When Andrew Campbell was diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier this year, his wife Jodie soon realised she needed help.
Mr Campbell was living with multiple sclerosis and had started using a wheelchair in October last year.
To treat the cancer, Mr Campbell recently underwent months of chemo and radiation therapy. He's soon due to have surgery to remove half of his bowel.
In addition to those challenges, Mr and Mrs Campbell's primary school aged son has a physical disability which he needs assistance to manage.
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To help the family out, Mrs Campbell started looking for a disability support worker in January.
"Andrew has been suffering these side effects [like] exhaustion, an an inability to sleep, which means he can't get out of bed like he used to," she explained.
"Of a morning I'm getting lunches, I'm having a shower, I'm getting ready for my own work. It's a bit hard to assist my son with his showering, putting on his leg braces, his knee braces and dealing with things like the rub marks that do occur that need to be padded.
"Andrew's not in a position to be able to physically assist anymore."
The process of finding a support worker to help the family turned into a five-month long battle, Mrs Campbell said.
"We have used other service providers but all of them are 9am to 5pm. Some of them we use if we need someone at 1pm and they're great, but trying to get someone to do a morning shift before school has been extremely difficult," she said.
"Most people don't want to start work at 6.45am so you can understand our struggle."
Most disability services providers in Launceston were unable to offer the Campbell's access to a suitable male support worker, which Mrs Campbell said was important because of her son's age, gender and support needs.
"We looked privately, again there was a lack of interest among males. Even through the agencies, most of the staff are female," she said.
"We needed to look outside the box."
Mrs Campbell turned to disability supports matching platforms, which operate online through apps and serve as a bridge between National Disability Insurance Scheme participants and service providers or independent contractors who work for themselves.
"I looked at Hireup and Mable. One of them didn't have any registered support workers in Launceston, the other didn't have any that I wanted," she said.
"I then heard about Mobility so I downloaded the app and there were two people there that both sounded good."
After a meet and greet, the Campbell family finally found their match - a support worker who would be able to work the early morning shift and fitted in perfectly.
Now Mrs Campbell is getting an extra two hours sleep a night, the family is happier and the support they need is being delivered on their terms with thanks to the NDIS and Mobility.
It's welcome relief for Mrs Campbell, who said she had bad experiences in the past with providers who offered poor customer service.
"We had a regular support worker and if they called in sick, the onus was on us to contact them to ensure we were going to get a support worker," she said.
"On the mainland there's lots of service providers, there's lots of support but here it is a very narrow field and Tasmania has an ageing population so a lot of the support workers have existing work for the elderly.
"When you're trying to find a support worker most of them are already full, and until one of their clients pass on, they're fully booked and it's not a career path people want to go into."
Several things can act as barriers to attracting more support workers, including perceptions the work is menial, with limited career prospects and relatively low pay.acting National Disability Services' state manager Alice Flockhart.
Mrs Campbell said she was "constantly hearing" from other people in Launceston who struggled to find support workers to work an early morning shift before school.
Further evidence of a shortage of disability support workers in Tasmania came from providers who spoke to National Disability Services, the peak industry body which represents Australian disability service organisations.
Acting NDS state manager Alice Flockhart said NDS members reported that the worker shortage was more significant in North-West Tasmania.
"Quantitative data available to NDS is based on several assumptions so reporting a specific number [of workers needed] is not possible," Ms Flockart said.
"Several things can act as barriers to attracting more support workers, including perceptions the work is menial, with limited career prospects and relatively low pay. Another barrier is the comparatively low proportion of full-time positions, at around 23 per cent nationally."
State and federal governments have spent millions of dollars on a raft of initiatives to attract thousands of new workers to the disability sector in the NDIS era.
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Ms Flockhart said that while a new national NDIS workforce plan was also being developed, further spending would be needed to attract more workers to meet growth in demand for disability support services.
"The ongoing support of government for NDS to combat misconceptions about the work is important, because the experience of many who support people with disability is that it is hugely rewarding," she said.
Penny Kee, the chief executive of Mobility, said Tasmanians now jobless because of COVID-19 could potentially benefit from a career in the disability sector.
"We've recruited as much as we can, we've probably got about 300-odd signed up in Tasmania," Ms Kee said.
According to Ms Kee, more willing workers needed to sign up to platforms like Mobility so families like the Campbell's could have maximum choice and control when it came to the support they received, a key aim of the NDIS.
"It's quite a fragmented space, in that you've got a real scarcity of people to support and yet on the other side you've got a big demand and a growing demand in both disability and aged care."