the drawings turn out often ends in fits of laughter. This is especially helpful in young children, where Cheryl can ask them to draw something fun, save it on the screen and send it to them later. Traditionally, Cheryl would have clients draw something on paper and then rub it out, but virtually, the task is much easier as they can simply ‘undo’ what they drew. Cheryl has also had a lot of success playing find-a-word games, taking turns with clients.

Are you interested in our telehealth services for yourself or a family member? We are here to help. Contact us.

NDIS to Move to Real-Time Claims

Reasons for the change

There are currently around 365,000 active participants in the scheme, with payments for 2018-19 totalling approximately $10.2 billion. Over the next five years, it is estimated that more than $22 billion will be paid out through the scheme to 500,000 Australians with disability each year, putting a strain on the system and increasing the need for a faster and more efficient claims system.

Currently, claims are lodged by either the participant, provider, or the NDIS after a service has been carried out, through either the myplace Participant or myplace Provider online portals. The NDIA said that in some instances a .csv file is then uploaded to the NDIS portal, providing details of a number of claims. This is a slow and antiquated process that results in lengthy delays between the provision of support, and payments are prone to error.

To fix this outdated process, the NDIA aims to develop a solution that enables providers and participants to automatically lodge claims, known as payment requests, in real-time and at the point of support. The agency expects that moving from the current portal-based manual claim processing to real-time claims at the point of sale will result in significant benefits for participants, providers, and the NDIA.

Benefits of a real-time claim system

It is anticipated that providing one simple, consistent, automated claims and payments process between the provider and the NDIA will increase efficiency through automatic calculations, reduce the financial burden on participants and providers, and improve customer experience. The NDIA will also benefit through increased transactional data visibility and strengthened fraud controls, improved payment correctness, and reduced overheads associated with manual processing.

NDIS provides its participants with the support and services they need to achieve their goals, but the claims process can be complicated and difficult to navigate. While the move to real-time payments should make the process simpler, it may take some time to get the new system up and running. In the meantime, we are here to help. The team at LiveBig will not only help you get your head around the current claims system but will provide you with ongoing support for years to come.

Why Finding the Right Psychologist is the Key to Success

How can a psychologist help?

Psychologists are trained and experienced in using evidence-based treatments to achieve the best outcomes for their clients. They focus on the thoughts, emotions, and behaviours related to a person’s specific problem and create a personalised treatment plan that supports their client and helps them live a meaningful life.

What makes a good psychologist?

Finding the right psychologist can take time, but it’s definitely worth the effort. Some of the traits a good psychologist will have, include:

Experience – the more experience a psychologist has with treating a particular condition, the more knowledge and insight they will possess. Psychologists who specialise in certain areas will most likely be up to date with the latest research and treatment options and understand what is required to help their clients achieve their therapy goals.

Empathy – a good psychologist will actively listen and engage with their clients, and make them feel understood. They will not only understand what a person is saying but will also understand what the person is not saying, and communicate this understanding in a constructive and non-judgemental way.

Problem-solving skills – a professional psychologist will resist the urge to give advice. Instead, they will listen patiently and wait for their client to open up and share their thoughts. The psychologist will then identify the problem and help their client change the harmful behaviours that are contributing to their condition.

Flexibility – psychologists who are flexible understand that everyone is different and will tailor their treatment plans to suit their individual needs. They also know that clients who are dealing with mental health issues may cancel their appointments at the last minute or require an emergency session, and make allowances in their schedule for this.

Patience – effective psychologists understand that negative behaviours cannot be unlearned quickly and that setbacks are common. Instead of telling their client how to change their behaviour, they patiently guide the client in the process of self-discovery. Clients are not coerced into changing before they are ready to do so.

Trustworthiness – psychologists show they can be trusted by emphasising confidentiality and informing clients of their privacy rights during their initial assessment. Psychologists reassure their clients that they are trustworthy by actively listening to their concerns and providing unbiased feedback that supports them in their recovery.

Psychology services to suit your needs

Finding a psychologist that you feel comfortable with is paramount to your recovery. Having a good rapport with your therapist will make you feel at ease and encourage you to share your innermost thoughts and feelings. At LiveBig, our psychologists are experts in treating a range of conditions. We provide a supportive environment to talk openly and confidentially about your concerns and offer practical advice to help you on the road to recovery.

To find out more about LiveBig’s psychology services, contact us

Purchasing Low-Cost Assistive Technology Devices During COVID-19

Assistive technology (AT) is any device, software, or equipment used to support the health and activity of people with disability. It enables people with disability to live a healthy, productive, independent life and to perform daily activities that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible to carry out. Assistive technology not only benefits users, but it can also decrease the stress on carers by reducing the need for support.

Social distancing has become the “new normal” during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which means that allied health professionals and their clients have had to get creative and find new and innovative ways of providing their services. Some of the new ways of doing things include using technology, developing at-home exercise plans, letting clients borrow equipment or using available items at home.

The NDIA understands that times have changed. To support participants in continuing with their allied health services and achieving their goals, NDIS participants can now purchase AT items using the consumables support category in the core budget of an NDIS plan.

There are a few rules around this, which you can read about in detail here.

A general overview:

  • No more than $1,500 of a participant’s support budget can be used to purchase AT devices
  • No more than $750 can be spent on an electronic device
  • When purchasing technology, participants must select the basic model only (unless your therapy services genuinely require a more sophisticated model)
  • Purchasing of accessories is only allowed if it is necessary for use in relation to a disability, e.g. to mount on a wheelchair
  • Funding may not be used to pay for home utilities such as an internet connection
  • Only software and apps that are approved in a plan can be purchased with funding
  • The purchase of devices will not be allowed if they do not relate to a participant’s disability, e.g. for entertainment or gaming
  • A device cannot be purchased if it is already available in the participant’s home, e.g. replacement for an older version or if someone else at home owns one
  • This plan is available until September 2020 but will be reviewed and possibly adjusted at the end of June 2020

Where can I find out more about assistive technology and how to access devices?

To simplify the process of accessing AT via your NDIS plan, the NDIA has categorised AT into four complexity levels which you can read more about here.

To determine which AT supports should be included in a participant’s plan, the NDIA may request an AT assessment. If the support provider performs an assessment and determines that an AT device is required to continue specialist allied health services during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the support provider needs to confirm this in writing.

What is an AT assessment?

An AT assessment is conducted by a specialist allied health professional is a critical component in determining the most effective AT solutions available. Simple and low-cost AT may not require an assessment, however gaining NDIS funds for more sophisticated technologies may require a more thorough assessment and supporting documentation.

Finding the best match between a person, their environment, and technology required is a multi-step process that requires technical knowledge and an in-depth understanding of the individual. Having an AT assessment will not only determine the most effective AT solutions to address the needs of the user but will also ensure that there are sufficient funds in their NDIS plan to cover the costs.

Questions?

If you have any further questions about gaining access to AT devices during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, you can now email the NDIS directly.

Make an enquiry
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