Interchange’s Values Driven Approach to Dignity of Risk

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Executive Manager People and Culture, Nicki Dyson and Quality and Safeguarding Lead, Rosemarie Dravnieks were invited to share Interchange’s values driven approach to dignity of risk at the NDS Virtual Conference 2021. Let’s have a look at a few key points from their presentation.

Interchange Values

Interchange is a values driven organisation and our values reflect in everything we do.

Individuality – valuing people, staff, partners and services.
Individuality is at the heart of our organisation. We listen, and actively strive to provide flexible, tailored services to assist people to achieve their personal goals.

Respect – valuing choice, culture, and diversity.
Everyone is equal and has the right to lead a good life. Through open communication, embracing diversity and valuing choice we respect every person all the time.

Empowerment – valuing abilities, goals, and learning.
People are entitled to make their own choices. We bring our experience and understanding when called upon. We know when to step up and when to stand back, so everyone has a chance to shine.

Belonging – valuing relationships and shared places
Like peas in a pod, we are all the same at heart, and we belong together. Our community is one of acceptance and strength where everyone has a valuable contribution to make. Together we are stronger. Together we form a community of acceptance and opportunity.

Our Value-based Recruitment

Without our employees we would not be able to do the things we do. We value our people, we listen, and we share their stories. We look for growth, development opportunities and career progression.

Our employee journey starts with values-based recruitment. We have a tailored induction program as part of a 6-month probationary period and we have iSupport strategies to ensure our employees have opportunities for reflection, learning and support.

Throughout their Interchange journey, we offer our teams access to timely and up to date information via technology to make their support roles more efficient and provide ongoing training opportunities. We keep an open ear about concerns that arise and offer help with any challenges they may face through a familiar Neighborhood support team around them.

How does Interchange manage Risk?

When joining Interchange as a new customer we identify the person’s strengths, what they would like to achieve, their needs, and potential risks. We closely look at the person’s individual plans, such as medication, positive behaviour support and risk management, and consider their individual requirements, employee training requirements and funding available to provide safe and effective supports. This identification of risks and hazards is not only limited to the person we support but also their close contacts.

The information we gather is saved in our Customer Record System and accessible to the person’s support staff. All Interchange employees are matched and inducted before supporting a customer, to ensure they have the skills, competencies to understand any specific needs the person might have. Support plans, case notes and incident reports are continuously updated and accessible to employees in real time to ensure quality services are provided.

The Importance of Understanding Restrictive Practice

A Restrictive Practice is any practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability. These include seclusion, chemical restraint, mechanical restraint, physical restraint, and environmental restraint.

Read more about Restrictive Practices HERE.

To assure quality and compliance of any Restrictive Practice, every plan proposal for the people we support is reviewed by an external Quality Assurance Panel. Until this step is finalised a Restrictive Practice remains unauthorised. There is also ongoing training and supervision of staff to ensure they are familiar with the plan and know how to implement strategies.

The overall aim remains to reduce the use of Restrictive Practices.

Duty of Care & Dignity of Risk – a Balancing Act.

Educating Interchange employees in a variety of skills, is the key to help them understand the balance between risk and choice. Here at Interchange, we always reassure all Support Workers that asking for help, if there are any questions or cases of uncertainty, is always encouraged.

It is not only Interchange employees that require information, but we also often find that people we support and their families can be confused and require reassurance. This assures that any differences in legality, regarding Restrictive Practices, Duty of Care & Dignity of Risk are properly understood.

The goal always is to find a balance between your Duty of Care and Dignity of Risk. Our top priority is, and remains, the customer’s choice and control as well as their safety!  Rosemarie Dravnieks

If you have any questions about this topic, please contact us at

Duty of Care and Dignity of Risk – Sharon’s Story

Sharon is a young Aboriginal woman in her late 20’s. Sharon had a troubled youth, struggled with violence and ended up being incarcerated in 2017. After two years in prison Interchange were asked to support Sharon in her transition out of prison life. She was released with restrictions and needed support staff with her 24 hours per day 7 days a week.

Our first assessment showed that Sharon required a lot of assistance to manage her relationships, with fear and anxiety, and strategies to defuse anger and stress, and with her personal care. Behaviours of concern such as drugs, harm to herself and others, were identified and,with the assistance of immediate family, behaviour practitioners and the justice department, an individualised team around her was created.

Once Sharon trusted her team, they advocated that they were not required as much and her ratio of staff was reduced, which made Sharon very proud. This gave her more control, privacy and independence and helped her to work towards more normality in her life. From originally being housebound, the team encouraged Sharon to get out and about and Sharon started visiting Kings Park. She feels a strong connection to her Aboriginal heritage at this place. She now paints and creates artwork and uses public transport to get around visiting local parks, the city, and beaches.

The team also supported Sharon in reconnecting with her family, and her family life has improved tremendously. She is in touch with her grandmother through daily phone calls and visits her each fortnight.

She is part of her local community, continues to work with her support team on developing her own social relationships, friendships and confidence and is working on joining the local basketball team.

Sharon’s team received the Hesta award 2020 for the successes they achieved together.