I write to you to kindly request that a review posted on Care Navigator for us at Lavender House Respite Care be considered by you to be deleted. The post I am referring to was posted 3 months ago by Kathleen Edwards.
We are the service provider she is posting a review about. Sadly her version of events are contrary to what has occurred and what the NDIS Quality and SafeGuards Commission has recorded and advised us on how to move forward.
We fully appreciate that there are always two sides to every story, we support full transparency and honesty in our company and our personal lives, but her post has deeply affected not only us personally but now our staff who we will go above and beyond to protect and support.
If you are not able to take this review down, we fully respect your decision but ask for the right to post a reply, if you could kindly post the below on our behalf it would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your consideration.
We write this reply with a heavy heart and were devastated to learn of the above post that was sent to us by one of the other families who use our service and cannot say enough positive things about the service we provide.
We fully respect everyone’s right to discuss openly and honestly their version of events, but we do feel there is always two sides to every story.
We sadly did have to let the above client know we were unable to provide the level of communication and administration support that she required. We made this very difficult decision for the welfare of our staff, our professional integrity and our personal mental health.
We supported this client on numerous occasions in late 2018 and received really positive feedback. Since then and throughout 2019, we have assisted her with her NDIS planning, replying to her messages on Facebook, emails, phone, text message and a number of face to face meetings on evenings, weekdays and weekends.
We do not charge, nor do we wish to charge for this service, this is something we wanted to do to help and support our past and future families to make the transition into NDIS just that little bit lighter and easier for her and all of our clients.
We were delighted when she reached out to let us know her son would be returning to access our short term accommodation and be assisted by our Care Team in his daily tasks.
There were many requests via email to ourselves and our Care Team, we welcome this communication so we can ensure we are providing the best possible support for our clients in our care.
At a celebratory event for our clients, (or ‘guests’ as we call them), Kathleen spoke to both my husband and I and told us what an amazing job we were doing and how happy her son was in our care, we were delighted to hear this feedback.
She was very surprised to learn that we had a baby that was born prematurely 10 weeks prior and I had been in hospital for the last six months due to health concerns for myself and our unborn child.
Kathleen then apologised at the high volume of communication she was sending, given my circumstances of working through my hospitalisation, the premature birth of our baby, our 5 week long stay in NICU and my husband working full time at our disability care service while caring for our eldest daughter at home without me.
I thanked her for her kind words, but did express while my husband may be busy while caring for our guests and can’t always reply to numerous emails, and our Care Team cannot always reply while her son is in their Care (unless it is safe to do so), I will always try to reply and meet every request if I am able to do so.
We were very sad to wake up the next morning to read an email that made the insinuation that my husband ‘didn’t care’ for her son or her ‘excessive communication’. We immediately called Kathleen to try and clear the air and resolve any misunderstanding that she may have had from our conversation the previous day.
Sadly we didn’t get speak to Kathleen during the day but she was texting to let us know how unhappy she was with us Invoicing her with the specific codes she provided and requested us to use, this is over and above any codes we normally use and out of the realm of the services we have provided for her or any client in the past as we made her aware.
When we did get to speak with Kathleen that evening at 7.30pm, she apologised for any misunderstanding and if her words in her email had upset us. She reiterated how happy she was with our service. We then suggested she may feel more comfortable with a service provider that can support her full time administration and communication needs. She said this was something that she didn’t want to do, and wanted her son to stay in our care as he was so happy and settled.
We came up with some solutions on communication moving forward to ensure that Kathleen was happy, and that we could ensure her sons needs were expressed and met by our Care Team.
Our Care Team then made us aware that hours after our phone call, another email was sent that posted us in a negative light. In addition, 7 emails were sent over the next 48 hours to a member of our Care Team.
This is something we asked Kathleen to be respectful of as our Care Team do not get paid for out-of-hours communication due to them having other full time jobs. We did originally put Kathleen in email contact with the member of our Care Team, (with their permission), who was happy to liaise directly with her to ensure she could go above and beyond to provide an excellent service for her son.
When the volume of emails, and timing during shifts with her son increased to a level that was unsustainable and unsafe to manage, we had to again request that Kathleen lower communication levels.
After more emails and the dialogue getting more negative, we had to make the very difficult decision to suspend care until we could work out a solution for our family-run business to cope with this level of administration and communication. In addition, the Care Team member expressed that they were unable to provide the level of communication and administration support in addition to her full time job that Kathleen needed, and would no longer be able to care for her son due to this fact.
When we again expressed to Kathleen that we felt she would be better supported with a service provider that could support her administration and communication needs, she made numerous requests to pay for our time. We again expressed that it was not a payment issue, we were happy to go above and beyond for our guests and their families, but in this instance given our personal circumstances and the feedback from our staff we felt we weren’t able to provide the service she needed.
Sadly the next we heard was from the NDIS Quality and SafeGuard Commission. We were delighted to hear that Kathleen had not made a complaint against us, but told them how happy she was with our service but was simply very upset we would not support her son in the interim. We reiterated to the Commission that we felt Kathleen would be better supported with a provider who could meet her high level of administration and communication needs.
The Commission advised us they would recommend a three week period where Kathleen did not communicate to us or our staff and give us time to work out a solution to consider being able to care for her son again, something we dearly wanted to do. The Commission explained they were advising this also to give Kathleen an opportunity to investigate other service providers that could meet her needs.
Over the next 12-24 hours our Care Team received further emails, which sadly started to get quite passive aggressive about using work emails etc, and again requesting to pay for their administration time.
This is when we called the Commission back to get their advice, the person we spoke to directly advised us to cease all communication and seek legal advice if it continued.
As a family run business, and going through our own personal struggles last year while setting up our disability service the last thing we wanted to do was to go down that path with someone who until 10 days ago could not have said kinder and more supportive things about our service.
We also didn’t want to cease all communication for the welfare of her son. So we simply emailed to request again to have the three weeks that the commission advised to try and find a solution, due to the volume and tone of the communication after the first request, we did pass on what the Commission had advised us to do legally should we need to.
The whole situation has deeply upset us and our staff. We set up our family run disability service to help and support families and individuals, we have had every single one of our clients tell us what an amazing job we are doing, including Kathleen.
Normally we wouldn’t reply to a review due to never wishing to speak publicly about our guests or services, as we hold their privacy to highest standard and put this first above all. However we do feel we owe it to our amazing Care Team to defend their work and our family-run business, as allegations like the above can put us out of business and would then as a result leave our Care Team unemployed, and our happy guests and families unsupported.
We have had several of our clients message us to reassure us after reading this review, that the service we provide goes above and beyond and have changed their lives for the better.
We thank you all for reading and appreciating there are always two sides to a story. Family run disability services like ourselves work tirelessly to help support and care for the beautiful community that we are all apart of. We often do it without thanks or praise, (although we fully appreciate how lucky we are with so many clients singing our praises), all we ask for in return is respect and honesty.
– Simone Burke, Associate Director of Lavender House Respite Care
I do hope we are able to come to a resolution with this so I may pass on the result to Simone and the care team. If you could let me know either way what your decision is, that would be very much appreciated.
Manager of Digital Media & Marketing
Lavender House Respite Care
| Lavender Co Pty Ltd | ABN 73 625 283 276
| Trading as Lavender House Respite Care |