Individual Programs Policy

1. Purpose

The purpose of this Policy is to outline the individual approach that The Learning for Life Autism Centre Inc (Learning for Life) takes when working with Clients. Through this Policy Learning for Life ensures that the Clients are aware of the steps Learning for Life is taking to serve their best interest.

2. Policy Statement

1. Learning for Life supports a Person-centred Approach to delivery of therapy services which may include inputs from families, friends and carers to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing.

2. Learning for Life understands and supports a family-centred approach to delivery of services and recognises the central role of families in peoples’ lives.

3. Learning for Life is committed to working collaboratively with Clients and others to identify strength, needs and life goals that may be reached by the delivery of therapy services.

4. Learning for Life recognises that every child, regardless of their needs, has the right to participate fully in their family and community life and to have the same choices, opportunities and experiences as other children. We promote children’s inclusion in their natural environment through participation in daily routines, at home, in the community and in early childhood settings.

5. Learning for Life works with the following principles of Person-centred Approach:

  • Respect for people and families by listening and responding to their wishes within the reasonable means and the resources of Learning for Life having consideration that Learning for Life provides services to Clients on a limited basis and commonly as part of other services and support the Clients may be receiving;
  • Family-centred practices by recognising and supporting families in their caring role;
  • Choice and control by providing information, resources and services to support people to make their own decisions;
  • Inclusion by working with and promoting the rights of people with disability to access and participate in their community.

6. Learning for Life shall engage staff that have the right skills and training to meet the standards prescribed by this Policy.

3. Scope

This Policy applies to all Learning for Life staff and will be implemented with all Clients of Learning for Life.

4. Definitions

Client for the purpose of this policy, a child who is enrolled in a Learning for Life program. Where Client is referred to in the context of payment, obtaining consents or providing information, it also extends to the Client’s parents/guardians.

Any reference to a Person-centred Approach also includes family-centred approach given all of Learning for Life’s Clients are children.

Dignity of Risk is the idea that self-determination and the right to take reasonable risks are essential for dignity and self-esteem, thus should not be impeded by excessively cautious caregivers concerned about their duty of care.

Informed consent means permission an individual gives to sharing information, either implied or explicit, after they have demonstrated that they understand the purpose of the request and the likely outcomes of that consent.

Service Agreement means the agreement entered into by Learning for Life with each Client with respect to the service being provided and the associated fees payable.

5. Communication

1. This Policy shall be communicated to existing Clients on its commencement and to new Clients on the commencement of their service.

2. This Policy shall be communicated to all staff of Learning for Life on its commencement and to new staff members on the commencement of their employment in compliance with Recruitment and Induction Policy and Training and Registrations Policy. Learning for Life shall provide information and training to all clinical staff about this Policy and its application.

3. Client feedback about the practices of Learning for Life can be communicated according to the Client Complaints, Feedback and Grievances Policy.

4. This Policy is available in easy read and pictorial format.

6. Individual Programs

1. Learning for Life provides person-centred services to Clients and in doing so ensures compliance with the duty of care outlined in the Duty of Care and Incident Management Policy.

2. Duty of care will always be balanced with Dignity of Risk.

3. Learning for Life supports active decision-making and individual choice of Clients to make informed decisions and understand their rights and responsibilities and shall provide information on how services uphold human rights having regard to:

  • Disability Discrimination Act (Cth) 1992;
  • Age Discrimination Act (Cth) 2004;
  • Australian Human Rights Commission Act (Cth) 1986;
  • Human Rights Commission Act;
  • Racial Discrimination Act (Cth) 1975;
  • Sex Discrimination Act (Cth) 1984;
  • Equal Opportunity Act (Vic) 2010.

4. To support Clients in their decision-making Learning for Life shall:

  • involve the Client and key family members, friends and carers (with consent) in the development of an individual program for the Client;
  • focus on desired outcomes and on identifying the skills necessary to achieve these outcomes;
  • consider the best times and environments for Clients to make decisions;
  • collect Client information to properly inform the individual service planning process;
  • seek the Clients’ and families’ input in the determination of their support needs and life goals in the development and review of an individual program for the Client;
  • use a strengths-based approach to identifying needs and life goals seeking feedback from Clients;
  • consider how the Client’s individual program can be developed to include the individual’s role in the community;
  • provide information in a format that best suits the individual and their family including written and pictorial format if appropriate;
  • actively consider risk against benefits when supporting individual choice.

5. Risks may include:

  • decisions and choices that may be harmful to Clients themselves or other people;
  • decisions and choices that do not align with the National Disability Insurance Scheme Practice Standards, Early Childhood Intervention Australia as well as human rights legislation;
  • cognitive impairments or mental health issues which may restrict Clients from making good decisions and choices for themselves.

6. Whenever families, friends, carers and advocates other than the parents or guardians are involved in decision-making for Clients, Learning for Life shall obtain the Client’s consent and request legal documentation stating that that person is the Client’s advocate and/or Power of Attorney.

7. The Client’s individual program and any personal information provided by the Client in relation to it shall be documented. Information shall be treated in accordance with the Client Confidentiality and Privacy Policy.

8. The achievement of life outcomes shall be monitored and reviewed regularly with the Client against the Client’s individual p

9. Each Client’s individual program shall be reviewed regularly as relevant including when the Client’s or family’s circumstances, needs or preferences change significantly or when a request is made to undertake a review. Where circumstances have not otherwise led to a Client’s individual program having already been reviewed, it will be reviewed at least annually.  With respect to a Client who is enrolled in Learning for Life’s School Behavioural Support Program, but has irregular or infrequent engagement with Learning for Life, if it has been more than 3 months between contact with the Client program review will be undertaken as part of the next contact with the client.

7. Access to Services

1. Learning for Life will internally document the priority of access procedure and waiting list procedure where the demand for services exceeds Learning for Life‘s ability to provide the services.

2. Access to Services will be non-discriminatory having regard to the Disability Discrimination Act, Australian Human Rights Commission Act, Racial Discrimination Act, Sex Discrimination Act, Equal Opportunity Act and Age Discrimination Act, noting that Learning for Life provides services to children (including support and training for parents/carers, support workers and relevant educational institutions) whereby restricting services to children in specific age brackets is not in breach of the Age Discrimination Act given the specialised nature of the services provided and the inability for individuals falling outside the age range to benefit from the services.

3. Learning for Life shall regularly review and benchmark Client data to identify potential gaps in access and address these as required.

4. Learning for Life will assess the eligibility of the Client for access to services prior to entering into a Service Agreement.

5. Where therapy services are unable to be provided to a family requesting service Learning for Life will:

  • provide a clear and transparent rationale including eligibility criteria, priority of access and/or waiting list policy where necessary; and
  • use reasonable endeavours to provide information on possible alternative service providers.

6. Learning for Life shall make available pricing for therapy services to Clients as requested.

7. Where Clients are transitioning to or from Learning for Life, regard will be had to any risk associated with the transition and these will be planned for in collaboration with the Client and their support network as far as practicable.

8. Learning for Life shall provide access to the physical environment where services are provided, and to program documentation, to the Client and, where the Client has provided Informed Consent, to the Client’s extended family, friends, carers and/or advocates, to allow regular auditing.

8. Service Agreements

1. Learning for Life will verbally agree or provide written confirmation of therapy services to be provided to a participant having regard to the most appropriate format of communication including alternatives to written print, translation as required or providing information in pictorial format.

2. Prior to entering into a Service Agreement with a Client, Learning for Life will:

  • assess the Client support requirements; and
  • consult with the client about:
    • the services to be provided;
    • the cost of the services;
    • how the services will be delivered; and
    • how complaints may be made.

Service Agreement consultation will be in an accessible manner and a documented file note made of who was party to the consultation and how the information about the Service Agreement was provided.

3. Service Agreements shall detail the following:

  • The support that will be provided;
  • The cost of the support;
  • How the support and services will be delivered;
  • How complaints may be made and how they will be handled by Learning for Life;
  • The timeframe for notification should withdrawal or termination be necessary; and
  • The review period for the Client’s support requirements.

9. Withdrawal of Services

1. Should Learning for Life be required or decide to withdraw services to a Client the following shall occur:

  • the Client shall be notified in the most appropriate format in accordance with the timeframe noted in the Service Agreement;
  • if a Client is using agency-managed NDIS funding to pay for their supports with Learning for Life, the NDIA shall be advised of any impending termination of services if there is any risk to continuity of supports to the Client;
  • the Client shall be provided with relevant information on alternative service options and referral points;
  • information will be provided on the process for leaving the service;
  • the process will be documented should a Client decide to leave the service;
  • where Learning for Life terminates or withdraws a service this process shall be documented with a clear and transparent rationale for the decision.

2. Reasons for service withdrawal (or transfer to another more appropriate Learning for Life program) may include (without limitation):

  • the client has reached the upper age limit of Learning for Life’s services (or specific program);
  • the client has achieved age-appropriate milestones as evidenced by the results of developmental or diagnostic assessments;
  • despite best endeavours, Learning for Life is no longer able to staff the Client’s program (whether due to insufficient staffing supply or the risk to staff members’ physical or mental well-being in the specific circumstances);
  • despite Learning for Life making appropriate efforts in accordance with the Learning for Life Fee Policy, a Client’s payment for service remains outstanding;
  • insufficient or lack of funding from sponsors or donors that might be contributing to the Client’s tuition fees or other unforeseen financial hardship of Learning for Life;
  • it is Learning for Life’s view that that service or program is having adverse effects on the Client (and/or their family);
  • the client has made no measurable progress toward meeting the goals identified on the individual support plan after successive progress review periods and repeated modifications to the individual support plan such that Learning for Life’s clinical view is that the existing program or service is not benefitting the client;
  • with respect to Learning for Life’s early intervention programs:
  • the progress made under the individual support plan is not generalising over time and does not transfer to the larger community setting (to include school) for successive progress review periods and repeated modifications to the individual support plan, such that Learning for Life’s clinical view is that the existing service is not benefitting the Client;
  • it is Learning for Life’s view that the Client’s family is not complying with relevant policies and/or guidelines, actively engaging with the program or following the recommendations made as part of the Client’s individual support plan necessary such that it adversely impacts the ability for Learning for Life to provide effective service delivery;
  • unless due to Learning for Life’s inability to provide the required hours of therapy for a period or as otherwise agreed between the Client and the Clinical Director, the Client is not receiving the minimum hours of support clinically recommended in the Client’s individual support plan despite consultation between Learning for Life and the Client as the minimum hours of therapy required for effective program delivery.

10. Culture of Respect

1. Learning for Life understands and accepts that different individuals will have different cultural, language, diversity and religious beliefs.

2. Learning for Life staff shall take into consideration the cultural diversity, language, and religious beliefs of all people in the development of a Client’s individual p Planning with the Client is undertaken with regard to social customs, traditions and the individual’s culture and beliefs.

11. Documentation

1. A Client’s individual program may include:

  • assessment of Client’s eligibility for service provision;
  • details of Client intake process;
  • consent forms signed by the Client;
  • details of the Client’s service choices, preferences and goals and how the Client sees the services contribute to the achievement of those goals;;
  • information about the Client’s referral and service and/or medical history;
  • documentation regarding services and communication with other parties who are providing, or have provided, services to the Client and any arrangements for collaboration;
  • the environment within which services shall be provided to the Client;
  • information or details of medication taken by the Client (as prescribed by a paediatrician or clinical psychiatrist);
  • risk management plans;
  • a Client’s exit or transition plan.

2. A transition or exit plan within a Client’s individual program may include:

  • measurement of change in perception of quality of life and personal circumstances;
  • satisfaction with service;
  • review of progress towards goals;
  • methods used to evaluate outcomes;
  • details of follow-up arrangements with the Client;
  • community resources likely to be involved in post exit support and, as necessary, referral and facilitated introduction arrangements;
  • other parties to be involved and their roles;
  • other details identified by the Client and carers;
  • information on re-entering Learning for Life services (if relevant);
  • a point of contact at Learning for Life regarding the support provided;
  • support arrangements with other service providers;
  • information for any preferred health care providers;
  • responsible crisis service provider for the period following exit.

3. The Client, and, subject to consent, their nominees, other service providers and other stakeholders may be involved in developing an exit plan. Copies of any exit plan shall be made available to the Client and with the Client’s informed consent, any necessary stakeholders.