|At Mycare, we’re a pretty knowledgeable bunch. Take Gabi Zundorf, for example. A Mycare Customer Success Representative, a current Mycare client and a former Mycare contractor, she really understands the ins and outs.|
“I have a counselling background and two disabled children, Joshua and James, although James has passed away. I’ve also worked for a supported employment agency and for Disability Connect, which is where I first heard about Mycare.
After I left Disability Connect, I needed some extra cash, so I thought I’d post an ad on Mycare to offer my services as a cleaner, and ended up being hired by a Mycare staff member. We got to talking and she found out how much I knew about the disability sector and suggested I keep my eyes and ears open because there might be a job opening – and now, here I am!
On the platform we’ve got clients looking for home help and workers looking for jobs. I look more after the client side of things and often those who use the disability support services.
I’ve also put a listing up on Mycare myself, to find a buddy for Joshua. He’s 22 and can’t walk or talk, so he’s highly dependent on others. He’s been in residential care for the past six years, and if I can support that care by organising people to take him out in the weekends, I can improve his quality of life and make sure he isn’t just sitting at home.
From a user point of view, with Mycare you’ve got such a great pool of people to tap into. For many years as a parent I’d been reliant on agencies, and there are only so many workers listed with agencies, but there are many more people out in the community who can do the work. In Joshua’s case, what’s important for me isn’t having someone with a qualification, it’s finding the right person to push his wheelchair – and that could be anybody.
With Mycare, it’s so easy and straight-forward, and the flexibility is great – you’re not relying on an agency to send somebody and if that person is sick send somebody else who you’ve never met before. You can create your own pool of people that you can call on any time, if that’s what you want. You’re in charge.
I’ve got the listing running so people can respond to that, or I can see who’s suitable in the area and contact them myself. I can do that online wherever I am, and then when I come to interview them, I can do so by phone at first or even use Skype. It’s great for people who are elsewhere in the country or the world and wanting to organise someone here.
When I look back at how the system has changed in New Zealand, from the service model, to individualised funding, to employment as an individualised funding holder, and then contracting, it’s an evolution – and I see Mycare as the next step. The way the government is going is all about greater choice and flexibility – and this is exactly what Mycare offers.
For clients, it’s just so much easier. If you hire a worker as a contractor with Mycare, the worker pays a service fee that covers their insurance, and we cover workers’ withholding tax too. A lot of people who use individualised funding will get audited at some point, and with Mycare you have an audit trail. All of the hours you’ve booked with somebody, all the hours you’ve paid out – it’s all here; basically at the press of a button, the report can be generated. And you don’t have to worry about payment either. You just book somebody, and when the work is done, the worker presses ‘submit’ and Mycare automatically generates the payment.
The disability sector talks about choice and control, and particularly about self-management, and Mycare walks the talk. The best thing about my job is being able to speak to people about what’s possible for them. Some people aren’t comfortable with individualised funding yet and might not even have applied for it, so I can talk them through that process as well as the Mycare system. With my boys I’ve always contracted workers, so I understand that, and having used Mycare as a worker, I know that side as well.
Being a counsellor, the human connection is really important for me – I listen to people’s stories and their struggles and have real empathy. My lived experience with disability on a personal and professional level means I can truly relate to anyone who’s feeling overwhelmed and guide them towards feeling empowered.”