Consumer experience of waiting in hospital for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Ms Sanzida Matin1, Dr Michelle  Jones1, Associate Professor  Lorna Hallahan1, Josephine  Crowley2, Kerry Bryans2

1College of Education Psychology and Social Work, Flinders University., Bedford Park, Australia, 2Social Work Services, Southern Adelaide Local Health Network, Bedford Park, Australia

Hospital Social Workers identified a cohort of long-stay patients who were stuck in hospital in an administrative bottleneck waiting for NDIS approvals.  Concerned about the impact on their wellbeing, using practice-derived questions, this research explored the reality of waiting in-hospital for access to NDIS.

Qualitative exploratory semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted to discover the realities of waiting in hospital for NDIS services. The participants included adults who were subacute inpatients yet physically and mentally safe and appropriate for discharge from a South Australian metropolitan public hospital or their family members.

Participants (n=10) ranged in their length of hospital stay between 21 and over 600 days. This study revealed the participants’ experiences of the hospital long-stay, waiting for NDIS, and the changes in home life and impact on the family. Being dependent on other people, changes in mobility and physical appearance, social perception, lack of self-reliance and not being able to be self-directed resulted in the participants’ reporting feeling depressed, embarrassed, and vulnerable. They also expressed their feelings of isolation, loneliness, and frustration resulting from not having control over their choices. Family members reported feeling burnt-out and miserable due to the changes in conjunction with seeing the impact on their loved one and the deterioration in their family life.

These conversations offer understandings about the unique experiences of delays and the impact on an inpatient’s mental, emotional, and social wellbeing. The findings have the potential to influence future social work practices.


Sanzida Matin is an emerging social worker who graduated (Bachelor of Social Work Honours) under the College of Education, Psychology, and Social Work, Flinders University. This research project is part of the social work Honours program 2020 and is guided by the number of supervisors, experts in this area. Recent health placement has also allowed her to grow experience and a clear understanding in providing social work intervention to diverse consumers in hospital settings.
Personable and astute personality with proven time-management and collaborative skills developed through placements, training, research, and volunteer engagement. Enthusiastic in social work practice and eager to contribute to team success through hard work, attention to detail and excellent organisational skills. Determined to learn, grow and excel in social work practice. Sanzida finds it incredibly motivating to use her analytic skills to advance research.

Dr. Michelle Jones Senior Lecturer, Social Work Social Work Innovation Research Living Space (SWIRL) College of Education, Psychology and Social Work Flinders University, South Australia.
This person has worked in a variety of government roles including Principal Health Analyst with Health Performance Council Secretariat and Evaluation Manager in Public Health Services; OPAL (Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle), a State-wide community-based childhood obesity prevention program and eat well be active Community Programs, a community-based childhood obesity prevention program in Morphett Vale and Murray Bridge. Before working for Health, she evaluated sex offenders, violent offender and Aboriginal offender group-based treatment programs for the Department for Correctional Services. Michelle has a Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide and a Bachelor of Social Work (Hons) from the University of South Australia. Her Ph.D. examined the discourses of domestic violence and was part of the evaluation of men’s stop domestic violence group programs. Michelle worked as a social worker in the area of women’s health including unplanned pregnancy and rape and sexual assault. Michelle is a member of the SA Health Human Research Ethics Committee. Her research interests include health including Aboriginal health, public health, childhood obesity prevention, domestic violence, evaluation research, mixed-methods research, ‘space, place and the body’.

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