The Change Room – Supporting Change

I’m finding
with the individualised packages that individuals that we support are achieving their goals
so much quicker and they are actually achieving them
to their fullest. They’re driving their own packages. They are in the driver’s seat.
They know what they want and it’s working very well for them. I think it’s raised our expectation, clients and staff, what can be achieved, and that’s huge. To be able to design a way
support is delivered is a great thing because it means that
I have full control over my life and what I need when I need it. Yeah, I missed my brother. I was upset. I was very happy to live with my brother again. Oh, we have fun and that. It’s called,
like, living independently, like what’s it like
to get your own place. In the new model of doing things,
they have a lot more choice. They can choose what they want to do,
eat where they want to eat and go where they want to go, and it’s easy. It’s good. They enjoy it. It’s life. Like movies, bowling, outings,
sightseeing. The staff have had to step back from the perceived
traditional role of being carer. We’re not carers, we are now
very much support workers, and that is where
there have been huge changes. I can now choose whether
I need or want the support. I have control over which staff I
want to support me in certain areas. I can also choose if I want to do
an activity by myself or in a group. We have a support worker’s profile. It just says their name, which age
group, whether they’re female, male, what languages they speak,
just a little bit about themselves, their hobbies,
what qualifications they do have. And then it’s got a place
for their photo. When I meet with a customer, they tell me what kind of person
they’d like to work with them. We pick every one of them. The staff I like, Bob,
he’s a good person to have around, and Tracy. Oh, she’s got a sense of humour. The support workers
also need to be positive, realistic, encouraging
and supportive and to be able to share their skills,
knowledge, ideas and thoughts on different things. Your mind has got to be very flexible and you’ve got to be used to change and you’ve got to be able to let go
and you’ve got to be able to take up. We’ve had someone recently who’s
applied for a community garden slot, so staff need to brush up
on their gardening skills to be able to support clients. And the other great thing
is we do learn together. We’ll research things together, and that’s very important that
it’s not staff doing the research – it’s collaborative. It’s all about the customer,
it’s all about what they want. And you see them grow,
you see them mature. You see them
being part of the community. Having individualised support
has given me the opportunity to talk about options
for living independently. It has also provided me
with working opportunities. I have been grateful for the opportunity
to facilitate workshops and I have even been able to travel
interstate for work. James’s dream was always to be
with his brother. He had been talking about it
for years. James used to live
in the group home. He used to get quite frustrated,
because he wanted to do things. He wanted to control his own money,
for example, but he couldn’t, because in the group home,
they don’t do that. He wanted to go out
to certain places, which he couldn’t do because
of the others in the group home, didn’t want to do
what he wanted to do. So when he moved out,
he was so happy. I’m not in a group home anymore. I’m free now.
I’ve got a life now. We look after each other,
all three of us. I like that. Exploring different ways
of achieving their goals, and that’s part of the process. You don’t have to do something
one way, and it’s questioning,
and reflecting and seeing how we can do things
differently. It sounds a bit emotive,
but I’d say it’s really exciting, because there’s more happening, people are achieving more and hopefully living more
of the kind of life that they would choose
for themselves.

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