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Why choice can be a dangerous option for the vulnerable

Choice – we all want it and should be entitled to be able to choose anything about our lives – that is a basic human right and one that is incredibly important to honour.

But what happens when your choice is clouded by misinformation, insecurity or doubt?  Or if you are deciding based on what others are advising is best for you?

The recent changes to the National Disability Insurance Scheme have meant that our clients can choose who they want to look after their needs – which in theory is a very good thing. However, when you care for some of the most vulnerable in our society – the aged and disabled, having a choice can leave them open to pressure from those who are able to influence their decision which may not necessarily be based on the level of care they are currently receiving.

Previously, if you required care delivered to you or a family member in your home, you were appointed a provider who was assigned to deliver that service – you had no say in who that was but you could certainly express any concerns if you were not happy.  The recent changes to the NDIS have meant that our clients can discontinue our services for any reason at all and choose to use another provider.  That is all well and good providing they continue to receive the level of care they require.

What concerns me about this change is that undue influence may be applied to some clients to switch providers who have no intention of providing the care they need or expect, and what do they do then?

My other concern relates more to me as an employer of a team of beautiful and dedicated staff who go above and beyond in the care of our clients.  While we have strategies around building our business – looking after our existing clients is our primary focus and their needs will always come before anything else.  If we are being compared on a level playing field I will back myself and my team every single time, but because we are dealing with a segment of our society that needs people who genuinely care about their well-being around them I am incredibly nervous about the future – not so much for my business but for those who may be swayed into changing providers based on hollow promises.  How do we protect them from opportunists who see a quick buck and will go to any length to do the deal?

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