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Supporting Younger People With Very High and Complex Care Needs

18 Apr 2017, by Informa Insights


We are delighted to have Meg Parsons, Director, Practice Implementation, National Disability Insurance Agency to present a keynote address at the 2017 Younger People with Very High and Complex Care Needs Conference.

At Informa, we had an opportunity to interview Meg prior to the event.

You are the currently the Director of Practice Implementation within the National Disability Insurance Agency. You have a Masters in Disability Studies and a Masters in Innovation and Service Management specialising in Change Management.

Can you describe what is about working in the Disability sector that you were drawn to?

I actually ‘fell into’ the disability sector. I was a horticulturalist and got a job managing a retail nursery that was part of a supported employment program. My team consisted of an apprentice and 5 supported employees (i.e. people with disability). From that moment I was hooked. I love the challenge and I love that this work always makes you think outside the box. At any level of practice in the Human Service field you are required to think beyond assumptions, challenge apparent constraints/ obstacles and co-design sustainable solutions. I find that day to day I use every bit of knowledge, skill and experience I have gained in my life.

You are going to present a keynote address providing an Update on the NDIS and Current Projects Geared Towards Supporting YPwVHCCN (Younger People with Very High & Complex Care Needs) . Without giving too much away about your upcoming presentation, are you able to share some of the current projects the NDIS is involved in that are targeted at supporting YPwVHCCN?

One of the biggest challenges for the Agency is bringing together every state and territory system into a consolidated and consistent approach. We are trying to do that while respecting every individual’s need and the unique contexts of all of our operating areas. For example Metro Melbourne is quite a different context to East Arnhem. We are also moving the community to understanding and adopting an Insurance model, the foundation of which is capacity building and people experiencing positive risk. Another fabulous challenge is supporting participants to self-direct their services and make choices that have been previously not existed.  I will be talking about this work in more detail at the conference.

How will the NDIS make a difference in terms of making sure YPwVHCCN have greater choice and control in terms of their support and accommodation needs?

This is something that will not happen quickly. We were surprised to learn during the trial period that most participants and supporters had a very low level of awareness about what choice and control really was and how they may want to exercise it. Given that the systems have been ‘closed’ for so long participants were of the mind that ‘they were lucky to have a service’ rather than ‘the service was lucky to have them’ so they have not had a true consumer experience. Also, there has to be enough market supply for people to have choice and ‘vote with their feet’.

So the Agency is (in partnership with various stakeholders)

  1. Investing in educating participants, community and providers
  2. Investing in building peer networks and other supports for those with limited support networks
  3. Building in mechanisms that drive change in market behaviours
  4. Increasing market supply
  5. Developing sound quality and safeguard frameworks that enable positive risk

 In reference to one of the panel discussions you are joining based around Early Intervention-What Does It Mean? Can you share your thoughts about what early intervention means to you in terms of supporting YPwVHCCN?

Early intervention means getting the right amount of sustainable support in early in the right way so that a person can maintain and increase their quality of life and fully participate in the life of the community. Early intervention also means getting the right strategies in place to minimise a person’s reliance on systems for support.  In a nutshell – right support, right time, right way, right person = right outcome and right lifestyle.

Early Intervention in children makes sense to people – how that works for adults is not as easy to contextualise.

Are there any presentations from the 5th Annual Younger People with Very High and Complex Care Needs Conference that you are particularly looking forward to?  

All of them – the list is very impressive and I am excited to be attending.

I always enjoy attending a conference and hearing presentations and getting the opportunity to network with peers. It is always refreshing to step out of the day to day work and hear all about the amazing work underway nationally and internationally.

The challenge is trying to pick which session to attend.


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