Activities for Supported Independent Living (SIL) Accommodation Services

The 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide introduced significant changes to the way that Supports for SIL are structured. 

The Unit of Measure (UOM) for the majority of Support Items related to Supported Independent Living (SIL) and providing assistance in a shared living arrangement, is now an 'Hour', rather than the previous UOM of a 'Week'.  Many providers, however, still find it more efficient to create week-long Activities in SupportAbility to manage these Support Items. Multiple Staff shifts can also be added to the week-long Activity to reflect your organisation's Staff Roster. 

Whilst adding multiple Staff Shifts and multiple Allocations per Client per Activity does take some time initially to set each Activity up accurately, it is well worth the investment, as these initial Activities and their configuration can be replicated to create future occurrences.

Once these Activities have been set up, Staff Rosters can be filled as required, the weekly invoicing process can be managed effectively and the Staff Members who work in each residence throughout the week can add Client Journals & Goal evidence directly to the Activity to capture important information related to their shift. Multiple Client Journals may be added to Activities and there is no limit to how many entries can be associated. Staff Members can also complete their Staff Time Sheet Sign Off as required. 

This article provides detailed information relating to how a week-long Activity can be set up for each residence, the considerations which will need to be taken into account for these Activities to accurately reflect your organisation's Staff Rosters, adding Client Journals and viewing Staff Rosters. 

Audience: Team Leaders, and anyone tasked with creating Activities for an Accommodation or SIL Service.


Summary

The following list summarises the content within this article. Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections:


Prerequisites

  • We recommend reviewing the Managing Staff Shifts article, linked below, prior to commencing this process to become familiar with some of the foundation features associated with setting up Staff shifts. 
  • Staff require the privileges to manage Activities in order to set these up. Please see the Privileges required to manage Activities article linked below for more information. 
  • It is also important to understand how Activity Replication works in SupportAbility prior to creating an Activity Set once the initial Activity has been set up. We recommend reviewing the Replicating Activities article for a comprehensive overview of this functionality. 

Set Up

Considerations for creating week-long Activities

When planning how to best configure a week-long Activity there are some important considerations that must be determined prior to commencement:

  • The different houses/residences which will be using week-long Activities 
    • Separate Activities are recommended for each residence. These Activities include the Clients receiving this Service, as well as the Staff Members who work here, with separate Staff shifts determining the Staff Member's Roster.
  • The structure of the Staff Roster for each residence
    • The way in which Staff Rosters are managed for each residence will determine how to best set up these week-long Activities.
      • If the same Staff shifts are repeated every week, this is managed by replicating the Activities weekly.
      • When using a rotating Staff Roster, separate Activities will need to be created for each Roster pattern, then each of these can be replicated according to the corresponding time-frame e.g. a separate Activity for 'week 1' and a separate Activity 'week 2' for a fortnightly rotating Staff Roster.
  • The number of Staff shifts contained within the week period 
    • This number will be used in the setup process to create the relevant number of Staff shifts in the Activity, 'To Be Filled'. 
    • For example, calculate the number of shifts/day, including any split shifts, and be mindful of any differences between weekdays and weekends, then multiply this number by 7 days, or as applicable.
  • The Staff shifts which are regularly filled by permanent Staff
    • Where Staff Members regularly work the same shifts, these Staff can be added to these shifts prior to replicating the Activity. 
  • The changeable Staff shifts determined at each Roster cycle or filled by casual Staff
    • In cases such as this, these Staff shifts can be left as 'TO BE FILLED' in SupportAbility prior to replicating the Activity, to provide flexibility whereby the relevant Staff are only added as needed.
    • For example, prior to each Roster cycle i.e. each month. 
  • The times of each of these Staff shifts 
    • Once the Activity has been created, each Staff shift will need to be configured for the relevant Dates and Times. 
  • The Day and Time of the week to commence the weekly Activity 
    • We have found what works consistently well is coinciding the commencement of the Activity with the start time of the first Staff shift on a particular day of the week, and finishing with the exact same time and day, seven days later. 
    • For example, Sunday 6.00 am to Sunday 6.00 am.

This information will be critical in assisting you in setting up Activities for each of your organisation's residences. 

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Create a week-long Activity

Begin by navigating to the Dashboard and selecting the + button next to 'Activities':

Service and Site

Select the relevant Service e.g. Supported Independent Living (SIL), at the relevant Site e.g. Smith House:


Activity Dates and Times

Set the From Date: to correspond with your chosen day of the week e.g. Sunday

Set the  To Date: to exactly 7 days following the start date e.g. Sunday

Select the  From Time: to correspond with the commencement time of the first shift for this period e.g. 6.30 am

Select the  To Time: to correspond with the end time of the last shift for this week

Activity Details

Add the Activity (Name) e.g. SIL, Location e.g. Smith House, and (if relevant) the Program e.g. Housing, then select 'Next: Add Staff':

N.B. 'Program' will only be available to select from if this has been configured for your organisation. Please see the Activity Program List article linked below for more information. 

Number of shifts per week

Enter the total number of Staff shifts required for the week-long Activity in the field provided for 'Staff positions to be filled later'.

For example, calculate the number of Staff shifts per day (5) x the number of days per week (7) = 35 shifts:

If however, the number of shifts per day varies between weekdays and weekends, the number of required shifts might be calculated something like the following: the number of shifts per weekday (5) x the relevant number of weekdays (5), plus the number of shifts per weekend day (3) x the relevant number of weekend days (2):  25 + 6 = 31 shifts.

N.B. Individual Staff will be added to the relevant shifts once the Activity has been created, and all shifts for the week have been customised. Additional Staff shifts may be added from the Staff section of the Activity as required. 

Clients

Next, add the relevant Clients who participate in this Service at this residence.  

N.B. Only those Clients who have this Service and Site listed in the 'Client Service Participation' section of their Client record will be visible for selection:

Client Conflicts

When adding Clients to a week-long Activity it is not uncommon to see Client Conflict alerts (e.g. Clashing Activities) displayed in the 'Availability' column. This is due to the fact that Clients participating in the Accommodation Service are often also participating in other Services (e.g Day Services) during this week-long period.

Client Conflicts can be reviewed by selecting the down arrow to display the relevant Activities:   

However, they can be ignored when creating an Activity for the SIL Service and do not prevent you from adding the Client to the SIL Activity.  'Client Conflict Detection' can be deactivated for the SIL Service to prevent alerts for existing SIL Activities displaying when creating an Activity for other Services. 

More information is available in the Client Conflicts article, linked below for your reference

Once the relevant Clients have been added to the Activity wizard, select 'Next: Confirm':

Review the Activity configuration

Once 'Next: Confirm' has been selected the 'Add a new Activity' window will open displaying a preview of the previously selected configuration.  Review the Activity Details, number of 'Staff positions to be filled later,' and participating Clients. If any adjustments need to be made, you may go back to a previous step in the workflow, using the back button. Once all details are correct, select the 'Add Activity' button:

Then select 'View/Edit new Activity', which will navigate you to the Activity record: 

N.B. The Warning bar at the top of the page will display Warnings regarding the Staff Roster e.g. '35 Staff positions to be filled', and Client Conflicts e.g. '8 Client Conflicts'. Whilst these Warnings appear in red, there is no action required, it is for informational purposes only.

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Customise Staff Shift Times

When the Activity is first created the Staff Member for each shift displays as 'TO BE FILLED':

The 'TO BE FILLED' functionality is helpful for managing Rosters in several ways:

  • providing flexibility to add Staff to shifts prior to each Roster cycle 
  • helpful for restricting or limiting Staff visibility of future shifts, if and when required.
Permanent Staff

When Staff are regularly working the same shifts, these Staff can be added to the relevant shifts in the Activity, and the Activity then replicated.  This means that all future-dated Activities will automatically include these Staff associated with these shifts. 

Casual or changeable shifts

Changeable shifts where the Staff Member continually varies e.g. for Casual Staff are recommended to be left as TO BE FILLED prior to the Activity being replicated. These shifts can then be filled as required prior to each Roster cycle.

Customising Staff Shifts

Once the Activity has been created the number of Staff shifts (e.g. 35) will be listed as 'TO BE FILLED' as entered in the Activity wizard during the setup process:

Each Staff shift will need to be customised to reflect the Dates and Times the shifts occur within this weekly period. To do this select the 'Customise Time' button:

Once the 'Customise Time' button has been selected, the From and To Date and Time fields will display:  

By default, all Staff shifts align with the From and To Dates and Times of the Activity e.g 6:30 am 6th of December, 2020 - 6:30 am 13th of December, 2020.

Each Staff shift will need to be customised, entering the From and To Dates and Times to accurately reflect each shift. Permanent Staff who work regular shifts can also be entered:

N.B. The last shift for each day will generally finish at the commencement time of the following day's shift, however, the times may overlap for a period to provide an opportunity for a handover:

The Activity Staff Report is a useful report to help identify Staff shifts that are set to 'TO BE FILLED'. Please see the Activity Staff Report article linked below for more information. 

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Programs of Support

Programs of Support is an option in conjunction with the SIL Supports introduced in the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide. A feature is available in SupportAbility to record the relevant Clients' participation as part of a ‘Program of Support’ (PoS) in the Activities they are scheduled into:

When set, Short Notice Cancellations are not triggered for the applicable Support Items. Given Programs of Support are only relevant for specific Supports, this feature is configurable by Service in System Preferences as required.

If your organisation is choosing to use Programs of Support, we recommend reviewing the   Programs of Support article, linked below to understand what functionality is available to assist with this in SupportAbility for the applicable new SIL and other Group Supports.

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Client Funding

In order to Allocate the relevant Supports, the required Supports must be available in the relevant Client NDIS Direct Funding records. 

Where a Client has a Flexible Category Budget for 0001, the new Supports will be available to select in the NDIS Support Allocations window in the Activity record already (provided the 2020/21 - July 1st Price Guide is set to being in use).

For Client's with Support Item Budgets, the relevant new Supports required for Allocation will need to be added to their Funding record e.g.

  • 01_801_0115_1_1 - Assistance in Supported Independent Living - Standard - Weekday Daytime
  • 01_802_0115_1_1 - Assistance in Supported Independent Living - Standard - Weekday Evening
  • 01_804_0115_1_1 - Assistance in Supported Independent Living - Standard - Saturday
  • 01_805_0115_1_1 - Assistance in Supported Independent Living - Standard - Sunday
  • 01_832_0115_1_1 - Assistance in Supported Independent Living - Night-Time Sleepover


It is important to note that if a defined Budget is not available due to the transition, then these Supports can be set up with a $0 Budget in order to be utilised as required given Support Items must include a Budget if no Flexible Budget is available in the Funding record for the parent Category e.g. 0001 in order to be available for Allocation:


The 'Adding a Support Item' section of the  Adding an NDIS Direct Client Funding record article may be of further assistance in regards to adding these Supports to the Client's Funding record as required. This has been linked below for reference. 

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Allocating Supports

Once these Supports are available in the Client's Funding record, they can be Allocated in the relevant Activities. 

NDIS Supports may prepopulate in the NDIS Support Allocations window with a zero quantity and be displayed in grey when: 

  • the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record has been set up to include NDIS Support Items, or 
  • Supports have been Allocated in Activities for this Client historically

The 'Add Support Item' field allows you to search for the Supports you wish to allocate. Simply type in the name or the 'Reference Number' of the Item required e.g. 01_805_0115_1_1

Select the relevant Supports, enter the 'Quantity' for each, and select the 'Portion' as required:

N.B. The NDIS Support Allocations displayed above is for demonstration purposes only. We understand that the allocation of Supports for this Service will in reality be further nuanced for each Client and provider.

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Portion of Price

The 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide specifies that providers must divide the price of certain Supports by the number of participants in the group. The relevant portion for these Supports must, therefore, be selected for each Client in the NDIS Support Allocation window of Activities, when this price guide is in use. This automatically apportions the price of this Support and calculates the total value based on this:

Please see the  Apportioning the Price of the required Group Supports article, linked below for reference, for more information.

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Charging for different Claim Types

A single Support Item e.g. 01_801_0115_1_1 can be allocated multiple times to ensure different Claim Types can be charged, such as Standard Service, Non-Face-to-Face Support Provision (NF2F), and/or any Irregular SIL Supports that need to be claimed:

In the above example, 01_801_0115_1_1 - Assistance in Supported Independent Living - Standard - Weekday Daytime has been added three times, but each Allocation has a different Claim Type. 

  1. Reflects the Non-Face-to-Face Support Provision component of the service delivery, given it is now a requirement to separate out the NF2F charges when using these Supports.
    1. Please see the Non-Face-To-Face Support Provision article linked below for more information regarding this
  2. Reflects the hours for Irregular SIL Supports needing to be claimed (however, you may wish to include these in a separate Activity if you wish to keep these separate)
  3. Covers the Standard Service delivery component for the week. Each of these Supports needs the relevant portion of service delivery to be selected, in this case, 1:3 (with the exception of NF2F)
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Adding Irregular SIL Supports

As mentioned above, the 'Irregular SIL Supports' Claim Type can be selected for the relevant Supported Independent Living NDIS Support Allocations as required:

N.B. The 'Irregular SIL Supports' Claim Type can be selected for the relevant Supports, provided the '2020/21 - December 1st Update', or subsequent NDIS Price Guide is in use for the Client as per their Price Guide Transition settings.  Please see the NDIS Price Guide Transition article linked below for more information regarding this.

This can be added to existing Activities by adding the relevant Support Item again and then changing the Claim Type. Or, Irregular SIL Supports can be managed in separate Activities as deemed required.

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Replicate Activities

Depending on the structure of your organisation's Roster for this Service, the week-long Activity can be replicated as follows. 

N.B. The Replicate Activities process has been updated in the upgrade to SupportAbility v7.7 (April 2021), the most up-to-date information about how to replicate Activities is outlined in detail in the Replicating Activities article linked below for reference.

Replicating Repeating Rosters

If the Staff Roster is the same every week then this Activity can simply be replicated for the required period.

To do so, when choosing to Replicate the Activity, select: 

  • Repeats: Weekly 
  • Repeats Every: '1' Weeks

Replicating Rotating Rosters

If your organisation's Accommodation Service operates on a rotating Roster basis the Activity can be replicated as follows.

Fortnightly

Begin by creating two separate Activities each reflecting the different Rosters for week 1 and week 2. For example, week 1 might commence the 6th - 13th of December and week 2 the 13th - 20th of December. Once each week's Roster has been set up, the separate Activities can then be replicated to repeat every second week.  

To do so, when choosing to Replicate each Activity, select: 

  • Repeats: Weekly 
  • Repeats Every: '2' Weeks 

This will create a parallel set of Activities that will reflect the correct Staff Roster across all future weeks whilst maintaining continuity of Service for each Client. 

Monthly

Begin by creating four separate Activities each reflecting the different Rosters for week 1, 2, 3 & 4. For example, week 1 might commence 6th - 13th of Dec, week 2 the 13th - 20th of Dec, week 3 the 20th Dec - 27th Dec, and week 4 the 3rd - 10th of Jan. Once the Rosters have been set up for each week in the separate Activities, they can be replicated to repeat every four weeks.  

To do so, when choosing to Replicate the Activity, select: 

  • Repeats: Weekly
  • Repeats Every: '4' Weeks 

This will create four separate sets of Activities that will reflect the correct Staff Roster across all future weeks whilst maintaining continuity of Service for each Client. 

N.B.  Activities can be replicated on a monthly basis for up to 12 months, on a weekly basis for up to 6 months and daily for up to 3 months.

Should you wish to replicate beyond these limits then you can open the last recurrence in the set and replicate a new set of Activities from there. You will need to ensure that the 'Replications are related to this activity' setting is selected to link the two replicated sets.

More information about how to replicate Activities is outlined in detail in the  Replicating Activities article linked below.

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Operations

Viewing Staff Rosters

Once Staff shifts have been filled with the relevant Staff, this information will be available and visible to Staff working those Shifts, and to Staff with high-level access to these Activities. 

Staff can view their own Roster by navigating to the Dashboard and selecting Roster:

Whilst the Accommodation Activities have been created for a week-long period, the Staff Roster will only reflect the shift times that Staff Members have been added to:

Print, Email or Subscribe a Roster

The Roster may be printed, emailed, or subscribed to via webcal for Outlook, iCal or Gmail.  The print and email versions of the Roster have the option to include additional information which is not displayed onscreen, such as the Activity Location, Replicating Staff Notes, and non-Replicating Staff Notes as entered in the Activity.

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Adding Client Journals

Multiple Client Journals can be added for Clients, thereby facilitating Journal evidence to align with the different Staff shifts throughout the week-long Activity.

Pertinent information such as the authoring Staff Member's name or initials, along with the subject area of the Journal content can be added in the Journal Title so it is readily identifiable at a glance:

N.B. The authoring Staff Member's name is automatically recorded in the 'Author' field within the 'Journal Notes' section, however, it may be helpful for your organisation for Staff to include their initials in the Journal Title as well. The date the Journal was written will automatically display in the Journal Summary. 

Journal Templates for specific Journal Types can be configured in System Preferences to encourage the inclusion of relevant and important data when Staff are entering information in the Journal 'Notes'.

More information relating to configuring Journal Templates and Journal Types is outlined in detail in the  Client Journals article, linked below.

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