What is respite and how can you include it in your NDIS plan?

Respite is essentially time you spend outside of your usual living arrangements, whether that’s living with family, friends or housemates. Respite is a service that can be used for just a few hours or up to a few weeks.

If you’re looking through the NDIS price guide and can’t find the word ‘respite’, don’t worry. In ‘NDIS-speak’, there are lots of terms used to describe services that could be considered respite but use different terminology. Later in this blog we’ll take you through some of this lingo and explain what it means.

Respite can be a great tool to grow your independence, build relationships, try new things and yes, even take a bit of a break from the people you live with. This is especially true when it comes to adults with disability. Often we live with our parents longer than our peers who don’t have disability. It can be a long journey to go from living at home to complete independence and often respite is seen as a series of stepping stones that can help you reach your independence - whatever that looks like for you.

When it comes to respite, a lot of people assume it’s a service for the carers, but respite is very much something that can have positives for everyone, including you. The NDIS only funds services that are reasonable and necessary for the person with disability, so to get respite funding it needs to be something that would benefit you, the NDIS participant.

In a nutshell this means that respite options in your area – such as in-home respite, centre based day respite or overnight respite are able to be funded as part of plans, providing you’re eligible.

Here are the different types of respite for people with disability

Short Term Accommodation

Short Term Accommodation (STA), including respite, is support for when you need to live out of home for a short period. The NDIS can fund 28 days of STA per year if you have included this in your plan. Typically, this type of support would be used for short periods of up to 14 days at a time. If you need longer-term arrangements, other options like Supported Independent Living might be something to look into.

Short Term Accommodation includes:

  • personal care
  • accommodation
  • meal preparation
  • activities you and the provider agree to.

It’s key to note that the NDIS won’t fund STA if you’re looking for accommodation while you’re waiting for home modifications to be done.

Look for “STA and Assistance (Inc. Respite)” in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits guide.

Emergency respite care

Emergencies can happen anytime. If you experience an emergency in your home environment, you might be able to access free short-term accommodation through Carer Gateway on 1800 422 737.

Host living arrangements

Host living arrangements are a contemporary form of support where you can choose to live in the home of a non-related person or family, known as the “host”.

A host will provide you with disability related support, household assistance, emotional support and a family environment for an agreed level of reimbursement or payment funded through your NDIS plan. This is also known as Individualised Living Options (ILO).

Look for “Individualised Living Options” in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits guide.

Supports to participate in community activities

Social and recreational activities are part of everyday life and can be fun, maintain your health and wellbeing, grow your independence, and meet new people.

The NDIS can provide you with the extra help you need to take part in activities such as Learning and Lifestyle Hubs, Supported Employment, and support in your community offered through something called the Temporary Transformation Payment (TTP).

You may already have funding in the Core budget in your plan, look for Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits guide.

Temporary periods of extra personal supports

Remain at home with temporary periods of extra personal support if your informal support person is unavailable. These extra supports could be in the form of a support worker, travel to attend daily personal activities, or support to attend medical appointments.

To access this, you can contact the NDIS on 1800 800 110 or speak to your Local Area Coordinator so that they can connect you with support available in your community.

How to align your goals and get respite care in your NDIS Plan

You’ve made it this far and read through your variety of options, the next step is considering what is best for you, and whether respite care is something you would like included in your NDIS plan.

Being well prepared for your NDIS Plan or Plan Review meeting will help ensure you get funding to cover all the supports you need, and what supports can help you achieve your NDIS goals.

So, the types of goals you could use could include:

  • preparing to move out of home,
  • increasing independence and life skills away from family,
  • making new friends or developing new relationships,
  • maintaining close relationships with my family.

Additionally, take some time to think about these things:

  • Are there regular times when your informal carer is unavailable? If so, document these including the length of time and regularity.
  • Can respite care be used to help look after the long-term wellbeing of any of your family members or informal supports?
  • Do you have a plan if your current support people choose to take a holiday?

Helpful resources

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