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26 Aug 19

Guide to NDIS assistive technology & personal alarms

Sally Withers | Healthcare Tips , Latest Industry News , MePACS in the news , Testimonials

The word Disability has a different meaning for all of us. Some people have experienced disability first hand either by identifying as having a disability themselves, or are a little more removed by having a family member, friend or work colleague that experiences disability in their daily lives. The positive that can be taken from not having a uniform thought process of disability is that it provides the opportunity for further learning and understanding on the subject, and we are not pigeonholed into a one-track-mind on the subject.

In recent years the Australian government – along with many disability advocacy groups and specialised organisations – has made great inroads in relation to these misconceptions by changing the way people who experience disability access support services. The changes they are making are paving the way for support systems to be accessed in an easier and timelier manner. One of the defining issues that runs through the lives of those experiencing and living with disability in their daily lives is access. Access to not only services and support, but access to local communities and social networks. Isolation from their local community and from friend a family is one of the defining issues people with a disability experience in their daily lives.

By rolling out a new way of supporting those with disability living within our community – the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – the government are setting the standard for all people to begin the conversation on disability and dispel the myths on disability as mentioned above. They are helping to forge a new path for people to life their life to the fullest that they possibly can, despite any disability or impairment that they may experience.

 

NDIS – How it works:

The NDIS is a more streamlined approach for people with a disability to access the care and support they require to live independently both in their homes and in the community. Every person who is eligible for the NDIS have individual needs and do not fit into the past philosophies of “one size fits all”.

The NDIS is a national support program that provides tailored support and better coordination and access to services for people with disability. This national approach means regardless of what kind of disability people have or where they live, if eligible they will have equal access to support and services that will help them reach their individual goals.

The NDIS is available for all eligible Australians under the age of 65 to access. For many people, it will be the first time they have received the disability support that they need to live their lives to the fullest.

Eligibility for NDIS funding is assessed based on the criteria of whether an individual experiences either a permanent disability, or a significant disability – or a mixture of both categories. A Permanent disability means the disability is likely to be lifelong. A Significant disability has a substantial impact on one’s ability to complete everyday activities.

The NDIS provides individuals with access to funding for many different types of support; these can include

  • Assistive technologies – including devices to assist with communication, personal safety alarms, etc
  • Home modifications
  • Education and employment assistance
  • Everyday living assistance

 

What can NDIS funding be used for?

The funding provided by the NDIS falls under the following categories:

  • Core (or everyday) supports
  • Capital supports (to improve access or independence) and
  • Capacity Building supports (to improve skills and independence)

The above types of funding can assist those living with disability to live their lives to the fullest whilst also maintaining their independence. One of the improvements stemming from this new funding model is the provision of easier access to local communities, including independent outings, visiting family and friends, and also being able to feel safe and secure in your home without needing others present at all times. They may have access to the community via means of a walking aide (if required), or even a car to get them from A to B, however the level of confidence that often corresponds with using such aides is not always clear cut for everybody. The use of assistive technologies, such as mobile phones and personal alarms can assist the person to feel much safer and have the confidence to know that if something were to happen whether they are in the community or at home, help is only the press of a button away.

MePACS are an authorised NDIS provider for personal alarms which fall under the Assistive Technology or Consumables funding categories. If your goals are centred on independence, safety or social inclusion a MePACS alarm will help you achieve those goals and should be written into your plan.

Personal alarms are designed to access emergency assistance at just the touch of a button. It gives the person a greater sense of control and reassurance knowing that they do not need to have others with them at all times for those “just in case” moments. They can feel safe in the knowledge that they have access to 24/7 emergency response when and where they need it at the press of their button.

 

What is a NDIS MePACS personal alarm?

MePACS are one of the leading providers in Australia for Personal Alarms. For over 30 years, 40,000 customers have trusted MePACS to keep them safe. We’re backed by an Australian Healthcare provider and all our profits go back into public health and research. We pride ourselves on excellent customer care and looking after the welfare of our clients.

A MePACS personal alarm is worn either around the neck, or on the wrist and at the press of a button the user is able to get assistance for their situation. At the press of the button the user will receive a response from a real person within 2 minutes and MePACS will arrange the required assistance. MePACS personal alarms are used by people from all walks of life, from seniors, people with chronic conditions and disabilities to keep them living in their own homes independently and providing them and their family’s peace of mind.

At MePACS we have many clients in the disability sector from patients to carers. Our aim is to help people live their life with greater peace of mind and confidence that should they need help we are there for them at any time, 24/7. We offer both home and mobile alarms to give clients the confidence to leave the house knowing that help is still available, which supports individuals whose goal is to increase community engagement. We want our clients to feel independent and safe in their own home & when out and about too.

With the MePACS personal alarm system, once you have pressed your button help is only 2 minutes away, responded to by our friendly fully trained team, who are here for you anytime day or night.

Assistive technology promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks they were previously unable to, or had great difficulty accomplishing. For example, wheelchairs provide independent mobility for those who cannot walk, while assistive eating devices can enable people who cannot feed themselves to do so. Personal alarms can help caregivers manage risk for their loved one and provide peace of mind, but the alarms also help vulnerable people stay independent at home and get out and about.

Due to assistive technology, people with disabilities can find they feel safer engaging in social groups, and also increase their independence in their home and wider community for longer, without significantly increasing household expenses such as a 24hr carer – if this is not a paid carer, it can often be family or friends taking on those roles.

How does a MePACS NDIS Personal alarm work?

Once you have identified your goals as part of your NDIS plan, the next step is to search for the right organisation to provide the services and products to support these goals. To include a MePACS alarm in your NDIS plan funds need to be available in the Core Support and Assistive Technology Categories.

The great thing about a personal alarm being under the basic or standard levels of funding is that the alarms are easy and safe to use, they are relatively low-cost compared to other Assistive Technologies. This makes applying for a personal alarm quite a quick process.

To apply for a MePACS personal alarm:

  1. Ensure that your NDIS plan includes appropriate funding under Core Supports or Capital Support
  2. Contact MePACS on 1800 685 329 or join via our website: www.mepacs.com.au
  3. We will complete an application with you over the phone and arrange installation of your alarm with you

You will need to have the following available within your NDIS funding:

  • Core supports – Consumables or Low Risk but must say in the description Adaptive equipment needs. Assist Products for Personal Care & Safety (Daily adaptive equipment) – item number: 03_131_0103_1_1
  • Capital Support – Assistive Technology / Personal Emergency alarm system – item number: 05_222718261_1_2
  • MePACS provider number: 79282935 – provider name will be under Peninsula Health as MePACS is owned by Peninsula Health.

 

The funding provided in your NDIS Plan for Assistive Technology can differ depending on how your plan is managed.

 

How can a MePACS NDIS plan can be managed:

NDIS plans can be managed in 1 of 3 ways – Self-managed, Plan managed or NDIA managed.

NDIS Managed Funds

If the NDIS funds are NDIA Managed –payment is made directly from NDIA to MePACS and the person can then receive their personal alarm.

Self-Managed NDIS Fund

If the plan is Self-Managed – the individual looks after their own NDIS funding themselves and can apply for a personal alarm directly through MePACS. We can assist by completing an application with the person over the phone and arrange payment directly with you. MePACS can then finalise the application with you and arrange for the alarm to be installed.

Plan Managed Funds

If the funds are Plan Managed, the Plan Manager will look after the payment for you and MePACS will send through a quote and converse with the Plan manager to arrange payment.

Am I eligible for a MePACS personal alarm under the NDIS?

You are eligible to apply for NDIS funding if you are under 65 years of age, are an Australian citizen or resident or permanent visa holder, and meet the disability requirements. Your eligibility is determined by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

The NDIS website – https://www.ndis.gov.au/applying-access-ndis/am-i-eligible has a very helpful tool to help you determine your eligibility for the NDIS. This website is also really helpful in helping to understand how the scheme works, steps involved in gaining support, etc.

The types of questions asked within this eligibility tool are:

  • Are you aged between 7 and 65?
  • Do you live in Australia and have Australian residency?
  • Do you usually need support from a person because of a permanent and significant disability?
  • Do you use special equipment because of a permanent and significant disability?
  • Do you need some supports now to reduce your future needs?

If you are deemed eligible for the NDIS you will be asked to make an Access Request so the application for NDIS funding can begin. Once your application is approved, the next step is creating your NDIS Plan. This is a written agreement worked out with you. You will be asked questions about what goals you would like to achieve and what kind of help and support you need to achieve these goals.

If you are not assessed as being eligible for the NDIS you are still able to use a MePACS alarm and you may choose to purchase the alarm privately by calling 1800 685329 or visiting the MePACS website. There are a number of supports and services provided by the Government and the community sector for people with disability across Australia. The NDIA may identify that your supports are best delivered by these other service systems.

 

NDIS Service Providers:

NDIS providers are organisations that have met the strict requirements set by the NDIA regarding qualifications, approvals, experience and capacity. This makes it easier for participants of NDIS to find products and services that they know are trustworthy. Because MePACS is an NDIS provider, participants are able to receive funding for our products and services as long as they have funds available in the Core Support or Assistive Technology categories. You may have what is known as a Support Coordinator who will be able to assist in navigating the NDIS funding and assist to identify products and services relevant to meeting your goals and increasing your quality of life.

 

What is Support Coordination?

A Support Coordinator will understand your needs and then implement the funded supports in your NDIS plan and link you to community, mainstream and other government services. They will help you build your ability to exercise choice and control, to coordinate support and access your local community. Your Support Coordinator will assist you to negotiate with providers about what they will offer you and how much it will cost out of your plan. They will assist you to optimise your plan ensuring that you are getting the most out of your funded supports. [1]

 

What happens when I turn 65:

If you are aged 65 years and over you are not eligible for the NDIS. In most cases, you will receive support via the Commonwealth Aged Care system. This can include Home Care Package (HCP) funding, or funding via Personal Alert Victoria (PAV). When using funds to access the products and supports you need to live your life safely, securely and independently you will be accessing any one of these funding options.

If you receive funding under the NDIS you are not eligible for a Government Funded alarm via the Personal Alert Victoria scheme. The personal alarm will instead be funded via your NDIS funding, HCP funding, or you can privately fund your personal alarm.

Sandy NDIS Personal Alarm Mepacs

Sandy uses part of her NDIS funding on a MePACS Personal Alarm.

 

[1] NDIS. 2019. Support Coordination. https://www.ndis.gov.au/participants/using-your-plan/who-can-help-start-your-plan/support-coordination