FEATURED IN THE MEDIA
ADELAIDE THE BUNYIP NEWSPAPER
Featured 2nd September 2020.
GET THE RIGHT CARE FOR YOU
Local not-for-profit service United Disability Care is working to make sure everyone eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) receives all the help they are entitled to, including its personalised support services.
United Disability Care spokesman Alex Hansen said the organisation, which has been in Gawler for 22 years, focuses on giving control and choice to the people it supports.
“We use a very personalised approach, so each person can control exactly what their care looks like,” he said. “They can talk to us about the kind of Carers they want – male or female, young or old, religious or not – they can decide, as a disability company we just want to do the best we can for other people. One thing we are focusing on more at the moment are what’s called supported independent living homes, which are 24/7 care for people who may not have a place to actually live, so they can come into those homes and be supported. Our Support Workers are also doing a fantastic job and often they put other people’s lives before their own.”
UDC’s mission is to provide a service that enables people with a Disability to love their lives and live their dreams and a vision to positively impact the lives of people with a Disability one day at a time.
Another initiative the organisation has taken on is ‘Register your Dream, where individuals can go on the website and put in something they have always wanted to do, and United Disability Care will try to make it happen. “It can be anything from going to see the Supercars, or going to see a baseball game,” Mr Hansen said. “That’s done through donations that can be made on our website (www.uniteddisability.com.au) which is all used to fund those dreams”.
Mr Hansen said he encourages those who are unsure what exactly they are entitled to under the NDIS to simply call up, or come into the branch at 47 Adelaide Road, Gawler South. “Anyone that is registered with the NDIS is eligible for our help – and we are more that happy to help people register for (the NDIS) as well since it is not an easy process” he said.
“Our intake team will be able to walk you through every step.”
To get in contact with United Disability care, call 8523 5499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Disability Outlook Magazine
An interview with United Disability Care’s CEO Sylvia Capps. Pictured with Dan from Coffs and Bill from Ocean Shores.
Operating in four Australian states, United Disability Care (UDC) is truly an Australian business success story that concentrates its attention on adult support with teams specialising in disabilities and mental health services.
The business has 42 Supported Independent Living homes and provides in-home care services. CEO Sylvia Capps says, “To witness people getting help for the first time through the NDIS and being empowered to take control of their lives and how they live is truly fantastic.”
The scheme also has its frustrations. “I am constantly reminding people, the NDIS is an insurance scheme and like a comprehensive car insurance policy, making claims requires evidence, quotes, facts and proof. Opinions and stories have no place in the process.”
For UDC, becoming an NDIS service provider involved a rapid-fire evolution of its systems and processes two years ago. In nine short months, the organisation overhauled concurrently its rostering, payroll, financial, HR/recruitment and staff intranet systems. “We realised quickly manual processes would not provide sufficient and efficient evidence to operate within the framework of the NDIS,” Capps recalls. “It took a huge financial investment, large amounts of manpower, countless late nights of trial and error and a large amount of change management for our teams to make the business compliant.”
UDC also established a dedicated IT team including three programmers and two IT support officers to aid and abet the transitions. The investment in technology also enabled UDC to track and assist its workforce more effectively, utilise daily rather than monthly cash flow reporting and have almost 100% predictability of its financial position. Capps sums up: “The NDIS really supported the evolution in our way of thinking as an organisation.”
A track record for evolutionary thinking
In truth, UDC had a strong reputation for evolutionary ideas well before the launch of the NDIS. In 1991, the organisation’s founder Debbie Stewart started supporting people with disabilities in the Byron Shire in northern NSW.
Within a short time, the astute Stewart realised many people with disabilities were living in a semi-institutionalised setting, and that improvements were needed. In response, Stewart quickly opened a group home in the Byron Shire and Accommodation Network was born, later to be known as ACCNet21. “The first house is still under our care, as is our first resident Bill Parker,” says Capps.
Rebrand to United Disability Care
By 2018, ACCNet21 had evolved and was ready for a name change to United Disability Care. “We were no longer the small disability support provider operating in the Byron Shire,” Capps explains. The organisation was operating in Queensland, NSW and South Australia. It employed a staff of approximately 350 carers and administered 30 supported living homes. “We offered every specialist support you could need to live a life you truly loved.”
UDC used the theory of community life as a model for its delivery of care. “We believe that it takes a whole community and the support of each other to provide services to people of the highest standard,” Capps says. “We refer to our village or community if you like as our ‘extended family’ and with this came the name change to United Disability Care.
“Our model is about uniting families, support workers, stakeholders, informal and formal supports, community and governing bodies to help our people to love their lives and live their dreams.”
The care model employed at UDC is working very well. Today, the organisation employs 600 staff who support 500 people with disabilities in four states after Western Australia was added to the business’s rapidly expanding disability care footprint this year.
The UDC point of difference
Apart from being one of the first providers to put its group homes into lockdown and close its day centres during the coronavirus pandemic, UDC is a leading advocate for ‘client-led’ rather than ‘client-centred’ support. “The theory of client-centred support focuses on wrapping care around the client,” Capps explains. “While well-intended, having a disability does not require you to smother a person with supports. They should still be able to play the lead role in their lives.”
In contrast, UDC uses a client-led approach. “While we are always there to support and assist our people, we encourage them to decide their path and show us when it is our time to help rather than us always offering to help and in turn hinder their independence,” says Capps.
The embrace of a client-led approach is a significant paradigm shift for the disability services industry, says Capps. “For years, we have been encouraged to operate in a way that while it was supportive, it was also directive.
“In an industry that now understands and honours choice and control for our people, it is so important that we all encourage them to have goals and dreams: small ones, bigger ones and the somewhat crazy ones.”
Speaking of encouraging crazy goals and dreams, as part of International Day of People with Disability (IDPwD) celebrations, UDC sponsored iFLY in November 2019. This initiative gave 45 members of UDC’s Gold Coast community an indoor skydiving experience. The flyers had a fantastic experience, according to Capps, the driving force behind the initiative, which aimed to “get people living with disability out of their comfort zone”.
Capps adds, “While I consider it a privilege to do what I do, I love that I am in a position that I can take a moment to give back in some way and inspire people to do something that makes them love life.”
Offering mental health services
Mental health services are another point of difference for UDC. Recently, the organisation recruited a team tasked with moving people with mental health challenges out of hospitals and into the community. “There is simply not enough support, understanding or education in this area,” contends Capps, who at the time of writing has been working for 12 weeks on getting two clients with disabilities out of hospital. “It is far too common that individuals are left in hospital-type settings and forgotten about. They end up there by default. So, we made a commitment to make a difference in this space.”
Providing mental health services is a very difficult assignment for carers too, which UDC recognised before launching into this area. The organisation offers free mental health first aid to all its staff and offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) service. “We recommend our staff have regular de-briefs often,” says Capps. “This industry is not for the faint-hearted, it is emotionally, socially and physically exhausting and self-care is so important. We must always remind ourselves and our peers to be kind to ourselves.”
United Disability Care’s core NDIS services
- Residential support in Supported Independent Living homes and in-home care
- Community access and social support, either one-on-one or in group settings
- Day centres located at Coffs Harbour and Ocean Shores in northern NSW
- Plan management
- Supports coordination – including specialist supports coordination
- Capacity building in the form of behaviour support, counselling, training in specialist behaviours and therapeutic supports by registered nurses
NATIONAL DISABILITY OUTLOOK MAGAZINE
Featured July 2020- June 2021
We provide quality, personalised support services to people living with disability across NSW, QLD and SA.
Our teams are passionate professionals that are dedicated to ensuring the people we care for are living an enriched life, meeting their goals and most of all supported to love their life and lives their dream.
Why choose United Disability Care as your Service Provider?
UDC have been providing disability support services to people since 1991.
We offer a range of services although we specialise in finding housing solutions for people living with disability or with Mental Health illnesses.
Our qualified and experience staff will work with you and your current support networks to meet your individual needs with a compassionate and personalised approach.
Our Specialist Disability Services include:
P Supported Independent Living and SDA
P Coordination of Supports
P Clinical Support
P Mental Health Services
P Supported Daily Living
P NDIS Plan Management
P Day Programs
P Support Holidays
P In-home Respite Car
COFFS HARBOUR ADVOCATE NEWSPAPER
Featured 18th March 2020.
At United Disability Care we are a dedicated and passionate team of experienced individuals who care about the lives and outcomes of the people we support. We enjoy working with our clients to help them achieve a lifestyle that is unique to them, providing supportive pathways to greater opportunities and experiences.
We want our clients to experience the world around them, realise their dreams and live a life of independence, health and happiness. United Disability Care specialise in providing support and care to people living with a disability.
Starting from humble beginnings in Northern NSW our organisation was founded in 1990, then opening an office in Coffs Harbour not long after. Originally called Accommodation Network then later ACCnet21, our mission was to provide housing solutions, perfect for people living with disability and seeking independence.
Since this time we have undergone a number of changes which has seen significant growth; from a small family run business, to a national non-for profit enterprise. In more recent times we changed our name to better reflect our current business model and in November 2018 United Disability Care Pty Ltd was born.
Today we offer a wide range of supports and deliver quality services to those living in the community.
NDIS provides people with a disability individualised support and the flexibility to manage their support services. We can offer complete services from Plan Management, Support Coordination and Qualified Disability Support Workers that come to your home to provide a range of care.
Mental Health Services are tailored to the needs of each individual
We provide support to people with both high and complex needs, both in the community and in supported independent living (SIL) accommodation.
We can help with bridging the gap between moving out of hospital and into a SIL environment or SIL accommodation. We are able to create an accommodation environment (SIL) for people in the community, transitions that are individualised.
Like physical health, everyone is different and each person is impacted at different levels. Mental health provides challenges which can lead to difficulties in coping with everyday life. Supporting mental wellbeing allows those who need help to receive that support.
We are able to create an accommodation environment with Supported Independent Living (SIL) for people in the community that need assistance with transitions from as little as 1 week, 3 months or longer, it is support that is based on each individual’s needs. This can also apply to those that have been in a hospital environment that would like to go back to residential housing but still need the daily 1:1 support and/or active night support.
The houses are shared accommodation so all residents must be able to live with other people. Either 2 or 3 bedroom houses are sought to ensure affordability for residents. Each resident will still have their 1:1 support worker but live in the house with others.
Our Specialist Disability Services include:
Housing and Accommodation services
Coordination of Supports
Mental Health Services
Supported Daily Living
NDIS Plan Management
In-home Respite Care.
DO YOU WANT TO BE MORE INDEPENDENT?
At UDC we provide an engaging environment for people with disability, covering a wide range of developmental skills such as basic IT/iPad navigation, cooking, baking, swimming and drama. We have group options for the social butterflies with ten pin bowling, Zumba and horse riding each week.
Join a great group of people and get Inspired at our Day Program by participating in cooking, creative arts, singing and music. If you prefer a slower speed then try the Mens group and a Ladies group with various activities both onsite and in the local community. To find more information about the Inspired Program Visit our website, in the services section to see our schedule. www.uniteddisabilitity.com.au/
INSPIRED DAY PROGRAM
Life Skills Class
Arts and Crafts
Developing daily living skills
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABILITY 2019 – UDC IN THE COMMUNITY
United Disability Care team with Hit 90.9 in Broadbeach, QLD meeting the community
A beautiful day in Broadbeach, Gold Coast on December 3rd 2019 for the International Day of People with Disability (#IDPWD). Our team was out meeting the community and raising awareness for IDPWD and offering a free coffee. Pictured left – our General Manager, CEO, Client Services Manager and Office Manager pictured here with our 90.9 Hit! radio staff. We set up the the tents, the games and then the coffee cart arrived to provide free coffees to the community as we had some friendly chats with some wonderful locals.
Our shout out from the radio below:
THE iFLY EXPERIENCE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY
We hosted an iFLY experience for the Gold Coast community
United Disability Care sponsored over 45 flyers with disability to experience indoor skydiving as it is an all abilities activity. Channel 7 News joined us at iFLY to do a story for the 6 pm news in November 2019.
The flyers had an amazing experience, it was truly heart-warming day. The stories of excitement and achievement from the flights are the reason why we support people living with disability to love their lives and live their dreams.
“While I consider it a privilege to do what I do, I love that I am in a position that I can take a moment to give back in some way and inspire people to do something that makes them love life” – Sylvia Capps CEO.
Thank you to everyone who helped make the day possible and to the amazing iFLY staff. Indoor Skydiving at iFLY is safe, easy to do and accessible for all abilities. The huge vertical wind tunnel simulates the feeling of jumping out of a plane and free-falling for 50 seconds. The iFLY staff supported the flyers to feel safe and supported.
RADIO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN
Our clients recorded radio adverts, scroll to listen below
We had five of our clients join us at the Radio station recording studio in the Gold Coast to tell everyone about their experiences with United Disability Care. They were all so very nervous and brave at the same time. They did such a great job and had a wonderful experience. Thank you to Triple M for hosting us and helping with the recording process. Thank you to the support workers and families for helping out. You can listen to the adverts below.
The adverts featured on 92.5 Goldie’s Triple M and Hit! 90.9 Gold Coast throughout November and December 2019. The positive response from the radio adverts was fantastic. The adverts were also featured on Hit 105.5 and Triple M 106.3 Coffs Coast through February and March 2020.
John said that being on the radio changed his life and he feels so much better about himself with being able to contribute. He gained a new outlook that started exercising and was very excited about going back again to introduce Christmas songs in December with Cameron.
Cameron’s advert (Pictured):
DRAMA GROUP PRODUCTION ONLINE NEWSPAPER
Time to Raise The Dead in Brunswick
Have you ever wondered what would happen to the Addams Family if they headed to the Byron Shire? Well now you have a chance to find out. Taking to the stage in Brunswick Heads for their final performance next Wednesday, the mixed ability Arcadia Plus Drama Group will be exploring the influence of the Rainbow Region on the strange world of the of Addams Family in their show Raise The Dead.
It involves fairies, magicians and some unexpected rock stars followed by a ‘whole lot of craziness’ said Rohin Knight from Byron Bay Care who has worked with the group since 2011.
The drama group has been run by local drama and dance teacher Brian Dale, who also runs the Bright Lights Performance School in Byron Bay, for the last six years.
‘Brian is great with the clients at picking out hidden talents and bringing the best out of everyone. He is really able to recognise their strengths,’ said Rohin.
The drama group brings people together from around the shire from a range of services who wouldn’t otherwise get opportunity to interact.
‘It’s a real melting pot but the biggest thing is it is a whole heap of fun. Workers get to let loose, have fun and help people get into their role and have a ball,’ he said with a laugh.
So get along to catch Raise The Dead next Wednesday July 31 at 11.30am at the Red Cross Hall in Brunswick Heads for a great laugh. It is a gold coin donation at the door.