Optimising engagement in psychosocial care: A review of St Mary’s House of Welcome’s NDIS psychosocial program

St Mary’s House of Welcome’s project sought to explore the drivers of, and barriers to, participant engagement with their NDIS program delivered to adults with a psychosocial disability.

This project saw the ACU research team working collaboratively with the partner agency staff throughout the design and delivery of the project. ACU academic staff co-designed the research questions and methodological approach with St Mary's staff and utilised participatory action research to engage service users as 'participant-consultants'. This provided staff and service users an opportunity to help shape the framework that was developed to improve engagement in the program.

The report found that there were a range of personal and service-level barriers determining the extent to which clients were able to engage with the program. Personal barriers included memory problems, the effects of substance use, schedule clashes, and social stigmas attached to psychosocial disability. Service-level barriers included disruption to relationships caused by staff turnover, perceptions of safety and the type or timing of available activities. Service users and staff reported that potential drivers to and benefits of engagement included greater inclusivity and choice in activities, as well as opportunities to develop stable routines, increased emotional connection, and independence.

The barriers to and facilitators of engagement in the program will add to the evidence base regarding barriers to participation in psychosocial care programs-a little navigated area-and help St Mary's and other NDIS providers to work with their staff and service users to build improvements into engagement for their programs.

Optimising engagement in psychosocial care: A review of St Mary's House of Welcome's NDIS psychosocial program

St Mary's House of Welcome

Project team
  • Ms Robina Bradley - Chief Executive Officer, St Mary's House of Welcome
  • Mr Brian Reilly - Senior Support Worker, St Mary's House of Welcome
  • Ms Kirsty Pleiter - Manager NDIS Program, St Mary's House of Welcome
  • Professor Sara Bayes - School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, ACU
  • Mr Benjamin Coyte - School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine, ACU
  • Dr Jill Cox, ACU Engagement
  • Ms Vivien Cinque, ACU Engagement

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