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Speak your truth: burnout

A woman sitting at a desk with her head in her hands.

With more than half a million people now participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) – a figure that’s expected to double during the decade ahead – and 44 per cent of them funded for support coordination, burnout is fast becoming one of the most prevalent issues facing the intermediary community. 

But what is burnout, what contributes to it, and what can be done to address it? Our editorial roundtable – a think tank that brings together support coordinators from across Australia to share insights, experiences, challenges and solutions with others in the disability community – has unpacked the issue for you.

Our panel members have explored the complexities of providing support in the disability sector and engaged in a raw and real discussion about the challenges they and their peers face, sharing a view from the inside out.

‘Speak your truth’ is a topic for every disability professional!

Speak your truth – panel members

Here’s the 10 questions we posed and the answers they gave. Click on each question to open up their answers and learn more about support coordinator burnout.

  1. Burnout is a risk faced by support coordinators (and many other providers). How do you manage the emotional toll of your role and what boundaries do you put in place to allow you to ‘clock off’ at the end of the day?

  1. Do you believe support coordinators are particularly susceptible to burnout? What are the biggest factors contributing to it, and what part has the COVD-19 pandemic played in burnout?

  1. Are caseloads realistic and do support coordinators have the clinical support and supervision necessary to undertake their roles effectively?

  1. How do you navigate the complex nature of your client base and the complexities of working with them and their families? How do you set expectations, so they’re reasonable?

  1. Being up front and communicating clearly with participants, providers and mainstream services can help to reduce wasted time and improve workload – but it’s not always easy. What are your tips for asking for what you need, and having frank and honest conversations – even when it’s difficult?

  1. How prevalent is the ‘crisis mentality’ amongst clients and providers, and what impact does that have on you?

  1. Do you believe burnout is treated as a serious issue and discussed enough amongst your profession and the wider disability sector? What supports are in place to assist those experiencing burnout and what more could be done to provide support to support coordinators?

  1. Are there any strategies or practices you’ve put in place that have made a big difference to your workload – systems that have freed up time and helped you to improve efficiency?

  1. What do you see as the similarities and distinctions between the role of a support coordinator and the role of a local area coordinator? Could either or both roles evolve as part of a sector strategy to assist with managing burnout?

  1. What are your top tips for identifying the signs of burnout and addressing it before it occurs – and how do you put these into practice?
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My Plan Manager acknowledges the objectives of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

My Plan Manager acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia, and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.
© My Plan Manager 2020
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