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How to choose the right SIL provider

The NDIS is all about choice and control, and having the freedom to choose your SIL provider means you can find an organisation that is genuinely compatible with your needs, goals, and ideal lifestyle.

Date posted: Author: Nick van Zanten

Supported Independent Living (SIL) under the NDIS can set you on a path to a fulfilling and independent life.

If you’re at the stage where you need to choose the right SIL provider, let us help! Here’s what you should consider when making this important decision.

What to consider when evaluating SIL providers

1) Expertise and track record

Seek out SIL providers who have experience supporting people with similar requirements to yours. For example, some SIL providers will cater for people who are living with psychosocial disability, while others will better support people who are living with physical disability. If you can’t find their areas of expertise online, you or a member of your support network could give them a call and ask.

To get a feel for a provider’s track record, visit their website to read success stories and client testimonials. You can also check reviews on their social media and search engines to see what people are saying.

2) Alignment with your goals

A successful SIL experience hinges on a provider that closely aligns with your objectives. When getting to know potential SIL providers, ask about their focus. For example, do they concentrate on working with you to develop specific life skills? Do they specialise in community participation? Do they take a broader approach and support clients to achieve broader life goals?

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3) Tailored services

Your needs are unique, and no one understands them better than you. Look for SIL providers who offer a range of services, covering daily tasks, personal care, and community engagement. Check that everything vital to you will be covered and seek clarification around inclusions if needed. It is perfectly OK to ask a provider for more information around their tailored supports.

4) Cultural Sensitivity and respect

Cultural competence is important for many participants. Even if you do not identify as culturally or linguistically diverse, cultural competence is a green flag!

A culturally competent provider builds an inclusive environment for all. What could be better than a SIL home where everyone feels heard and valued?

Choose an organisation that promotes sensitivity towards diverse backgrounds, values, and beliefs. Checking SIL providers’ websites and social media for signs of diversity and inclusion is a good starting point

5) Participant and family access

Look at how the SIL provider interacts and engages with their clients and families. How can you tell? During tours or meet and greets, look for open communication and a sense of community. Efforts to involve you in shaping your own support is a good sign, too.

6) Location and housing options

Finding a provider with access to suitable SIL housing in convenient locations is important.

Ask SIL providers about their housing types. Many types of SIL homes exist: some suit sole occupants, though share-houses and family-friendly homes are available, too.

Make sure you evaluate the suitability of the location, too. Do you want to be close to family or friends? Do you want to be near your job? Is there a community group, volunteer role, or a campus you want to be close to? Do you have a trusted medical clinic or hospital you visit frequently? Most SIL homes will be close to public transport, but is it the right public transport?

7) Staff qualifications and support

The quality of care and supports provided at a SIL home will depend heavily on the staff. Ask the SIL provider about the qualifications and experience that staff have or are required to have. If you have complex health needs, be sure to ask about any training programs that will be (or have been) provided to staff.

It’s also worth asking about the extent of 24/7 support, and whether it will address any needs that are likely to arise. In order to feel comfortable in a SIL home, it’s important to trust that the provider and its staff can support you around the clock.

8) Pricing and transparency

Clearly understand the provider’s pricing structure and what's included within the NDIS funding you will be paying. Look for transparent billing and the absence of any hidden costs. If you’re unsure, ask your Support Coordinator, Psychosocial Recovery Coach, Local Area Coordinator, or even your Plan Manager for help.

How to gather information

Visit potential providers

In-person tours are a great way to gain insight into how a SIL provider operates. Look for a welcoming, well-maintained environment where residents seem comfortable. Given that SIL houses are also people's homes, understandably a good SIL provider will respect that and ask for notice before allowing you to visit.

Ask in-depth questions

Feel free to ask about anything that matters to you and your wellbeing. Remember: a good provider won’t mind if you need some time to think about further questions before agreeing to anything.

Connect with current clients

If possible, talk to people already receiving SIL from the provider. Chat with them to gain insight into their experiences with the provider and if they would recommend them.

Extra tips

Trust your instincts

Expertise and track record are crucial boxes to tick, but there’s another factor you should consider: your gut feeling. Let us explain…

You may already know this, but your brain notices things in your environment that you are not consciously aware of. Both good and bad feelings of “intuition” can arise from these subconscious observations. So, if something doesn’t feel right about a SIL provider, it could be more than just a feeling. It’s worth trusting your gut with a decision as important as which SIL provider to choose and depend on.

Explore your options

Don't settle for the first one you find. SIL will become a central part of your life and it’s important that the home environment and supports are right for you.

Compare SIL providers and make a list of pros and cons for each one. Then, enlist members of your support network to help you make an informed choice.

If you take one thing away from this article, it should be this: It's YOUR CHOICE!

The NDIS is about empowering you! The SIL provider you choose plays a pivotal role in your path to greater independence and a more fulfilling life. So, take your time, do your research, and find the provider that fits perfectly with your needs, goals, and preferences. With a supportive SIL provider, reaching new heights will feel achievable!

Need further assistance? Contact your NDIS planner or search for providers on credible platforms like the NDIS website.

Additional Resources:

If you'd like to learn more about Supported Independent Living, you can get in touch via email or call 08 8256 9800.

“Lighthouse Disability is a great place to work. It’s been clear since day one that the focus is always on the person that we are supporting.”

Nick, Staff Member

“Let me commend the Lighthouse Disability staff for the exemplary work that they do and for how well they interact with the clients.”

Angela, External Provider

“Lighthouse Disability is a positive organisation to be part of. They make my life easier.”

Gerry, Client

— Gill, Parent of a Client