NDIS Support Coordinator Referrals: How We Help

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Man with a disability and his NDIS support worker

Assisting Support Coordinator referrals for participants of the NDIS seeking MTA and STA

MediStays is a nationwide service utilised by NDIS Support Coordinators for MTA and STA accommodation referrals for participants of the NDIS. Our trusted and credible service is available to all government and disability providers seeking accommodation for their participants.

Our Care Navigators are experts in connecting Australia

ns living with disabilities and their supports with the best accommodation options. Our focus is on supporting Short- and Medium-Term Accommodation.

Whatever the situation, MediStays makes it easy to find suitable and comfortable accommodation for your participant. This frees up your energy to coordinate other important supports for achieving their goals.

MediStays is committed to the provision of excellent customer service to all aspects of Short- and Medium-Term stays for participants of the NDIS. This of course includes participants, as well as their informal and formal supports, family and friends.

And it’s our wonderful Care Navigators who are the jewels in the MediStays crown!

What is a MediStays Care Navigator?

Here to ensure our guests have the best experience possible, they are the embodiment of MediStays’ values: caring, innovative, credible and informative.

MediStays’ co-founder and Managing Director, Dr Sarah Everitt, is a healthcare professional (BMedRad, PhD)  and has built MediStays from a background of working with people on a health and medical journey.

MediStays doesn’t hire just anyone as a Care Navigator. We search for unique individuals motivated to make an energetic and passionate contribution. All of our Care Navigators are recruited based on their values alignment with our organisation.

Most of our Care Navigators also bring relevant experience of disability or a health journey. This is a common thread for all MediStays staff, who carry into their work some form of lived experience in patient support or disability access.

All MediStays Care Navigators are all driven by the opportunity to make a positive difference to people’s lives.

Once recruited, Sarah and the team ensure that all MediStays Care Navigators receive extensive training, education and guidance. The core focus is developing a comprehensive understanding of Australia’s disability, health, and medical services. This includes all aspects of short and medium term accommodation, accessibility, support for participants of the NDIS and the NDIS Price Guide.

The result? A team of Care Navigators who have deep insights into the accommodation needs of participants of the NDIS, for both Short- and Medium-Term stays. This spans across those with new or lifelong disabilities, and serious medical illnesses.

Without our Care Navigators contribution to our services, we wouldn’t be able to uphold the level of quality care that we do.

Meet our NDIS Support Coordinator referrals Care Navigator, Melissa:

With a background working in the accommodation sector, Melissa brings years of experience to this role. “I’ve always been passionate and loved working in the accommodation industry” shared Melissa.

“Working at MediStays allows me to blend my personal experiences with my career. I’m spending my time working on helping people with something that’s so important to them. That definitely motivates me to do great work”, Melissa says.

Since joining the MediStays team in early 2021, Melissa has embraced the opportunity to engage in ongoing training in disability, healthcare, and the specific needs of our community.

Care Navigators like Melissa work closely with NDIS Support Coordinators and plan managers. They strive to understand the unique accommodation requirements and funding of each participant and support team. The Care Navigators then align this information with the best accommodation to meet each participant’s individual needs.

Melissa doesn’t just have a background in the accommodation sector – she also knows from personal experience the struggle of finding the right accommodation for a loved one. This understanding inspires her approach as an informative and pragmatic Care Navigator.

Melissa has already gained a spectrum of expertise in her time at MediStays. She is now a specialist in the complexities of NDIS funded STA and MTA. Sarah shares:

“Melissa is passionate and determined to get the best outcome for every participant she serves. She achieves this through her commitment to understanding the needs of each participant’s unique situation, and aligning these needs with the MediStays service”.

 

How can a Care Navigator help NDIS Support Coordinator referrals?

Most requests for NDIS funded STA and MTA come from our community of Support Coordinators. Our Care Navigators’ core role is supporting both referrers and participants to navigate and book accommodation best for their unique situation.

Support Coordinators may be seeking anything from bridging accommodation, hospital discharge or accommodation for respite and personal growth. Our Care Navigators are here to support our referrers to achieve the best outcomes for their participants (whether they are specialists, or newly qualified). Whatever the situation, our Care Navigators ensure participants’ Short- and Medium- term accommodation needs are fulfilled. We are experts in meeting the needs of NDIS Support Coordinator referrals.

 

This can include complex navigation of:
  • NDIS funding.
  • Properties to accommodate guests with complex accessibility, medical and care requirements.
  • Engagement with multidisciplinary teams and support services.
  • Hospital discharge referrals.

Caring and professional, our Care Navigators take into account the stressful and uncertain nature of travel and accommodation for those living with disability and accessibility needs.

Participant of the NDIS in his electric wheelchair reintegrating with community from his MediStays MTA.

Booking accommodation may be a relatively simple task for most travellers. However, for situations with complex accessibility, disability or neurodiverse requirements, fewer suitable options make it more challenging.

Our Care Navigators are also here to integrate with the fantastic work being done by support networks for participants of the NDIS. Alongside accommodation expertise, they provide reassurance and guidance. This information is provided directly to the Support Coordinator, formal supports, or the participant and their informal supports.

Support Coordinators can rely on MediStays Care Navigators to make all arrangements in a professional manner, with very high attention to detail.

An expert approach: Specialising in NDIS STA and MTA

With standard accommodation options and popular holiday websites, there is no understanding of the NDIS or advocacy for guests to access funding options for their stay.

Through MediStays, our Care Navigators find participants the most fit-for-purpose private accommodation options. They work closely with NDIS Support Coordinators, and their participants and Plan Managers, to take the stress out of managing NDIS Short-Term Accommodation payments.

Our Care Navigators are experts in matching the goals of NDIS participants to Short- or Medium-term accommodation. They focus on finding flexible and pragmatic options for participants’ plans.

They can incorporate goals such as a change of scenery, opportunities to try new things, and a supporting break for informal supports.

Assisting overall location needs of a participant’s NDIS Plan

MediStays Care Navigators go above and beyond just booking accommodation. They provide additional support to achieve the participant’s goals within the funding allocation of their NDIS plan. This can include information of ancillary services (i.e. meal deliveries).

Care Navigators help NDIS Support Co-ordinators and their participants by:

➥ Recommending options within budget to incorporate family and friends into a participant’s NDIS plan.

This can be in terms of:

  • Location
  • Budget
  • General living arrangement

 

Striving to assist participants and their support network to choose what is suitable.

For participants with informal supports staying at home, formal overnight support workers can be accommodated in a second bedroom. The ability to arrange formal supports independently of accommodation agreements is a plus for Support Coordinators and their participants.

Participants can bring formal supports they have met before. They may also have assisted the participant and their informal supports at home.

Our Care Navigators also understand that participants have individual passions, motivations and hobbies. Therefore, they can suggest location and accommodation options that integrate a participant’s goals and NDIS plan.

If reduced travel time to accommodation is a priority, options can be selected closer to home. Importantly, this makes visiting more accessible for family and friends.

MediStays Care Navigators provide trusted referrals for Medium Term Accommodation (Property Access Level 3, Melbourne)

A day in the life of a MediStays Care Navigator

The key point of difference in the MediStays model, compared to a standard accommodation booking site, is our understanding of health and disability. The same is true for our Care Navigators.

Of course, they take care of accommodation and practical aspects of travel. But in doing so, everything is informed from the perspective of a participant’s individualised needs and goals. Our Care Navigators utilise every ability of MediStays, to empower decision-making for the participant and their supports.

So, what does this look like in practice? Below we explore some key categories, and their tasks, that our Care Navigators manage on a day-to-day basis.

Booking Accommodation

Our Care Navigators are here to connect NDIS Support Coordinator referrals with the information and resources they need for the best Short- or Medium-Term stay possible. We work directly with Support Coordinators, and their participants of the NDIS and supports.

They are the first point-of-contact for:

Quotations: Our Care Navigators provide comprehensive STA and MTA quotations to assist with NDIS plan reviews. This ensures everyone has reliable information to plan their stay.

Accommodation recommendations: Our Care Navigators have deep insights into each property. They also work closely with Support Coordinators, and broader teams of occupational therapists, social workers, nursing and medical staff. This robust assessment process ensures our Care Navigators recommend optimal accommodation for participants, supports, family and informal caregivers.

Accessibility Insights: The accessibility and suitability of accommodation is a “non-negotiable” factor for our Care Navigators. Combining feedback and written reports from Support Coordinators and occupational therapists, our team curates the best options for each participant’s situation.

NDIS Funding: Our Care Navigators are experts at answering any question about MTA or STA funding, and  the NDIS Price Guide. Support Coordinators can utilise them as an important educational resource. Having booked thousands of nights’ accommodation for participants of the NDIS, our Care Navigators are here to answer any questions. We ensure Support Coordinators and their participants understand how MediStays achieves the best outcomes from each plan – for every referral.

MediStays Partners Rates: MediStays specialises in booking NDIS STA and MTA accommodation. With more than 600 accommodation partners nationally, MediStays provides participants of the NDIS with direct access to our special rates negotiated on behalf of our entire community. In addition, we have secured flexible booking conditions and discounted ancillary services to support participants when they need it most.

Making Bookings: Experts at doing the leg work, our Care Navigators formalise each booking with our electronic Service Agreement. This agreement ensures Support Coordinators have 24/7 access to the conditions of their participant’s stay. Written in easy-to-understand language, it’s also formatted to easily share online with the participant and their informal supports. Once digitally signed, the booking is locked in and we prepare the property for arrival

Adjustments & Changes: Life happens even with the best laid plans. If things change during a participant’s stay, our Care Navigators will liaise with the guest, their referrers and the accommodation property to confirm extended stays as needed.


Care Navigator Melissa adds that
when participants are discharged from hospital, I am usually requested to book their MTA for 90 nights. However, if they are awaiting a new SDA build, delays can occur. Understandably, referrers, their participants and supports can be concerned about having to extend their stay. I assist Support Coordinators by reaching out in advance to check on the progress. I then take care of extensions as needed. Access to safe housing is a basic human right. So knowing their accommodation is secured gives our community peace of mind – right when they need it most”.

Support Navigating Funding

Alongside accommodation needs and travel logistics, a large part of planning a stay is confirming how it will be funded. There can be many costs involved, including travel, accommodation and food.

Navigating funding eligibility, what it covers, what’s required and securing funding in a plan can be challenging on its own. Add to that, organising the many aspects of the stay to ensure a participant’s goals will be met. Relieving the financial burden (referred to as “financial toxicity” in the healthcare space) is an important part of MediStays support in guests’ journeys.

Thankfully, our Care Navigators are experts in what funding may be accessible for any given scenario. Whatever a participant’s situation, our Care Navigators are there to help them get the best possible experience available to them.

As you can see, our Care Navigators’ knowledge takes them far beyond the role of ‘travel agent’ or ‘concierge’. It’s their support that takes MediStays’ services to the next level for participants of the NDIS and their referrers.

 

Driven to care: why our Care Navigators go the extra mile

MediStays strives to foster an environment where our staff can make a positive difference to participants of the NDIS through their role.

We are constantly rewarded by the work we do and humbled by the positive difference we make. This further inspires us to be extremely hard-working and focused.

Genuine, motivated and compassionate

Our Care Navigators really do make a difference with every person they have contact with.

Generally, people who require MediStays’ services are in some way vulnerable. They are often anxious for many reasons, including illness, an unexpected life situation, or ongoing incapacity.

Caring and empathetic, our Care Navigators aim to reassure everyone who reaches out to us that they do not have to worry about accommodation. We relieve some of their stress and challenges by making all of the arrangements on their behalf. Therefore, they can instead focus on the other issues they are dealing with.

Progressing lives alongside care networks

Supporting care networks to ensure the best experience

Our Care Navigator Melissa strives to make referrers’ jobs as easy as possible when referring participants to MediStays. As soon as our Care Navigators receive a completed Referral Form, they have a base to start searching for accommodation options.

Care Navigator Melissa does the legwork for referrers in three key ways:
  • Identifies and presents the properties that best suit the participant’s needs, as shared to her by their referrer.
  • Only gives the referrer options and recommendations that are actually available and suit their participant’s needs. This starts with accessibility and safety – always the number one priority. We then take into consideration their personal preferences for location and extra requirements like carers needs, proximity to activities or facilities, and equipment deliveries.
  • Saves the referrer time and energy, as they no longer need to search multiple options to check for suitability, availability etc.

Working With Care Networks

Our Care Navigators are the key point of contact with our referrers, their participants and supports. Part of their role is to record comments from guests and their support networks, such as compliments and constructive feedback. This helps MediStays identify strengths and weaknesses in internal processes, especially those that directly impact guests’ experiences.

This means it’s our Care Navigators gathering first hand the valuable feedback from people we serve. Therefore, MediStays is committed to working alongside our Care Navigators to constantly improve and develop our services for further impact.

How to best utilise our Care Navigators through referrals:

Our Care Navigators strive to ensure the best possible experience for the guest – from referral through to arriving back home. The more information they have, the better their recommendations will be to meet the guest requirements.

Here are Care Navigator Melissa’s *Top Tips* for a seamless referral:
  • Knowledge is key: The best start we can get is a completed referral form with as much detail as possible and any specific needs.
  • If a guest uses a wheelchair: providing details on the wheelchair width and model ensures we will only recommend suitable properties with door widths the guest can safely navigate.
  • When a guest is cared for by NDIS support workers: knowing if carers will be staying with the guest overnight, and if so, whether they require bedding (for passive overnight support) is important. This ensures we only recommend properties and bedding configurations that meet the requirements of the guest and their carers.
  • Many guests have service animals or therapy pets: providing us with details about the pet is very helpful to recommend suitable and available properties.

Man with a disability and his NDIS support worker

Are you a referrer or Support Coordinator working with participants that can benefit from either Short-Term or Medium-Term stays? We’re here to support you with the legwork of booking medical accommodation so that you can focus on directly supporting the people you work with.

MediStays and our wonderful Care Navigators are committed to providing all referrals with the most beneficial and seamless experience possible. If you wish to learn more about our referral process for NDIS Support Coordinators or make an enquiry, see our Services page.

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Bridget Bisset
MediStays Content Marketer
As MediStays Content Marketer, Bridget curates informative and relevant content for MediStays and the communities we serve.
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