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Respite care and the NDIS

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

While it holds true that NDIS supports people with disabilities in reaching their goals, it is also designed to value and preserve the people providing care to its participants- the carers. The NDIA acknowledges the role of carers and how critical their roles are as part of the participant’s support system. Respite care is alternative care placed temporarily to assume the usual care being rendered when the carer is not available. It gives equal benefits to the participant and the carer, as both will be given an opportunity to rest, change the environment of care and develop opportunities to interact with other people. This can be provided in-home or in a specialized facility during the day, overnight, or for a longer duration.

The benefits of respite care to the participants are the following:

  • joining a new community group-which exposes the participant to a new environment, thereby, increasing the opportunity to interact with other people

  • having a short stay out of the home to try new things, make new friends, or develop new skills- which develops the participant’s ability to become independent and become confident

  • temporary periods of extra personal support so that the participant can remain at home when families and/or carers are not available-thereby allowing the participant to simulate living without the family members, which means working towards the opportunity to live independently in the future

  • support to participate in community activities, resulting in a break for carers and a new learning curve for the participant

  • taking some time off can help them better manage their own health and improve their wellbeing

Below are also the known benefits to the carers:

· Gives short breaks to the carer

· Provides enough rest from the physical work

· Provides enough ‘me’ time for the carer

· Provides a new environment to relax mentally and emotionally

· Give the opportunity to break the monotony of the usual routine

· Gives the opportunity to take care of one’s health and wellness

· Gives the opportunity to focus on goals

· Gives the opportunity to regain strength and ignite passion

Respite Care in the NDIS ecosystem covers Short Term Accommodation & Assistance, Assistance with Daily Living, and Assistance with self-care overnight. It is important to learn that there are three levels of respite services available which are determined by the level of disability and support required from families and carers.

· Level 1: 7 to 14 days per year to allow the carer to attend key activities

· Level 2: 14 to 28 days per year and includes capacity-building strategies for future independence

· Level 3: Equivalent of 28 days per year when the carer provides support most days and informal support is at risk due to severe complex care issues

Let us now discuss the different types of respite care :

· In-home respite – is the support provided in the home by a paid worker in lieu of the usual carer. Instances may be, the usual carer has a scheduled family holiday or just simply attending an appointment. The paid worker will not only be providing an environment of care but may also provide activities that yield toward the interest of the client

· Overnight or weekend – involves a paid worker providing overnight or weekend care at home or a facility

· Community access – provides community access for a participant to be involved in the community, socialize or attend a group class with a paid worker for a certain period

· Centre-based respite – Day center or organization based programs that facilitate group activities for people with disability

· Residential respite – a short stay residential care home for the participant which could be for a night, weekend, a week, or several weeks.

· Recreational respite – camping or day activity with other people in the disability sector

· Emergency – is an alternative supported accommodation or in-home support when the usual carer has an emergency or illness.

· Informal – informal (unpaid) respite care can be organized with a family or friend who can provide care.

Funding for respite care is under the: Assistance with Daily Life category in an NDIS Plan. If you currently do not have this on your plan, you may speak with your LAC or Support Coordinator and discuss the possibility of including this in your next plan, as well as the documents needed on your end as proof that you need this funding and how it will contribute to the achievement of your goals.

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