The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is an initiative rolled out by the Australian government which aims to provide better access to support services for people living with a disability, their families, and their carers. This particular insurance scheme seeks to provide those living with permanent and significant disabilities the ability to live an ordinary life with access to reasonable and necessary support networks.
Some key points that the NDIS covers include:
- Access to mainstream support systems and services
- Wider community access thanks to support networks
- Proper funding to support particular needs
Who can access the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
Launched in 2013, the NDIS has been rolled out progressively across different states. The way that people gain access to the NDIS varies from state to state. Sometimes it is rolled out by area, other times by age groups.
The NDIS is available for people living with a severe and permanent disability. It promises better living outcomes and a better quality of life. However, not every person with a disability is eligible for the NDIS as some disabilities are categorised in the ‘tier 2’ level, those that are less significant. Also, Australians over the age of 65 are not eligible for the NDIS.
In terms of what this means for the allied health services, the NDIS specifies a difference between health and disability. Health, for the purpose of the NDIS, is defined by the World Health Organization as ‘a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.’ Disability, again for the purpose of the NDIS, is an umbrella term for impairments, activity limitations, and restrictions to participating in everyday societal events.
The NDIS is specifically for disabilities, not health problems. Therefore, the NDIS does not fund allied health services for people experiencing health issues and seeking goal oriented services predominantly to improve their health. Rather, there must be a recognised disability in order to access the NDIS.
Allied health services under the NDIS
The ultimate aim of the NDIS is to provide better access for those in need to allied health services, ranging from occupational therapy to speech pathology and to other service providers for those with a disability. The idea of the NDIS is that these services become more accessible for people in need and the funding makes everything more affordable.
In terms of allied health goals, the NDIS has the intention of making these more person-centered towards specific choices and control of the client in question. The success of the NDIS would mean that allied health professionals collaborate with the needs of the client and the family and careers, rather than prescribing medicines and theories from above.
However, as with any major planning and change to a system, the NDIS isn’t perfect yet. For the NDIS to be entirely effective, there needs to be a comprehensive understanding between the allied health services that are available in an area and the people who are seeking the services.
All in all, the NDIS works with allied health services to achieve the following therapy-based goals for people living with a severe and permanent disability:
- Maintenance care
- Long term therapy and support
- Prevent functional decline
- Early intervention
The NDIS and allied health services for families
A major part of the NDIS is recognising that disabilities affect more than just the person living with them. It extends to the wider family and carers who are in regular contact with the person experiencing the disability. Therefore, the NDIS makes allied health services available for these people as well.
Some of the schemes that are funded under the NDIS for families and carers include:
- Family support and counselling
- Social and community activities
- Increased support with personal care
- Better funding of equipment, therapies, and transport
If you’d like to learn more, please talk to one of the Adapt team and we can help you understand how this impacts you or your family.