The past two years have been challenging. The pandemic turned the world upside down. The Disability Sector has been disproportionally vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19 but responding to the crisis is one of the sector's greatest attributes.
On 10th March 2022 we hosted a webinar to discuss lessons learned from COVID-19 in the Disability Sector.
Angela Harvey, Managing Director, Supporting Potential summarises the highlights from the discussion.
- Lessons learned by disability service providers
- How the industry has changed, and
- How organisations will need to operate as COVID-19 becomes endemic.
Our panel of industry leaders discussed their experiences so far, which crisis responses have now become business as usual and why and how their responses impacted on participant quality? With 20/20 hindsight, how would they do it differently?
Highlights from the Q&A with our Audience:
Q: Are there any practice innovations that came out of COVID-19 that improved the support given to participants?
A: Working with participants to engage with technology. This adds another vital element to support community inclusion.
Q: How did you manage safeguarding and quality assurance remotely?
A: We engaged in an upskilling program with our front-line leaders. We took them offline for 1.5 hours each fortnight in small groups and taught them leadership skills in challenging environments. We also went through indicators of declining quality and what they could do about it from a modelling perspective.
The advantage of this program was it created another avenue of feedback from the front-line.
Q: Have you had to change your medium and long term intended investments due to the commercial costs of COVID-19 and how?
A: COVID-19 has highlighted the need to make strategic investments in:
- Incentives for our front-line
- Creating time and space for leaders to get off the dancefloor for a different view of the organisation
Q: How has your organisational strategy changed because of COVID-19?
A: This varied amongst our panelists, but most agreed it was an opportunity to stop, reflect and re-build. For one of our organisations the approach has been to take their team offline for 2 days and go into a deep dive on their strategy. For another it was refocusing their service delivery model.
All, however, agreed the key concepts have been:
- Rebuilding operations
- Rethinking the organisation
- Accelerating the adoption of digital solutions
- Recovering revenue
Q: How will you refocus consumer choice and control, post COVID-19?
A: COVID-19 really highlighted what people value. Our panelists worked with their customer bases to understand what they will continue to value. They seek to refine their service offering to reflect these and tailor the individual experiences based on those insights.
Things that became apparent were:
- Consistency of rosters and smaller staffing pools for SIL homes had a positive impact
- Our desire to protect people with a disability could often come at the expense of limiting their freedoms. True health equity is the key to reducing the impact longer term
- Despite the competitive market created by the NDIS, we can achieve better outcomes in the disability sector by working together. COVID-19 created an environment where providers collaborated and shared their intelligence on best practice. By continuing with this approach, we can achieve a lot.
Watch the full webinar below:
Supporting Potential will be hosting two problem sharing roundtables, focused on health equity for people with a disability and attracting and retaining a great front-line workforce.
Please register here