• Operational Documents

    Practical instructions on how to do your job.

    In here you'll find things like, how to lodge an incident report and how to assist a client to set goals.

    Navigate through the documents using the index on the right.

     

    If you can't find what you are looking for, try looking in People Development, or using the search function.

     

    There are some videos on this page, but we have the full video library here.

     

    If you still can't find the information you need, or you are still unsure after reading the documents, contact Suitsme management.

  • Incident management

    What is an incident?

    Safety of clients and staff is our top priority. The way we do things and the systems we use are designed with safety in mind. Despite this sometimes things happen, and client or staff safety is put at risk.

    Some examples of incidents are:

    • A client falls over and scrapes their arm

    • A worker is in a car accident while travelling between clients

    • A client dies

    • A client is admitted to hospital

    • A client hurts someone

    • Abuse or neglect of a client

    • Any restrictive practice

    • A worker can’t find or contact a client

    • Someone threatens a worker or a client

    • Client has an open wound

    Near misses are also incidents, for example:

    • A client falls over but is uninjured

    • A worker feels unsafe

    • A client tells a worker they feel suicidal

    • A client tells a worker things that do not reflect the worker’s experience of reality

    If you ever have any concerns or if something doesn't feel right, then you should report it as an incident. Suitsme would rather you play it safe and report too often than not report and we miss something important.
     

    What do I do if an incident occurs?

    • If it is an emergency, call 000 as soon as it is safe to do so

    • If the client is suicidal or their mental health is concerning, then contact MHERL

    • Protect yourself. You are responsible for your own safety

      • If you need to remove yourself from the situation to stay safe, then leave

      • If you have been injured, seek medical attention immediately

      • Inform Suitsme when it is safe to do so

    • Look after the client’s safety (once you are safe)

      • Provide immediate emotional support

      • Support client to access appropriate services e.g. ambulance or doctor

    • Report the incident

    How do I report an incident?

    Once you are safe, you must submit an incident report via the app. If you’re not sure how to do that, check out this quick video

     

    You must also contact Suitsme management as soon as possible if:

    • A client dies

    • You or a client are seriously injured

    • You become aware a client has been abused or neglected

    • You become aware of unlawful sexual or physical contact with, or assault of, a person with disability
    • You become aware sexual misconduct, committed against, or in the presence of, a person with disability, including grooming of the person with disability for sexual activity
    • You become aware the use of a restrictive practice in relation to a person with disability where the use is not authorised
    An incident does not have to be as serious as those listed above for you to report it. If you are ever concerned about a client then log an incident report.

    What happens next?

    Once Suitsme receives the incident report, we will follow it up within one working day. If we need to contact you we will endeavour to do this during, or immediately adjacent to a scheduled shift. When following up an incident, Suitsme management will:

    • Record the incident
    • Follow the Abuse and neglect document if the incident relates to abuse or neglect of a client

    • Assign the incident to a specific person (usually a manager) to follow up

    • If an investigation is required, it will be done fairly

    • Communicate to anyone who was involved in the incident

    • Identify learnings from the incident and make improvements to reduce the risk of it happening again

    • Submit a Serious Incident Report within 7 days of the incident occurring (if required)

    • Collect de-identified data about the incident to monitor trends

    I'm a staff member, how will I be supported after an incident?

    Being involved with an incident can be a traumatic experience and may impact on your mental health. Looking after yourself has lots of ideas and resources to help you. You can also contact your manager at Suitsme to debrief.

    You know what is right for you, so in most cases we will leave it up to you to manage your well-being. In some cases, we will follow up with you and ensure you receive appropriate support.

    If you have been injured, Suitsme management will commence if injury management process described in the Health and Safety document

    Reportable incident management

    A reportable incident means one or more of the following:

    • The death of a person with a disability
    • Serious injury of a person with disability
    • Abuse or neglect of a person with disability
    • Unlawful sexual or physical contact with, or assault of, a person with disability
    • Sexual misconduct, committed against, or in the presence of, a person with disability, including grooming of the person with disability for sexual activity
    • Use of a restrictive practice in relation to a person with disability where the use is not authorised

    In the event of a reportable incident Suitsme will:

    • Follow the Incident management document
    • Report the incident to the NDIS Commission as per their stipulated time frames
    • Report the incident to the NDIS Commission as per the process outlined here
    • Work with the NDIS Commission with any additional follow up required
       
  • Health and safety

    Suitsme itself is a virtual workplace, we don’t have a fixed office location. Suitsme employees work independently in a variety of settings including client’s homes, the community, their own home and shared office spaces. This means that all employees need to take responsibility for identifying hazards and take steps to control or eliminate hazards.

    Keeping yourself safe in the community

    If you work with clients in their home or in the community, you need to be vigilant about risks and hazards.

     

    Here we’ll mostly be talking about reducing risk by identifying and controlling hazards but remember, if you ever feel unsafe you should leave as soon as possible and call Suitsme management. Your safety is always your number one priority.

    Accepting a session

    All known risks will be listed in a client’s profile in “Important to know” and “Safety plan”. It’s important to review these prior to accepting a shift. If for some reason you don’t feel comfortable politely decline the session request.


    This may be an indicator you should consider editing your profile and make sure it reflects your preferences (for example, if you are female and only want to work with female clients). It’s important not to mess clients around so making this clear and transparent is key.

    Meeting a client for the first time

    In some ways, the first session is no different to any other session, you must follow all the steps below to ensure you stay safe.

     

    The big difference is that you bring a fresh perspective to the situation. You may notice risks that other staff have not noticed. If you ever feel unsafe you should leave as soon as possible, log an incident report and call Suitsme management.

    Every Shift

    • Read the client’s profile prior to accepting the shift or visiting them. Even if it is a client you have worked with before, the information may have changed.

    • Assess the client. This includes looking for any sign of deterioration in mental health, intoxication or aggression.

    • If a client is intoxicated or aggressive, leave as soon it is safe to do so and submit an incident report.

    • If the client's mental health is deteriorating call Suitsme management as soon as it is safe to do so.

    • Assess anyone else who is in the property (EG housemates, partners) for any signs of intoxication, aggression or erratic behaviour. If you have concerns, leave when it is safe to do so. The session can continue if the client comes with you; you should be open and honest with the client about why you needed to leave and check in with them about whether they feel safe.

    • Assess the environment for any hazards such as:

      • In the home: clutter, pets, mold, sharps or other drug paraphernalia

      • In the community: Driving hazards, extreme weather, activities, other people in the community

    • Identify a clear exit route. This includes ensuring that the door is left unlocked (or that you can quickly unlock it if you need to leave).

    If you ever feel unsafe, then leave as soon as possible, log an incident report and call Suitsme management.

    End of day safety check

    At 7:15 pm, Suitsme management will review the sessions scheduled for that day. If your final session of the day has not been marked as "completed", Suitsme management will contact you to confirm you are safe. If Suitsme management are unable to reach you they will contact your emergency contact.

    Supporting a client who is unwell or injured

    When a client’s mental health has deteriorated to the extent that they are acutely unwell, or if a client is physically injured this may be a stressful time for you. Remember that it is not your job to fix this situation, but you have a duty of care to support the client to access professional treatment. Follow these steps:

    1. Keep yourself safe – your safety comes before your duty of care to others.

    2. Once you are safe, call 000

    3. Call Suitsme management on 6115 0013 as soon as possible

    4. Follow the incident management document

    Handing over duty of care

    If a client needs to attend hospital you will have called 000 and an ambulance will attend.

    • Give the paramedics all the relevant information you have.

    • At this point you have handed over duty of care. It’s time to leave and follow the incident management document.

    • Take care driving. You may be escalated, and it may not be safe for you to drive immediately.

    • Do not go in the ambulance with the client and

    • Do not follow the ambulance to the hospital.

    Attending hospital (emergency department) with a client is not a good option. Please don’t do this. If for some reason you find yourself in this situation:

    • Explain to the client that you cannot stay there with them.

    • Find the Duty Nurse.

    • Explain the situation to the Duty Nurse and give her all the relevant information you have.

    • At this point you have handed over duty of care. It’s time to leave and follow the incident management document.

    • It is likely that you will need to be assertive with the client and the duty nurse in order to leave.

    Injury Management

    In the event of a work related injury, Suitsme management is committed to assisting injured workers to return to work as soon as medically appropriate and will adhere to the requirements of the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act 1981. Suitsme management supports the injury management process and recognises that success relies on the active participation and cooperation of the injured worker. Whenever possible, suitable duties will be arranged internally having regard for the injured worker’s medical restrictions. If you would like more details on our injury management process contact Suitsme management.

    When there is an injury at work Suitsme management will:

    1. Take all necessary action to provide the injured worker with immediate access to appropriate medical assistance.
    2. Inform appropriate parties as soon as possible, including CCI insurance.
    3. Inform the worker of the need to gain a first certificate of capacity.
    4. Supply the worker with a workers’ compensation claim form.
    5. Assist the worker to complete the claim form.
    6. Lodge the first certificate of capacity and claim form with the insurer within five working days.
    7. Maintain close contact with the injured worker to check on progress and make arrangements for the worker to remain at work or return to work as soon as medically appropriate.
    8. Prepare a return to work program in consultation with the treating medical practitioner and the injured worker, as required. Return to work template here: (https://www.workcover.wa.gov.au/resources/forms-publications/employer-forms/#Template)
    9. Refer the worker to a workplace rehabilitation provider when required
    10. Monitor progress towards the return to work goal.
    11. Communicate regularly with the insurer in relation to the injured worker’s claim.

    Emergency contacts/Next of Kin

    Suitsme will ask you to provide details of an emergency contact or NOK when you sign your contract. It is your responsibility to update Suitsme management if these details change.


    If you are seriously injured, or Suitsme management have serious concerns for your welfare, Suitsme management will contact your emergency contact/NOK.

  • Cancellations

    Sometimes plans change and sessions get cancelled. We get it, life can be unpredictable sometimes, but cancellations can be frustrating for clients and workers. You can help ease these frustrations by being courteous and following these guidelines:

    • If a session is booked in the app both the worker and client are expected to be there. If you can’t make it, you must cancel the session in the app.

    • Give as much notice as possible if you are cancelling. This gives clients time to find an alternative worker and workers time to accept an alternative shift.

    • Cancel the session in the app

    • Contact the person to make sure they know the session is cancelled

    Each month Suitsme has a look at the cancellation data. If you are regularly cancelling, we’ll get in touch to discuss this and we might put a plan in place to reduce your cancellations.

     

    Will I be paid?

    • If you cancel a shift, you won’t get paid
    • If a client cancels with more than eight hours’, then you won’t get paid.

    • If a client cancels with less than eight hours’ notice, you will be paid for the whole shift

    • If a client cancels at the door or does not attend, then you will be paid be paid for the whole shift any travel payments you are entitled to.

    • If a client sends you home early, you will be paid for the whole shift.

    • If you leave a shift early, you will be paid for the portion of the shift you worked (unless you have left because an incident occurred).

    Cancellations due to Incidents
    A shift may be cut short if there is an incident. In these cases, Suitsme will charge the client for the entire booked shift and pay the worker for the entire booked shift.
  • Travel and transport - a guide for workers

    What’s the difference between travel and transport?

    Travel is you driving to, between and from clients.

    Transport is when you are taking a client with you in your car.

     

    Do I need to have a car?

    No, you don’t need a car to work for Suitsme. It's up to you how you get to and from clients, but you need to know that there may be some implications to how you are paid. Read on and if you have any questions then feel free to contact Suitsme.

     

    Do I have to use my car to transport clients?

    No, you don’t have to offer a transport service. If you don't provide transport, then you should indicate this in your profile.

     

    I have an accessible vehicle, can I let clients know this?

    At this stage the app doesn’t have a field for vehicle type. You can put it in your profile information, but it might be hard for clients to find you based on that. Best bet is to let Suitsme management know and we can pass that information on to clients who have accessibility requirements.

     

    I want to transport clients, what do I need to do?

    You’ll need to provide Suitsme with a current driver’s license

    It’s your responsibility to ensure that:

    • You have up to date vehicle registration

    • Your car is roadworthy and safe

    • You drive safely

    • You have adequate insurance that covers you for work use of your vehicle. This includes:

      • Your vehicle is covered by third-party (property) insurance at a minimum

      • Suitsme management recommends you have comprehensive insurance

    Have a look at Insurance for more information.
     
    Suitsme will not be held liable for damages or claims arising from the use of your vehicle for work purposes.
     
    Can a client drive my car?
    No. You must never let a client drive your vehicle under any circumstances.

    Can I travel as a passenger in a client’s vehicle?
    It depends. Suitsme is required by law to ensure a safe working environment for you. We both have a role to play in keeping you safe at work.

    Suitsme management’s role
    • Suitme management has a strict process in place to assess client requests to drive a worker. 
    • If a client is approved to transport workers, this will be indicated in admin notes in the Safety Plan section of their profile. This section will also indicate the licence plate of approved vehicle(s) and expiry dates of any licences, registrations and insurance policies. Suitsme management audits these regularly to ensure they remain current.
    Your role
    • Read the client’s profile and ensure that:
    • They are approved to transport their worker
    • The licence plate in the profile matches the vehicle
    • All insurance policies, registrations and licences listed in the profile are current
    • Complete a visual inspection of the vehicle to ensure it is safe.
    • Assess the client. Ensure they are not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they are not overly fatigued and their mental health is not deteriorating. (You should be doing these checks anyway, but it especially important if you are going to be driven by them)
    If in doubt DO NOT get in their vehicle. Suggest as alternative activity for the session. If you need support to manage the situation, contact Suitsme management.

    Can I drive a client’s vehicle?
    It depends. Suitsme is required by law to ensure a safe working environment for you. We both have a role to play in keeping you safe at work.

    Suitsme management’s role
    • Suitme management has a strict process in place to assess client requests for a worker to drive their vehicle. This includes verifying that you will be covered by the client’s comprehensive car insurance.
    • If a client's vehicle is approved for you to drive, this will be indicated in Admin Notes in the Safety Plan section of their profile. This section will also indicate the licence plate of approved vehicle(s) and expiry dates of any registrations and insurance policies. Suitsme management audits these regularly to ensure they remain current.
    Your role
    • Read the client’s profile and ensure that:
    • Their vehicle is approved for you to drive
    • The licence plate in the profile matches the vehicle
    • All insurance policies and registrations listed in the profile are current
    • Complete a visual inspection of the vehicle prior to driving, to ensure it is safe.
    • Request training from the vehicle's owners, to ensure you understand how to effectively operate the vehicle.
    • Ensure you have the appropriate licence to operate the vehicle
    If in doubt DO NOT get in their vehicle. Suggest as alternative activity for the session. If you need support to manage the situation, contact Suitsme management.
     

    What happens if I have an accident?

    A motor vehicle accident is an incident, you must report the incident to Suitsme management and follow the incident management document.

    If you are the owner or driver of a vehicle in a crash, you must report it to ICWA Motor Injury Insurance Scheme as soon as practicable after the crash. See their website for more details on the process https://www.icwa.wa.gov.au/motor-injury-insurance.

     

    Do I get paid for travel and transport?

    Suitsme’s service model operates between 7am - 7pm and allows for up to 30 minutes travel time between clients. Based on this:

     

    Travel

    • Your first shift for the day is to your place of work, you don’t get paid for travelling to work
    • Your last shift of the day is from your place of work, you don’t get paid for travelling home
    • You must not accept shifts that will result in more than 30 minutes travel directly from one client to another.
    • Payment for travel between clients depends on whether you are working a broken shift or a single shift.
      • Single shift means you leave one client and travel directly to another client.
      • Broken shift means you did not travel directly from one client to another within 30 minutes. This is considered a broken shift as it is outside Suitsme’s service model.
    • If you travel directly from one client to another within 30 minutes then you will be paid for the time you spend travelling and reimbursed the cost for the kilometres you have travelled at a rate of 80 cents per km
    Where you take an unpaid break you may have 1 hour break between clients (30 minutes break and 30 minutes travelling) and it is still considered direct travel. For more information on unpaid breaks, refer to Can I work any shift I want to?
     

    This stuff is complicated so here's some example scenarios:

    1. I have a session 9-11, and then a session 11:30-1:30. I finish my first shift and travel directly to the second shift. This is a single shift so I am paid for 4.5 hours and reimbursed the kms I travelled between shifts.
    2. I have a session 9-12 and then a session 1-3. I finish my first shift and travel directly to the second client, but on the way I stop and take 30 minutes for lunch. As I am working longer than 5 hours straight, I am entitled to an unpaid break. Therefore this is a single shift, with a break. I am paid for 5.5 hours and reimbursed the kms I travelled between shifts.
    3. I have a session 9-11, and then a session 12:00-2:00. I finish my first shift and travel to the second client, but on the way I stop and take 30 minutes for lunch. As I am working less than 5 hours straight, I am not entitled to an unpaid break. Therefore this is a broken shift. I am paid for 4 hours and I am not reimbursed the kms I travelled between shifts.
    4. I have a session 9-11 and then a session 1-3. I finish my first session and then go shopping before heading to my second shift. Although these sessions span over more than 5 hours, my break is longer than the 30 minutes I am entitled to. Therefore, this is a broken shift. I am paid for 4 hours and I am not reimbursed the kms I travelled between shifts.

    Transport

    • The cost of transport is passed on to the client.

    • Clients can only be provided with transport if they have agreed to pay the cost of providing it.

    • The booking screen in the app will tell you if a client has agreed to pay for transport.

    • The booking screen in the app will also tell you how many kilometres the client has available.

    • You are responsible for:

      • Only providing transport to clients who have agreed to pay the cost of providing transport AND
      • Ensuring the client has enough kilometres available in their balance AND
      • Ensuring the client is aware of their kilometre balance and is making an informed decision about use (e.g. if they ask you to transport them 200 km this will impact on their future services and they need to understand this)
    If you have followed these conditions you will be reimbursed for kilometres you have transported a client at a rate of 80 cents per km and you can also be reimbursed for parking and/or public transport expenses you incur while supporting the client.
     
    How do I claim these payments?
    • If you have travelled directly between clients, you will be asked to input kms travelled between clients into the app so we can reimburse you. You will be asked to do this at the end of the shift that you travelled to so you may want to note this somewhere when you arrive to ensure you remember.

    • At the end of a shift, if a client has transport funding available, you will be asked to input kms you transported the client. These will be reimbursed to you in the next pay run.

    • Suitsme completes random and targeted audits to verify your travel and transport entries.

  • Goal setting

    All clients have an NDIS plan which contains some goals and they received funding to help them achieve those goals. Your job is to support clients to achieve your goals, so it’s helpful to break the goals down into achievable steps. Client’s can do this in the app.
     

    Client’s need to add goals into the app within one month of starting with Suitsme and they need to review them at least every three months.
     

    Where do I see a client’s goals?
    There is a goals section in the client’s profile. Hopefully the client has added goals, in that case you know what you need to work on with them.
     

    If the goals section is blank, that means the client hasn’t added any goals. You need to encourage them to add some. They might need some help to work out their goals, or to add them to the app. You can find a "how to" video on adding goals in the app here.


    What’s in the NDIS plan?
    You can ask a client to share their NDIS plan with you. They don’t have to share it, but it can be helpful. The goals in a client’s NDIS plan are the starting point, but they tend to be big goals like:

    • “Connect to my community” or “Live somewhere that I feel safe”

    When you’re looking at a big goal like that, it can be hard to know where to start and easy to lose motivation when you don’t feel like any progress is being made. It can also take more than one year (or one plan) to achieve these goals. That’s why it helps to break the goal down into steps.


    How do we break goals down into steps?
    It’s easiest to explain this with an example. Let’s use “Connect to my community”.
     

    There are lots of ways that you can connect to your community, so we need to work out where to start. Here’re some questions you can ask to help clients work it out:

    • What will I see when I have achieved this goal?
    • What strengths and talents do I have that can help me achieve this goal?
    • What progress have I already made towards this goal?
    • What resources will I need to achieve this goal?

    For example:
    “I’d see myself attending a group/club each week, I'd feel at home and welcome and I’d get along with the other people there. I’m good at painting and I enjoy doing it. I have some paints and brushes.
    To achieve this goal, I’ll need to find a group, I may need to pay membership fees and pay for supplies. I’ll need to be feeling well to be able to attend and interact with people. I’d also like to have someone to come to support me at the group, so I don’t have to go alone.”


    OK, so now I have a pretty good idea of how I will achieve this goal. From this I can make a list of activities that I can do in the next three months and I can enter these into the app.

    • Within 2 weeks, I’ll have researched some art groups and have a list of 3 groups I could try. I’ll know how much they cost and what equipment I’ll need to participate.
    • Within 3 weeks I’ll have made a budget and know which of them I can afford to attend.
    • Within 10 weeks, I’ll have attended each of the three groups at least once with my support worker and I’ll know which one I like best.
    • For three months I’ll maintain my mental health by taking my meds and seeing my psychologist and GP regularly.

    How do I support a client to achieve their goals?
    This will vary client by client, but a few ways you might help are:

    • Help keep the client focused and accountable – by checking in regularly and asking about their goals
    • Provide emotional support – celebrate client’s successes with them and be there for them when things don’t work out
    • Provide practical support – such as researching, providing transport and walking alongside the client on their journey
    • Support them to set and review their goals – brainstorm with them and support them to get the information in to the app


    What if a client doesn’t want to work towards their goals?
    We don’t expect every single shift to involve work towards goals. Sometimes the client just won’t be in the mood. That’s ok every now and then.


    If a client has lost interest in achieving their goals then you can encourage them to review their goals. Clients can archive a goal by selecting “I’m not working on this any more”. They can then set a new goal that they are interested in.


    If a client continues to be uninterested in working towards any goals, then contact Suitsme management and we can work it out together.

  • Complaints, compliments and feedback - a guide for staff

    We welcome feedback, positive and negative, as it allows us to improve on our services. All feedback that we receive is recorded and is used to inform continuous improvement.

     

    How to give feedback

    If you notice something that we could be doing better, please contact us to let us know. We can't fix things if we don't know about them.

     

    If you make suggestions, we will add them to our continuous improvement log. We'll let you know if we make a change based on your suggestion and if we don't make a change, we'll let you know why we didn't.

     

    Client Feedback

    Client's are the boss. If client's give you feedback, you should listen to them. If you don't they will probably book with someone else.

     

    Supporting a client to give feedback

    It can be hard for clients to make give feedback, especially complaints. By the same token, it can put you in a hard spot if you are supporting a client to complain about Suitsme.

     

    If a client is not happy with something then you should encourage them to contact us make a complaint. Clients can contact us via:

    If a client wants more support to make the complaint, then you are probably not the best person to do this as you will have a conflict of interest. Instead, support the client to engage an advocate to help them. You can find an advocate here.

     

    How does Suitsme respond to feedback?

    If a client gives us positive feedback we will:

    • Thank them (within 2 business days)

    • Pass it on to and thank the worker (if it’s about an individual)

    • See if we can apply this to other areas in the organisation for continuous improvement

    If client gives us negative feedback we will:

    • Contact them and thank them (within 2 business days)

    • Ask them if they want us to do anything about it, or if they just want us to know.

    If the client wants us to do something about it, we will consider this a complaint and we will:

    • Ask them what we can do to make things better

    • Try to resolve the complaint immediately if we can

    • If we can’t fix it straight away, we’ll investigate it further and keep them informed

    • Record their complaint

    For a complaint, our investigation process is:

    • We’ll be fair in our investigation and hear all sides of the story

    • We’ll keep a record of our investigation

    • We’ll ask the client how often they want to be updated and we will keep them informed

    • We’ll do our best to resolve their complaint to their satisfaction within 10 business days

    • If we can’t mutually agree that their complaint has been resolved within 10 business days, we will refer them to the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission 

    If the complaint relates to abuse, neglect or an incident we will follow the guidelines provided in those documents in our investigation.

  • Professional boundaries - a guide for workers

    One of Suitsme’s values is human connection. We believe that support works best when you have a strong, meaningful relationship with the clients you work with, as well as with their family, carers and any other people who are important to them.

     

    There are many different types of relationships; friendship, romantic, transactional, collegial to name a few. We need all of them to live a full, rich life but we need the right relationships with the right people.

     

    For example, you may have a great romantic relationship with your spouse, but it would be confusing if you also had that relationship with a colleague or your doctor (up to you though – you know what works for you).

     

    Suitsme expects you to have a professional relationship with clients. Due to the nature of the work we do, this can be challenging, for instance:

    • We care about our clients and want the best for them.

    • We are caring people who go the extra mile to help someone.

    • Some clients are socially isolated and push you towards a personal relationship

    Unfortunately, this can sometimes blur the line between a professional relationship and a personal one. To help keep your relationship professional, it is important to establish and maintain boundaries with the clients you work with.

     

    When boundaries are not maintained it can lead to problems for both workers and clients. Workers may experience:

    • Increasing/unreasonable demands and expectations from clients/families
    • Stress and burnout
    • Difficulty setting limits and dealing with behaviours
    • Being put into unsafe situations which they are not equipped to deal with
    Clients may experience:
    • Loss of independence and increasing dependence on their worker
    • Grief and loss when a worker leaves
    • Loss of motivation to seek natural support networks
    • Not seeking professional support

    Here are some rules which will help you maintain professional boundaries:

     

    Friendships:

    You are a paid support for the client, you are not their friend. Friends don’t accept money in return for spending time with someone.

    You must never:

    • Give your personal information to clients e.g. address or email

      • You can give them your phone number, but if you do you must give them clear boundaries about when they can call you (i.e. within 1 hour of a shift or if they are cancelling a shift). It is your responsibility to enforce these boundaries by not answering your phone outside this time.

      • Client’s should not text you, any text-based communication should be done through the app.

    • Encourage or allow a client to think that you are friends

    • Introduce clients to your own family, friends or support network

    • Socialize with clients outside of work hours

    • Visit a client outside of a scheduled shift

    • Have any intimate or sexual dealings with a client

    Workers working with their own family members or friends:

    • You must not work with members of your own family or people in you have pre-existing, personal relationships with

    • If a family member or someone you have a pre-existing personal relationship with requests a shift with you do not accept it. Contact Suitsme and we’ll help you manage this.

    Social Media

    Suitsme fosters a social media community which both clients and workers are encouraged to join and contribute to. To ensure professional boundaries are maintained, you must:

    • Restrict all online communication with clients to Suitsme operated pages and groups

    • Not add clients as friends or follow clients

    • Not accept or initiate requests for Direct or Private Messages with clients

    • Review your privacy settings to ensure your personal details cannot be viewed by people who they are not friends with

    • Refer users to emergency services if they are seeking urgent/emergency support via social media.

    It is strongly recommended that you set up a work/professional account which does not contain personal information for Suitsme purposes

     

    Other:

    You must never:

    • Purchase or consume alcohol, drugs or other illegal substances while in the company of clients.

    • Smoke in front of clients or with clients

    • Talk about your personal, financial or other life problems with clients.

    • Allow a client to drive your vehicle.

    • Give advice outside of your skills and role (such as financial or medical advice). If a client needs this sort of advice, help them find a professional who can advise them.

    • Talk about clients with your family or friends.

    • Criticise, complain about or discuss issues relating to Suitsme with clients or their family. If you have an issue with Suitsme, follow the disputes and grievances document

     

    Check yourself

    Maintaining boundaries is part of looking after your safety. You have a responsibility to maintain professional boundaries in order to keep yourself safe.

     

    As boundaries can slowly blur over time, it’s good to periodically ask yourself the following questions:

    • Am I becoming overly involved or attached to a client?

    • Do I do things for this client what I wouldn’t do for other clients?

    • Do my work/home life seem blurred?

    • Have I disclosed personal information to the client?

    • Do I consider the client a friend?

    • Do I allow the client to consider me a friend?

    If you answer yes to any of these questions, there is probably a boundaries issue. If you identify a boundary issue and are not sure what to do, contact Suitsme and we’ll work it out together.

  • Positive behaviour support and eliminating restrictive practices

    Suitsme does not support the implementation or continuation of restrictive practices. Suitsme promotes positive behaviour support as an alternative to restrictive practices.

     

    Suitsme values the uniqueness of each individual and while Suitsme staff support clients to make positive change, we do not seek to impose change on clients. Suitsme staff are employed to work with clients towards the goals they identify, not to work on them. Suitsme staff will never attempt to coerce clients to change their behaviour through restrictive practices or otherwise.

     

    What are restrictive practices?

    Suitsme considers the following practices to be restrictive:

    • Seclusion - confining a person to a room or physical space, on their own and preventing them from leaving day or night.

    • Chemical - using medication or a chemical substance for the primary purpose of controlling a person’s behaviour. This does not include prescription medication used to treat illness or disease.

    • Mechanical - using a device to prevent, restrict or subdue a person’s movement or to control a person’s behaviour. This does not include devices used for therapeutic purposes.

    • Physical – using physical force to prevent, restrict or subdue a person from moving for the primary purpose of controlling a person’s behaviour. This does not include physical assistance or support related to duty of care or in activities of daily living.

    • Environmental - restricting a person’s free access to all parts of their environment. Example include physical barriers, locks, limiting use of personal items and limiting social engagement by failing to provide necessary supports.

    • Psychosocial - using power-control strategies that include but are not limited to: ignoring, withdrawing privileges or otherwise punishing as a consequence of non-cooperation. Understanding duty of care and dignity of risk will help you to avoid psychosocial restriction, we strongly suggest you watch this video to increase your understanding.

    What is positive behaviour support?

    Positive Behaviour Support is an evidence-based approach with a primary goal of increasing a person’s quality of life and a secondary goal of decreasing the frequency and severity of their “challenging behaviours”.

     

    For Suitsme, we deliver positive behaviour support by maximising choice and control for clients. This means ensuring that clients have full control over who supports them, what they get support for and (perhaps most importantly) how they are supported.

     

    What are “challenging behaviours”?

    First up, Suitsme doesn’t really like this term, but it’s what is used in the literature so we’re going with it for now. . It’s a behaviour that someone else finds challenging to deal with. Some examples are aggression, shouting and ignoring. Suitsme views a “challenging behaviour” as a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation. They are a way that someone can tell those around them that something is not working for them.

     

    To use an everyday example:

    I get a bill from my phone company for services I never used. I call them to resolve the issue and after keeping me on hold for an hour, they transfer me between four different people, and I need to keep retelling my story. By the time I’m transferred to the fourth person I exhibit a “challenging behaviour” and yell at them. I didn’t intend to yell at them, I don’t want to be yelling, but this situation isn’t working for me and I don’t feel heard.

     

    Have you ever exhibited “challenging behaviours”?

     

    What do positive behaviour support, restrictive practices and challenging behaviours have to do with each other?

    To put it simply, when someone’s behaviour is challenging there are two options. Either restrict the person so they can’t behave that way or support them in a positive way to change the behaviour. Let’s use the phone company example again:

     

    I’ve yelled at this person, so now they have two options:

    1. Put a restrictive practice in place – tell me that I’m being difficult and hang up on me. I call back again and they tell me if I don’t pay my bill, they will send debt collectors. I continue to yell, and they block my number.
    2. Work with me in a positive way – speak to me calmly and tell me they are sorry that I’m having to tell my story again, but that they will listen and then resolve it, they won’t transfer me again but they need me to stop yelling. Although I’m still frustrated, I stop yelling and tell them my story. The person repeats back the story and they get it! They tell me what they will do to fix it. They ask my permission before putting me on hold and then 10 minutes later the same person picks up and tells me the issue has been resolved.

    Which option would you prefer?

     

    How does positive behaviour support work at Suitsme?

    There are two broad ways Suitsme does this.

    The first is in our day to day practice of providing choice and control. Clients and staff both have profiles on the app, this means each can make a choice about who they work with. We provide some hints on building your profile on the FAQ page. Suitsme also encourages clients to give guidance and feedback to workers and Suitsme.

     

    If a worker finds client behaviour challenging, the worker should have an open and honest conversation with the client. This conversation should be framed as “this doesn’t seem to be working for you, what can I do differently?”. The worker must be prepared to either change the way they support the client, or to stop working with them.

     

    If a client is not happy with how a worker is supporting them, they should let the staff member or Suitsme know. If the staff member doesn’t change, the client may choose to stop working with them.

     

    Suitsme management are able to assist clients and workers with these conversations.

     

    The second is a more formal approach. Some clients will have funding in their NDIS plan specifically for positive behaviour support. In this situation a psychologist (or some other expert) will work with the client to create a positive support plan. If you are a client and you have a positive behaviour support plan, it would be very helpful for you to share it with Suitsme. We will ensure staff who support you have a copy and understand how to work with you.

     

    How do restrictive practices work at Suitsme?

    We don’t support restrictive practices.

    Where a client is not able to be supported without the use of ongoing of restrictive practices, Suitsme management will discuss this with the client and their family and support them to transition to an alternative organisation.

     

    Incidents

    Sometimes a restrictive practice might be necessary in an emergency. An emergency means trying to save a person’s life, trying to stop a person from being injured or trying to stop other people being injured. This is considered an unplanned restrictive practice and is must be reported as a serious incident.

     

    All incidents, including near misses and restrictive practices must be reported as per the Incident management document.

     

    Involuntary Admission

    If a client poses a serious risk to themselves or others Suitsme workers or management may initiate a process which results in a client being involuntarily admitted to hospital. In these cases, it is medical professionals who make this decision; Suitsme hands duty of care to the medical system, which has its own process to reduce restrictive practices.

    If a client is admitted to hospital this must be reported as soon as it is safe to do so.

     

    Staff Responsibilities

    • All staff recruited by Suitsme have completed the NDIS Orientation Module, which includes a unit on restrictive practices. Suitsme provide staff with refresher information at the time of recruitment and ongoing to re-enforce their awareness of restrictive practices and positive behaviour support
    • All staff are expected to be able to identify restrictive practices. All staff are responsible for the continued identification and reporting of restrictive practices.
    • All staff are required to support the elimination of restrictive practices and implement positive behaviour support.

    Suitsme monitors practice for effectiveness and this includes ensuring staff have adequate skills, knowledge and ability to meet the requirements. Suitsme management is responsible for scheduling roll out of development resources via the app and social media. This includes maintaining a register of development resources rolled out related to restrictive practices.

     

    Reporting

    • If a support worker identifies any restrictive practice is must be reported immediately via the app.
    • Suitsme management is responsible for following up any reported restrictive practice within 24 hours.

     

    More information

    If you’ve found this interesting and want to know more, here are some resources we used when developing this document

    Positive Behaviour Framework – Effective Service Design 

    What are Restrictive Practices and what service providers need to know 

    Code of Practice for the Elimination of Restrictive Practices 

  • Looking after yourself

    Mental Health is everyone’s business. Whether you are a client, family member, carer or staff member you will inevitably go through ups and downs in life and it’s important to look after your mental health.

     

    There’s lots of resources out there that you can use to help monitor your mental health and stay well. We’ll show you a bunch of them that we really like here. We try to keep this up to date, but if you find a link that doesn’t work, please let us know so we can fix it.

     

    It’s not all about us though. You probably have some strategies that work well for you and we would love for you to share them with us and the Suitsme community.

    Emergency

    If it’s an emergency, or you feel unsafe contact emergency services or MHERL.

    • Emergency Services - 000
    • Mental Health Emergency Response Line (MHERL)
      • MHERL Metro - 1300 555 788
      • MHERL Peel - 1800 676 822

    Helplines

    If you are feeling suicidal, you’ve had a rough day, or you just need to talk to someone; there are services you can call:

    If you are under 25 you can also access:

    • Kid’s helpline 1800 55 1800

    • Eheadspace 1800 650 890 (9am – 1am AEST)

    Alcohol, Drugs and Addiction Support

    Ways to look after your mental health

    There are many simple ways to look after your mental health on a daily basis. We are all different and what works for one of us may not work for another. There are little things you can do daily which may help.

     

    Think Mental Health WA has this list of things you can try that may help to look after your mental health and wellbeing:

    1. Do things with others. Spending time with family or friends, meeting new people and getting involved in activities can make a difference to how you feel. Get involved in community activities, kick the footy around, go for a bike ride etc.
    2. Do something creative.  Activities or hobbies can keep you distracted, have a positive impact on your sense of mental health and wellbeing and can help increase your confidence and self-esteem. This could be building something, playing an instrument, gardening, art, doing a puzzle, painting, cooking, writing etc.
    3. Invest time in relationships. Connecting with people and investing in good relationships are important for your mental health. Get in touch with people who you trust or feel good around. Give them a call, send them a message or organise to catch-up with them.
    4. Focus on strengths. Having positive thoughts can help you feel better. Try these support tools for guidance on how to feel positive. 
    5. Take time out. When you relax, you give yourself permission to let go of worries for a while. Relaxing gives your mind and body time to recover from the stresses of everyday life. Try some relaxation apps to guide you on how to relax.
    6. Sleep well. We cannot function properly without sleep. Sleep helps us to repair and restore our bodies and minds. Try these tips from the Sleep Health Foundation for guidance on how to get a better night’s sleep.
    7. Keeping active. Your physical health plays a key role in keeping you mentally healthy. Being physically active can improve your mood and reduces stress.
    8. Eat well. Nutrition and eating well can make a difference to the way you feel and in-turn may improve your mental health.
    9. Mindfulness. Mindfulness can help you feel better and reduce stress. It is easy to fit into your day. You can do it one minute at a time.  

     

    For more tips on staying well and managing your mental health have a look at ReachOut. It’s full of resources and articles on a wide range of mental health related topics.

     

    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

    Suitsme’s EAP provider is EAP Assist. EAP Assist provides a range of services including on demand, phone based counselling. All of EAP Assists services are strictly confidential and no information about you will be passed on to Suitsme. You can find out more about EAP Assist and their available services on their website, eapassist.com.au.


    As a Suitsme employee you are welcome to access EAP whenever you need to. To access EAP you simply need to email hi@suitsme.app and request access. You will then be provided with an Employer Number which you will need to provide when you contact EAP Assist.

    Apps

    Believe it or not, we love apps at Suitsme! There’s pretty much an app for everything these days including apps to help manage your mental health and support your recovery. Here are some apps that we’ve used, or at least checked them out and think they look pretty good. All the apps we list here are free although some have paid content as well.

     

    No matter how good an app is, it’s no substitute for clinical support. Apps can help you to stay well and recognise when you are becoming unwell, but if you are unwell or you feel unsafe call your clinical team, GP or one of the emergency numbers above.

     

    We’d love to hear what you think of these apps so please let us know. If there are other apps that you find helpful, then tell us about them so we can share them with the Suitsme community.

     

    Beyond Now (suicide safety app)

    Developed by Beyond Blue this app helps you to make a suicide prevention plan. You can share this plan with people in your life, including your worker.

     

    My compass is an online tool that helps you track your mental health and gives you personalised tips and activities to help you understand and manage your mental health

     

    Calm has meditation and mindfullness exercises; some content on Calm is free, some features cost money

     

    Mood Prism helps you keep track of your mood by regularly asking you a few simple questions. It can help you to spot when you are starting to feel anxious or depressed. Once you have used MoodPrism for a while, it makes personalised suggestions of resources that could be helpful for you.

     

    What’s up is a free app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) methods to help you cope with Depression, Anxiety, Stress, and more.

     

    Need a happy fix? With its psychologist-approved mood-training program, the Happify app is your fast-track to a good mood. Try various engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more to train your brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts. The best part? Its free!

     

    Some apps are designed specifically for people experiencing specific mental health conditions. Here’s a few of them:

     

    MoodTools aims to support people with clinical depression by aiding the path to recovery. Discover helpful videos that can improve your mood and behavior, log and analyze your thoughts using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) principles, develop a suicide safety plan and more with this free app.

     

    Feartools is an evidence-based app designed to help you combat anxiety, aiding you on your road to recovery. This application is especially useful for those experiencing Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Phobias, and Social Anxiety Disorder.

     

    Rise Up + Recover is a unique app as it not only allows you to track your meals and how you feel when you eat them, but you can also transcribe your progress into a PDF printout. Pull up the Rise + Recover app on your mobile when you feel the urge to binge or skip a meal, and need quick coping strategies.

     

    eMoods is a mood tracking app designed specifically for people with bipolar disorder. Throughout the day, users can track depressive and psychotic symptoms, elevated mood, and irritability and give an indication of the severity of their symptoms. Users can then see their mood changes on a color-coded monthly calendar and even export a monthly summary report to identify specific triggers and better understand their fluctuating mood.

    Resources to learn about specific mental health conditions

  • Abuse and neglect

    Abuse, neglect and violence are not ok. Freedom from abuse, neglect and violence is a basic human right. Suitsme has zero tolerance for abuse, neglect or violence.

    Types of abuse may include:

    • Physical abuse - such as punching, hitting, slapping, burning etc.

    • Sexual abuse - forcing someone to take part in sexual activity against their will

    • Psychological or emotional abuse - threatening, harassing or intimidating a person

    • Financial abuse - the wrongful use of another person's assets or denying a person the use of their own assets

    • Use of constraints or restrictive practices outside of clinical recommendations and parameters in relevant plans

    • Legal or civil abuse - unfair legal action initiated with selfish or malicious intent

    • Systemic abuse – where a system enables or encourages abuse

    Types of neglect may include:

    • Physical neglect - failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing and protection. Supervision medical or dental care that places people at undue risk through unsafe environments or practices

    • Passive neglect - withholding or failure to provide the necessities of life

    • Willful deprivation - willfully denying a person assistance and thereby exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental or emotional harm

    • Emotional neglect - restricting the social, intellectual and emotional growth or well-being of a person

    As an organisation Suitsme is committed to acting on:

    • Anything that makes a person with disability be or feel unsafe

    • Anything that doesn’t support a person’s human rights

    • Anything that we could be doing better

    Suitsme fosters a culture where it is safe to report that abuse has occurred. This means that we protect the confidentiality of those who report, take all reports seriously and ensure a “no wrong door” approach to reporting.

     

    If abuse or neglect is reported to a support worker, they must inform their manager immediately (within 1 hour of the client disclosing to them). Abuse or neglect are a serious incident and the worker must follow the incident management document.

     

    Suitsme will refer any allegations of abuse, neglect or violence to the police. Suitsme will follow police advice regarding conducting their own investigation into the matter. Where the alleged perpetrator is a Suitsme staff member, Suitsme will conduct an internal investigation. Suitsme will use the following resource to guide any investigation into abuse and neglect: https://www.nds.org.au/images/resources/wa-safer-services/Investigations-Workbook.pdf 

     

    If you would like to know more about abuse and neglect and how to recognise that it is occurring you can learn more here, https://www.nds.org.au/resources/zero-tolerance 

  • Insurance

    Suitsme has insurance that covers workers for:

    • Professional Indemnity

    • Workers compensation

    • Public Liability

    • Cyber insurance

    Suitsme’s insurance does not cover car insurance for workers or clients. Any worker using their own vehicle must have compulsory third party insurance and third party insurance. We recommend you also have comprehensive insurance. If you’re not sure what all these insurances mean, have a look here for definitions. https://rac.com.au/car-motoring/info/car-insurance-quick-guide 

     

    It’s worth a call to your insurer to make sure you are covered for use of your vehicle for work purposes. Many personal insurance policies don’t cover work usage. Suitsme will not be held liable for damages or claims arising from the use of your vehicle for work purposes.

     

    If you are the owner or driver of a vehicle in a crash, you must report it to ICWA Motor Injury Insurance Scheme as soon as practicable after the crash. See their website for more details on the process https://www.icwa.wa.gov.au/motor-injury-insurance .

     

    If you are a Suitsme worker, you should only be transporting clients in your own car if you have provided Suitsme with a copy of your driver’s license and you have the required insurance.