Navigating the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in the State Rehabilitation Service: Understanding the interface between Health and NDIS to reduce discharge delay

Ms Meagan White1, A/Prof Vinicius Cavalheri2,3, Ms Kellie Blyth1

1Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group, Perth, Australia, 2Allied Health, South Metropolitan Health Service, Perth, Australia, 3Curtin School of Allied Health, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

The 111-bed State Rehabilitation Service has a high turnover of people with newly acquired disability who meet the eligibility criteria for the NDIS. This project explored how to improve outcomes when interfacing with the NDIS and reduce discharge delay. Prospective data was gathered for patients progressing with NDIS. Clinical governance structures, clinician resources, education and training opportunities, and 1:1 direct case management support options were established to assist clinical staff to navigate NDIS processes more efficiently. Data was collected and analysed for 142 patients who met the NDIS eligibility criteria. 104 access requests were submitted. NDIS response time reduced from a median of 6 days [3 to 18] in the first quarter (n=14), to 3 days [1 to 5] in the fourth quarter (n=23) (p=0.01). Length of stay (LOS) for 54 patients requiring their plan to be approved prior to discharge reduced from a mean of 111 ± 38 days for patients admitted in the first quarter (n=17) to 80 ± 28 days for patients admitted in the third quarter (n=16) (p=0.045). This project has demonstrated the important role of a dedicated project lead to facilitate internal process change, improve patient outcomes, enable NDIS to make quick decisions and ultimately reduce LOS. The improvement in timeframes was not achieved through changes in NDIS policy, but through improvements in staff understanding of NDIS processes, the quality and quantity of clinical evidence submitted to support funding decisions, and building of collaborative inter-agency relationships with staff at the NDIS and community service providers.


Meagan is the NDIS Linkage Team Clinical Project Lead for Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group in WA. She is a physiotherapist by trade, and is passionate about advocating for the rights and needs of people with disabilities to ensure they receive the supports they need to safely leave hospital, re-enter their local community and pursue their personal goals.

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