Strengthening the social work NDIS pathway from the acute to subacute setting

Ms Melinda Collins1, Ms Tamara Cajkovac-Njari1, Ms Maddison Cobbe1, Ms Kathleen Tirchett1, Ms Tarumbidzwa Nzenza1

1St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, Fitzroy, 3065


Patients with a disability at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne (SVHM) frequently require support to access and navigate the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), impacting significantly on length of stay (LOS), organisational and social work resources.


We aimed to assess current NDIS social work practices and review the need for change.


A random, retrospective medical record audit (n=20), was undertaken to ascertain demographic, medical and psychosocial information, of patients with an intellectual, cognitive, neurological and/or physical disability requiring social work involvement with the NDIS pathway. Focus groups with acute and subacute (inpatient rehabilitation) social workers were held to ascertain opinions about  NDIS practices.

A statistical and thematic analysis was undertaken.


Average LOS for patients audited was almost three times higher than the average LOS for rehab patients at SVHM.  All patients audited required social work resources to access and/or navigate the NDIS pathway and many required social work support with adjustment to illness due to new or evolving diagnoses.

Subacute staff described high confidence levels with NDIS practices. Acute staff described limited clinical experience with NDIS and required additional education, training, consultation and resources.

Conclusion and clinical significance

Patients on the NDIS pathway require significant organisational and social work resources to ensure a safe discharge. This project has provided evidence to support the development of training, consultation opportunities and standardised resources for acute social workers. These changes will support all social workers, SVHM staff, patients and families to navigate this complex system and provide timely patient care.


Biographies to come

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