Advocacy for Gerry in the NDIS
OPA was asked to provide advocacy to Gerry*, 54, in order for him to participate in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) pilot in his region. The OPA advocate supported Gerry throughout his planning meeting with the National Disability Insurance Agency planner and a house staff member.
Gerry lives in shared supported accommodation in regional Victoria. He has a moderate intellectual disability and is able to perform most of his activities of daily living with minimal prompting. He is able to express his likes and dislikes. Due to an incident 18 months ago, Gerry was moved from another shared house in the central part of town where he had lived for over ten years and where he had been able to access the community independently. His current home is in a quiet, outer suburb where he requires transport and supervision whenever he goes out.
According to his person-centred plan, Gerry enjoyed living in his house with his co-residents and participating in activities planned by his day program, which he attended five days a week. Staff also reported that Gerry was happy with his situation. At the planning interview, Gerry acknowledged that he liked some his activities and some aspects of his home life. When asked directly whether he enjoyed living in his shared house, Gerry expressed very clearly, that he wished to live on his own.
Gerry was then asked whether he enjoyed each of the activities in which he participated. When asked whether he enjoyed his weekly horse-riding activity, Gerry stated very firmly: “I hate horse-riding!”. While the staff member was quite surprised, it was unclear whether Gerry had ever been asked this direct question before. Gerry had been paying for this reasonably expensive activity from his own funds.
Gerry appeared to enjoy participating directly in the meeting. He seemed pleased that the NDIA planner was able to respond to his comments by developing a plan that included funding activities he wished to explore, and which would also provide an opportunity for Gerry to “try new things”. After further enquiries regarding the house-mix, the OPA advocate found that Gerry’s housemates were either much older and/or less able to communicate than Gerry, and noted that he may benefit from moving into a different house in the future.
The OPA advocate and the NDIA planner agreed to explore this further with Gerry, at the six-monthly review of the plan.
*Names have been changed. Image for illustrative purposes only.