For new NDIS participants, the task of picking a supports provider can often be a daunting one. There are a lot of providers out there in the world, and they all seem to offer you the world. But how can you feel sure that your decision is the right one for you?
- Firstly, make sure that you are familiar with your NDIS plan. Your plan will ultimately determine what supports you can access, so it is important for you to understand what you are funded to receive. Take the time to go over your plan with someone you trust, and take note any questions you might have as you go. Once you have done this you can get in touch with your Support Coordinator or Local Area Coordination (LAC) service with these questions – these services are there to help you navigate the NDIS and will provide you with support as you need.
- Once you are familiar with your plan, you can then start focusing on your goals and how you would like a provider to assist you achieve them. For example you may have the goal of living independently, and would like a lot of assistance in achieving this, or you may have the goal of getting back to work and want little assistance in achieving this – it is entirely up to you!
- Research potential providers – there are a lot out there! Whether you want one provider to do everything, or several different providers to do a number of different things, research is important to choosing the right fit for you. There are many ways you can research providers; you can do this with assistance from your Support Coordinator or LAC, by using the Provider Finder on your NDIS portal, by using a comparison website/googling, or by consulting with your peers on their experiences. All forms are research are valid and can help you make the best choice for you.
- While researching we recommend that you develop a ‘shortlist’ of providers that you can contact, and question further on their capability to help you reach your goals.
- You can then contact these shortlisted providers, and ask them anything you want to know. When you are talking to them pay attention to how you’re feeling during the conversation: do you feel supported? Do you feel like you can trust them? Do you feel confident? You want to find a provider that makes you feel and say yes to all three!
It is important to remember in this process that you are a customer, and it is up to you make the best choice for yourself. While there are supports like LAC’s and Support Coordinators along the way they can only provide options for you to choose from, they cannot make the best decision for you – only you can do that. However, if you treat the process like any other shopping process and take the time to consider what you need you are well-equipped to make the best decision for yourself.