What to consider when looking for support

A mother painting with her daughter and her son with cerebral palsy.
If you have decided to engage someone in a paid support role, the next step is to decide the ‘what, where, when, who and how’ of support.

What do you need support for?

You will need to identify the tasks that the person you are recruiting will be carrying out as part of their job. These are the tasks that will go into the job advert and the position description.

Remember, different people are good at different things. Are you looking for in-home or out-and-about support?

  • Homemaking skills
    • Assist with shopping, meal preparation and cooking
    • Assist with all general cleaning of the home
    • Encourage and assist with bed making, doing the laundry and hanging clothes on the line
    • Assist with the gardening and yard maintenance.
  • Community participation:
    • Accompany them to a soccer game and facilitate participation
    • Arrange a monthly night out to the theatre
    • Accompany them to see live bands
    • Assist them to learn to catch the bus to TAFE
    • Arrange a weekend away every three months.
  • Personal care:
    • Assist with all aspects of personal care ie. showering, toileting, teeth care, hair and nail care, skin care
    • Assist them with meals and drinks, ensuring adequate nutrition and hydration.
  • Medical:
    • Give prescribed medications as directed
    • Provide seizure support as required
    • Follow the behaviour support plan at all time.

When discussing the tasks that are required to be performed as part of a person’s job description, be clear about the actions that are to be done ‘with’ the person, as well as those that need to be done ‘for’ the person.

For example, the person may be very capable of participating in the preparation of a simple meal, therefore the requirement would be to ‘do with’, for the paid person to assist the person to cook, to build their skills.

On the other hand, if the person being supported has significant physical support needs and requires a high level of support with personal care, the requirement would be to ‘do for’. Remember, over supporting someone can lead to skill loss, so it’s better to do ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ wherever possible.

Where do you need this support?

There is an unlimited number of locations where support can be provided now. It just depends on what it is that the person is needing and what the purpose or goal of the support is.

If it’s personal care, that would be in the person’s place of residence. Does the person have a goal around increasing their physical fitness? The support required to achieve that could be arranged at the local gym, or via a boot camp in a neighbourhood park or the support could be as simple as someone accompanying the person on a walk.

When is the support required?

People who need support and those in their lives who are assisting them, can exercise much more control over when paid supports are provided. It’s not okay to be told that the morning worker assisting someone to get out of bed and providing personal care can’t start until 10am.

The introduction of self management of NDIS funds allows for much more flexibility in the engagement of paid support. Paid support can be scheduled at the time that works best for the person and their circumstances. If getting out of bed and ready for work needs to happen at 6am, that can be arranged. If going out to dinner and a show with friends means that the person requires support to do that and not be home until 10.30pm, that can be arranged.

Who’s the best person to provide the support?

Getting the match right is a really crucial part of recruiting – this means ensuring the paid support person meets the needs/interests/skills of the person to be supported. This is why being really sure about what you are wanting someone to do and what type of person is going to be right for the job, is paramount.

Consider the following:

  • The age of the person being supported: Matching this will bring together people who are more likely to have things in common.
  • Gender: Does it matter? Depends on the job. Think about whether it’s a personal care role or an out-and-about in the community type role. Personal preference should come into play here.
  • Personality type: Does the person being supported prefer quiet, gentle, reserved people or big personality type people. Also, think about the role. Are you looking for someone who will help the person connect to others, therefore, they need to be confident and out-going themselves. Someone who’s quiet and bookish might be great as a travel companion but not great at supporting someone to barrack for their favourite footy team.

How do you want the support to be provided?

This is a very personalised question. Do you want to train someone in the ways of being with you, or are you looking for someone with lots of experience who can guide you and make suggestions on how you could be supported?

Where can you find good paid support?

Now that you’ve decided the who, what, where and when, it’s time to start looking for paid support. But where?

Now that you understand what a good life for the person might look like, how planning can help them reach their goals and how paid versus unpaid support works, you will realise that identifying the role and the skillset or experience/knowledge required to perform the role first, will lead you to the type of person you are seeking, which in turn will guide you to where you might look to find them.

Let’s say you are looking for a fit, young man who drives, to accompany your very energetic teenage son to his team’s grand final footy match. You will probably find that person via your local sports club, online or on the community notice board at your local shops or at the neighbourhood gym. This is because finding someone around the same age with the same interests is going to increase your chances of making a good match.

When starting your search for support people, you could start by looking out there in the community who would be great in these roles, who have never been offered the chance to do this type of work. You can look for someone who has done it themselves as part of their life experience.

Where to advertise?

Posting a job on Mable is a great way to connect with and book Independent Support Workers. Every booking made on Mable gives clients an extensive range of safeguards included in Mable’s platform fee, for your peace of mind and assurance.

Through Mable, you have the freedom to book a support worker of your choice, as well as control over when and where you need that support, and what you want to pay for it.

Additionally, you have access to other features, such as the flexibility to to book a ‘Standard’ job or a ‘Last Minute’ job; specific hourly windows for you to request support, the ability to choose whether you’d like support to start as soon as possible, or from a specified date, and much more. Learn more about how to post a job on Mable. You can also find out more about ways to write an effective job post.

If you’d like to look broader below are some options that you might be able to find someone and then once you’ve found the right person, you can even bring them to the Mable platform, have them sign up as an independent support worker and get our wide range of benefits and safeguards for booking through Mable.

Community and mainstream options: Look to the places everyone else looks for support i.e, if you are looking for babysitting services, you look at babysitting companies; for lawn mowing – lawn mowing companies; cleaning – cleaning companies; exercise support – personal trainers, etc.

Word of mouth: Ask people in your own community and networks who know who you are looking for and what the job would entail.

Internet sites and newsletters: libraries, newspapers, online publications, websites like Nextdoor, church bulletins, TAFE notice boards, University e-news.

Be on the lookout: Have your own antennae up when out in the community with the person you support. Are there people who seem to be interested in chatting with you and your family member? Might they be interested in some work? Does anyone seek you out at the Cafe for a quick hello, or does a friend’s adult daughter who’s studying physio at Uni, always make a point of asking how things are going? Be bold! Ask them if they are looking for work…they might say yes, or know someone else who might be interested.

Engaging support workers on Mable

Being plan or self-managed provides more flexibility in how you engage staff, and you can then look at a broader range of options.

Through Mable, you can connect with independent support workers. The beauty of Mable is that you can also find the right person via your own networks and recruitment strategies and have them sign up to Mable and you continue your engagement with them from there.

Building your support team news

Building your support team news