If your child has special needs, you have probably come across some of the apps that match clients with care and support workers. But how to choose the right one, get set up and make sure you are getting the right carer for your family’s needs?
Up until a few months ago, Carli had no experience organising paid support for her son, Lincoln. Both Carli and her husband Gerard work full time and for the past 3 years had been relying solely on their parents to take care of Lincoln while they were at work. After seeing an ad on TV for mobility, a care matching platform, Carli got curious and began looking into what might be possible. With Lincoln on 24/7 ventilation, it was hugely important to find a carer who was qualified, experienced and who wasn’t intimidated by Lincoln’s needs. Fast forward to today and the family has carers who come regularly. Lincoln loves them, family tensions have eased, and Lincoln’s grandparents can now be grandparents more than carers.
Your matching journey: where to begin
Different matching platforms offer different things. Who you can connect with, how you can pay, money management and budgeting, time sheets and invoicing, safety features and other functionality varies greatly between the different platforms.
Carli didn’t have time to look into all the matching platforms and try to make sense of what they were each able to provide but she did know what was important to her. After Carli saw the ad for mobility on TV, she picked up the phone and got the ball rolling.
“I hadn’t had anything to do with organising care like this before, so I thought I’d just pick up the phone. They were really amazing and a great help. They explained stuff to me even when I had dumb questions. We were originally NDIA managed not plan managed so we had to go through a plan review to be able to access and manage care through the mobility app.”
One of the reasons Carli changed from being agency managed to plan managed is because her agency provider wanted to charge $60+ per hour for a Registered Nurse. With mobility, the costs are lower which means Lincoln gets more care and the worker gets more in their pocket too!
For Carli, signing up to mobility was part of starting to receive care. It was all new to her so having someone who could explain things with not only the app setup, account setup and funds allocation, but also the entire process to get approved was really useful.
The easiest way to get started with a matching Home care platform is to ring up and have a chat to make sure the app can do what you need it to.
Here are some things to consider and to ask in that first phone call:
Who can I book? Independent contractors and/or registered providers? Support workers, registered nurses, allied health professionals, cleaners, gardeners, babysitters?
How do I know if they have what it takes? Are workers qualifications and experience visible in the app?
What about safety? What safety checks are in place and how are workers verified? Is there a way I can see if the worker is on their way and see when they are with my loved one?
Is it easy to use? Can I book and pay for carers from within the app? Can I search for workers based on their availability and location so I can find someone close to me who is available at the time I need them?
How do I pay? Will it work if I am self- managed, plan-managed and/or agency- managed? Will it connect to my plan so it’s seamless? Is there a secure way to pay from within the app?
Can I see and manage my budget? Is there a way to track my spending and decrease the risk of over-spending? Can I keep track of invoices and payments all in one place?
Getting used to using the technology
Some people are right into new apps and technologies and some people really aren’t! Make sure that you have a look at the different interfaces of the apps to find one you can make sense of.
If you get stuck setting up an app or have questions, always pick up the phone. Given that this will be an app you will be using to organise care, you want to feel like the people on the other end of the phone are helpful and supportive from the get go – whether it’s a “silly” question about how to do something in the app or something more complex about care coordination.
Making the transition from NDIA to Plan-Managed
Carli’s advice to anyone going through a plan review and wanting to change from NDIA managed to Plan-Managed is to “advocate for what you want and have as much supporting evidence as you can – whether it be from your medical team, therapists or whoever.It’s going to benefit your child and will also benefit the family.”
Once Carli had decided on a plan manager, mobility reached out to them to get it all set up. Getting the fund allocation signed off didn’t take long and Carli was kept in the loop the whole time.
Apps like these make things so much easier
When Carli needs to book a carer for Lincoln, she gets on the app and books someone in. Everything is confirmed quickly.
“The app is super easy to use. It shows me my budget, my calendar, what funds I have left. I can see what I have used this week and the days I have used this month. The ease of being able to book a shift and select who is in your team is really good. On the home-screen you can see all the upcoming shifts.”
It’s made a huge difference to Carli’s family because they don’t have to rely on Lincoln’s grandparents to help. The grandparents can now be grandparents more instead of having to be Lincoln’s carer.
Finding the right carer for your child
This all comes down to the quality of workers listed on the app, how much information is available about the workers in the app, and whether or not you can chat to and/or meet the worker before making a booking.
Based on Lincoln’s condition and the care that he needs, Carli was selective. “I looked up their experience and, because Lincoln has non-invasive ventilation 24/7, I wanted someone very experienced and quite skilled, so I ended up looking at registered nurses and narrowed it down to someone fairly close to us.”
It was important to Carli that Lincoln got along well with the carers too.
“We have found two nurses that Lincoln absolutely adores. The first day that they were here, Lincoln didn’t even hesitate with them, he was just straight up like he had known them his whole life. When he knows they’re coming it’s absolutely hilarious. He gets so excited when he hears the knock on the door. He LOVES them and I think they adore him as well.”
“We couldn’t have asked for better support getting organised and getting set up from that first call through to now.”
Get $50 to spend with My Diffability when you sign up to mobility. Get some excellent toys or resources for your child and their new carer to enjoy. Simply mention Source Kids to the fantastic mobility team and they will send it out.