NDIS Participant Money and Property
Published: 01 August 2021
Published: 01 August 2021
The relationship between an NDIS participant and their provider is one built upon trust.
When receiving care from an external party, participants are putting themselves into a vulnerable position. As well as having to trust that the provider will deliver adequate, appropriate and safe care, the participant will also need to trust the provider to respect their money, property and privacy.
This is especially true for participants receiving care in their homes and who require a high level of day-to-day personal care and assistance for activities of daily living.
Unfortunately, there have been instances of people living with disabilities having their money and possessions stolen by the very people who had been trusted to care for them, with some participants even being targeted by organised crime.
However, appropriately managing participants’ finances and property means more than simply refraining from acts of caregiver theft. As an intruder into the participant’s personal space and life, you must actively ensure they feel secure and can maintain autonomy regarding their assets.
Participant money and property is a requirement of the NDIS Practice Standards under Core Module 4: Provision of Supports Environment.
This Practice Standard aims to ensure that NDIS participants’ assets are secure and can be used under the participant’s autonomy (NDIS 2020).
NDIS providers must meet the following quality indicators:
Exploitation (also known as financial abuse or economic abuse) involves the unauthorised, improper or illegal use of a participant’s money, property or assets for personal gain or the benefit of someone other than the participant (CDC 2020; RACGP 2014).
In some cases, care staff may perpetrate financial abuse against participants. Providers should be aware of the signs of financial abuse and have appropriate policies and procedures in place to manage incidents involving their staff.
Be mindful of participants who are frail, isolated or lonely, as they may be particularly vulnerable to exploitation (Nursing Home Abuse Center 2019).
Examples of exploitation include:
(National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care 2018; RACGP 2014; Seniors Rights Victoria 2012)
Signs of exploitation include:
(Nursing Home Abuse Center 2019)
Providers should be particularly careful about gifts from participants, as this may blur the lines of the professional relationship between the participant and worker, with ethical implications. For example, staff may be accused of exploitation, or participants (or their loved ones) may use gifts as leverage to ‘buy’ a higher quality level of care from their provider (Hall & Willcox 2016).
Providers should consider enacting policies and procedures about gifts in order to minimise the risk of exploitation or boundary-crossing. It may be worth considering:
(Hall & Willcox 2016)
Providers are obligated to ensure that participants’ assets are secure and investigate any allegations made towards their staff. They should:
(National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care 2018; Croner-i Limited 2012)
Participants may be encouraged to take protective measures such as:
Despite this, it is important to remember that providers are responsible for ensuring that their staff respect participants’ money and property.
Rumours or allegations of theft or exploitation should never be disregarded, even if the participant is confused or providing unreliable information (Croner-i Limited 2012).
NDIS Participants form a relationship with their care staff built upon the expectation that themselves and their assets will be safe and respected. Providers have the responsibility to maintain this trust and appropriately train their staff to ensure participants have full autonomy of their money and property and do not fall victim to exploitation.
Question 1 of 3
Sue's mother, Jan, has recently been admitted into a residential aged care facility. Sue worries about whether her mother will receive an adequate level of care, so she often gifts the nurses chocolates and flowers to ensure they will be friendly towards Jan. As a result of the frequent gifts, the nurses spend more time with Jan than any of the other residents. Who is at fault in this situation?
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