Mum of five and Carer Solutions Partner (client), Katrina Bartninkaitis, knows better than anyone just how difficult it can be to source and manage Support Workers.
Equally as complex and challenging, is finding people who genuinely connect and engage with her three young children – each living with multiple disabilities, as well as her husband John, who has early onset dementia. They all require ongoing, round the clock support.
Katrina needed a solution that enabled her to be in charge of who her Support Workers are, and when they are rostered on – all without the headache of becoming a mini Support Worker agency herself. She had been relying on agencies to find Support Workers for her, but it wasn’t working out for many reasons.
Often, she would need last minute care, but the agencies would take days – even weeks to approve shifts, and when a Support Worker finally did arrive, they would not understand the needs of her children, and often sat around on their phones, not engaging with them. This arrangement was unsustainable, and she knew she needed a better solution.
Katrina has been a Carer Solutions Partner for three years now, and she says it was a “game changer” for her and her family. Our Direct Employ model means parents like Katrina can formalise arrangements with people they already know and trust.
She has two sons with autism and ADHD, Xavier, 10 and Elliot, 12 who both have the same support workers accompany them to their after-school activities. They have a fantastic support worker who participates in the activities with them. “We even bought him a uniform so that he can do Taekwondo with them,” she said.
Katrina says that if it wasn’t for their support worker, her boys wouldn’t participate in the class – they’d just sit on the sidelines. “If the boys have any issues, he (their support worker) is right there with them,” she explains.
Katrina’s six-year-old daughter Lauren, who has cerebral palsy, epilepsy and ADHD, also attends Taekwondo and song and dance classes. Like her brothers, Lauren is getting so much more out of her activities, thanks to the high level of engagement and involvement of her support workers who also join in on her classes.
“That’s the joys of working with Carer Solutions, I have the flexibility to pick and choose the best team for my family. One of my elder son’s friends was looking for work, so we asked him to come on board as the boys’ support worker – and so he did. He is just amazing!” she explains.
Katrina and her family now have a team of 11 support workers who all know the family, and she can call on them as needed.
“All I have to do is send a group text message to my team, asking for a shift to be filled, and within five to ten minutes, it’s done! That’s the great benefit of working with Carer Solutions – I do the rosters, so I am in control of who comes into my home, and when.”
Katrina says her family are now even talking about the possibility of going on a family holiday together.
“That would never have been an option before coming onboard with Carer Solutions, I wouldn’t look back now – I have learnt so much from using their service.”