Respite is an area we’ve found has been confusing for many people transitioning to the NDIS.
Initially it was believed that respite would not be offered as part of funding packages, because it was thought to benefit family/carers, rather than the person with a disability who receives the funding.
The NDIA now recognises that sustaining the informal support of family or carers is very important to meet the needs of people with a disability and maintaining close supportive relationships.
Overwhelming caring responsibilities and other factors such as illness and ageing can place carers’ wellbeing at risk and compromise their ability to continue in the caring role.
There are three levels of respite-like supports available for funding as part of plans:
- 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 a strategy to build capabilities for future independence.
- Level 3: Equivalent of 28 days per year, when the carer provides support most days and informal support is at risk of not continuing due to the intensity of the support required or severe behavioural issues.*
These levels of support will be determined by the level of disability and intensity of support required from family or informal carers, and other commitments – like work or study – of carers.
Higher levels of respite may be provided where there are:
- Unstable sleep patterns
- Invasive medical supports
- A lot of behavioural management
- More than one child with disability in the household
- Other assistance actively required overnight
Currently there is no item listed under NDIS specifically as ‘respite’, which has caused confusion. However, respite is available but in ways you may not be used to describing, such as:
- Short term accommodation and assistance
- Assistance in living arrangements (host family/alternative family) solution
- Assistance with self-care overnight (different levels)
In a nutshell this means that respite options in your area – such as flexi, in-home respite, centre based day respite or overnight respite are able to be funded as part of plans, providing you’re eligible.
We've prepared a downloadable fact sheet that includes applicable NDIS support items and reference numbers to enable you to understand how to specifically request respite options in your plan.
For more information on respite options at Endeavour Foundation, click here.
Other useful links:
*Click here to read the NDIA ‘Supports for Sustaining Informal Supports’
Other family supports available from the NDIS: https://myplace.ndis.gov.au/ndisstorefront/families-carers/family-supports.html
Carers Australia has a wealth of useful information for carers: www.carersaustralia.com.au/
Carer Gateway provides information and practice advice: www.carergateway.gov.au