Pandemic doubles demand for MyCareSpace’s support for people with disabilities
A social enterprise and national online platform connecting people living with a disability with service providers, has experienced a significant surge in demand for its services and resources during the coronavirus pandemic.
This effort from MyCareSpace highlighted a dire need among people with disabilities, their families and carers to access supports, guidance and up-to-date information from the NDIS.
Led by Founder and CEO, Nicole Gamerov FCA, and Chief Operating Officer, Bianca Shapiro, MyCareSpace was founded after seeing a significant need for people with disabilities to find easy to understand information about the NDIS, their funding options and available supports. During the coronavirus pandemic, demand for these services has dramatically increased.
Gamerov explained, “During the pandemic, it’s even more isolating for people living with a disability who may experience mobility issues, increased vulnerabilities or heightened levels of anxiety. We help these people to continue to do basic things the rest of us take for granted like showering, preparing meals and shopping for food. This can be much harder for vulnerable people or people living with a disability. We provide support so people don’t feel abandoned and completely disconnected from our community.”
MyCareSpace saw144% increase in requests for connections year on year between April to August. Over 50% of the total number of referrals for 2020 have occurred in the last three months, when the pandemic has been at its peak. The number of phone calls to MyCareSpace’s support line year on year during the pandemic doubled. There was 30% increase in website traffic since the pandemic and lockdowns in March 2020.
The increased demand has been driven by a greater need for a range of services and supports, including supports for shopping, personal care and staying connected with the community. There has also been an increase in demand for recovery coaches, which is one of the most positive changes the NDIS recently introduced for people with psychosocial disabilities.
A new report by Every Australian Counts, titled “Left Out and Locked Down”, found that of the people living with a disability they surveyed, 32% said their costs had gone through the roof, 20% said they couldn’t find anyone to provide services, and 17% said their services had stopped altogether.
Gamerov continued, “It’s not surprising when you hear those kinds of statistics that COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of our business as more people need help finding disability providers and need support understanding the COVID-19 information released by the NDIS.”
During the pandemic, MyCareSpace has also seen an increased need among smaller disability service providers to market themselves online. With in-person networking and events opportunities no longer available, many providers are struggling to let their communities know they are still open for business.
Gamerov said, “We’ve seen a significant growth in providers wanting to partner with MyCareSpace and use our platform to market themselves online. We have 9,000 listed providers, and a community of people with disabilities, families, carers, support coordinators and LACs in the thousands and our team are making hundreds of referrals each month, and these numbers are growing every day. We are looking to recruit to help us keep up with the demand.”