Expanding Horizons: A Peek Inside the Transformative Journey of Unify

Asha Neil

Written on 27 September, 2023
Unify has grown from a modest behavioural support business to an extensive support network reaching across Australia. Their recent expansion into Queensland is just the tip of the iceberg. We spoke with Tiegan Martin, Unify’s Business Development Manager, about the journey so far.

Meet Unify

The story of Unify Disability Services starts with Michael Tawdrous, a registered psychologist with a keen eye for quality. Unify was established in 2020, and its roots were grounded firmly in psychology and behaviour support. It quickly expanded to include a range of services, such as community access and home support, even recently extending its services across Queensland. 

Their in-person services are complemented by their expansive telehealth services, reaching across Australia to assist individuals in locations like Tasmania and South Australia. At its core, the organisation strives to offer an extraordinary support network that understands and caters to the unique needs of every individual they serve.

A Growing Team with a Passion for Making a Difference

Unify's dedication to high quality care is rooted in a genuine love for the industry and a desire to help participants achieve their goals. Their approach is characterised by a robust person-centered model, which respects and nurtures the autonomy and dignity of each participant. As the team at Unify sets sights on broader horizons, with ambitions of establishing offices across every state and territory. Their recent expansion into Queensland marks a significant milestone in their journey. The new team, consisting of a practice manager, a behaviour support practitioner, and psychologists, is geared up to replicate the success and ethos of Unify in a new state.

This expansion reflects not just growth in terms of geography but is a testament to their dedication to reaching out to more individuals, touching more lives, and making a positive difference on a larger scale. It's not just about offering support; Tiegan says. It's about helping participants grow, fostering a sense of independence, and focusing on their abilities rather than their disabilities. This strength-based approach has roots in personal experiences and a keen understanding of the potential gaps and limitations in the services available in various regions, especially in regional areas where the services might be sparse.

How ShiftCare Helped Transform Unify's Business Operations

In today's fast-paced and increasingly digital landscape, having the right systems in place can be a game-changer for any organisation, especially for those in the healthcare and disability support sector. For Unify, ShiftCare has played a significant role in its exponential growth and operational efficiency since its inception in 2020. “ShiftCare has been our trusted CRM system at Unify since the very beginning. The reason is that it's been able to consistently meet our needs and expectations as we have grown”, says Tiegan.

The commitment Unify had to using an advanced CRM from day one underscores the pivotal role ShiftCare has played in supporting Unify as the business scaled rapidly from a one-person organisation to a team of over 100 members. One of the most significant contributions of ShiftCare to Unify’s operations is the efficiency it brings to staff management. The platform’s Job Board feature is especially useful for rapidly assigning shifts. “If participants are calling up, and they need a shift in two hours' time, we can just post it to the job board and someone is able to apply for that shift,” says Tiegan. This feature not only saves valuable time but also ensures that care is put into the process of finding the most suitable support worker to be assigned to a participant.

From an administrative perspective, ShiftCare has simplified many tasks that once consumed significant time and resources. Tiegan stated, "It's definitely clear how much admin time it reduces." 

Moreover, the platform's built-in features support not only business operations but also compliance. With progress notes "Our support workers are actually prompted and required to write their notes before they clock out," noted Tiegan, adding that this is "really good from an auditing perspective, as well as maintaining progress for participants." It ensures that Unify maintains a high standard of record-keeping, which in turn strengthens its relationships with support coordinators and participants, particularly when it's time for plan reviews or updates.

Navigating Challenges and Advocating for a More Inclusive Approach

While the team at Unify acknowledges the positive strides made since the establishment of the NDIS, it also recognises that there's still a long road ahead. There are inherent challenges in the system, with participants often finding themselves having to continually prove their disability to access the support they need. This deficit-based approach tends to focus more on the limitations rather than recognising and fostering the capabilities of the individuals.

Unify strongly advocates for a more streamlined process, which would ensure that only individuals and organisations genuinely committed to enhancing the quality of support services enter the sector. The call is for a greater focus on professional development, early education, and prevention initiatives, coupled with efforts to enhance the understanding of participants about the nuances of NDIS, empowering them to derive the maximum benefits from it.

A Journey of Growth and Transformation

Unify's journey is a remarkable story of growth, expansion, and a commitment to enhancing the quality of life for its participants. With ambitious growth plans, Unify counts on ShiftCare to adapt and evolve along with them. The platform’s flexibility and scalability mean that as Unify grows, ShiftCare is right there to meet the new challenges head-on. "It's very clear that Unify has expanded quite rapidly in the last few years, and ShiftCare has been able to continuously provide that support to us and meet the expectations of the growth," Tiegan adds.

As they continue on their transformative journey, Unify can only anticipate greater strides and a deepening impact, promising a brighter, more inclusive future for all. It's indeed an exciting trajectory, a journey marked by unity in efforts and the aspiration to touch more lives, foster greater connections, and build a community where everyone is empowered to realise their true potential.

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