News • 10 Nov 2020

Lifestyle planners are an integral part of the NDIS process at Open Minds, but do you really know what a Lifestyle Planner actually does?

Jo an employee of Open Minds since 2015, has been a Lifestyle Planner since 2018. Jo has always known that she wanted to do something that helped others, but it wasn’t until she began studying nursing that she realised that it was actually her passion.

Jo spent several years working as a Nursing Case Manager and closely with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England. The clients were listened to, consulted in every step of their care, included in all decisions and the motto was “nothing about me, without me”. Jo knew during this time that the Mental Health and Disability space was where her passion was.

When the role of Lifestyle Planner at Open Minds became available, Jo decided to apply because she saw it as a challenge. It was a newly created role at the time as the NDIS was still in roll-out stage in Brisbane – and Jo wanted to be part of the new process that would help so many people.   

The part that brings Jo the most joy in her role, is when she meets with a new participant who has never had NDIS or received formal support before.   She loves hearing the feedback and speaking to the clients after a few months and hearing that they are meeting their goals and receiving the support they deserve.

“Having worked with Open Minds for nearly 6 years, I have experienced much change, not only within Open Minds, but with the rollout of NDIS”

“I think one of the biggest things I’ve noticed since the NDIS and all of the change it brought to Open Minds, is that the Team have grown and developed into an absolutely amazing team who have a passion to ensure that our clients are at the forefront of everything we do” said Jo.  

“To hear that we are at the top of someone’s preferred list of providers, or a Support Coordinator has referred a client with challenging support needs to us because of our reputation brings the whole Lifestyle Planning team joy.”

“This is why I am passionate about working at Open Minds – I can be proud to work here and proud of the supports we can provide our clients” said Jo.

What does a Lifestyle Planner do for NDIS participants?

There are numerous key responsibilities of a Lifestyle Planner, but the main part of the role involves:

When a person makes an enquiry to receive support from Open Minds, a Lifestyle Planner follows up their enquiry. They arrange a meeting with the individual along with their family, carers and / or referrers and will carry out steps to understand their needs and how Open Minds can provide support.

A Lifestyle Planner conducts risk assessments, develops a plan to provide support and drives discussions around funding (as NDIS is not the only funding support) and supports clients to choose the best options for them.

Once the planning stage is complete, the Lifestyle Planners walk clients through the plan.  They talk to clients about shifts and staff preferences, discuss with them about transport options, along with keeping the clients Stakeholders (family, carers, medical professionals and Office of the Public Guardian if required) updated throughout the intake process.  

The role of the Lifestyle Planner involves a lot of planning, problem solving, risk assessing and liaising with all sections of the Open Minds teams. Whilst creating a service for someone, the Lifestyle Planner is often heavily involved in discussion with the Specialist Services Teams, Managers, Allied Health and SIL experts where relevant in order to cover all basis with regards to risk, training of staff and overall sustainable service delivery.

The Lifestyle Planner also prepares the costs of service delivery and prepares required paperwork such as Service Agreements and Schedules of Support.

They are also involved in creating the rosters of service and ensuring that the Care Leaders and Rostering staff have the information required to continue scheduling support hours.

They are also the main point of contact when time comes for a client’s plan to be reviewed or changes to services are requested.

It’s a pretty integral role for our Clients and Open Minds. We asked Jo to sum up her role in a few words… and she said, “Lifestyle Planners help Participants to plan how to get the best possible support from Open Minds whilst ensuring sustainability for the organisation”.

If you are interested in working for Open Minds, you can submit an expression of interest here.

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