A collaborative discharge approach for NDIS participants

Dr Katherine Kelly1, Ms Virginia Mitsch2

1South Western Sydney Local Health District, , Australia, 2Summer Foundation, Melbourne, Australia

The NDIS has significantly changed how people with disability access their disability-related supports. New pathways have needed to be created for transitioning NDIS participants in hospital to the community.

The Collaborative Discharge Approach (CDA) project was led by the South Western Sydney (SWSLHD) NDIS Coordinator and the Summer Foundation Collaborative Hospital Discharge Lead between April 2019 and February 2020. The project aimed to implement an innovative practice model through:

  • Working collaboratively with NDIS-registered Support Coordinators, Planners and other registered NDIS providers
  • Reducing the complexity of NDIS access and navigation with people with a disability admitted to SWSLHD hospitals

It developed the capacity of key SWSLHD staff to work collaboratively with NDIS-registered Support Coordinators, Planners and other registered NDIS providers. It used a train-the trainer approach, through a network of SWSLHD NDIS Champions working with targeted Support Coordinators. Education and coaching were provided and resources developed for use in navigating the NDIS pathway with admitted NDIS participants.

Champions reported increased knowledge and confidence, so that they were more active participants in the NDIS process, were able to negotiate collaborative working relationships with NDIS providers and advocate more effectively for patients with NDIS planners. This resulted in reduced waiting times throughout the NDIS pathway and more timely discharges from hospital for admitted NDIS participants, who received appropriate supports to live independently in the community. The average length of stay (LOS) past estimated date of discharge (EDD) for NDIS participants was reduced by 39 days during the project.


Katherine Kelly is the NDIS Coordinator at South Western Sydney Local Health District. She has a number of years of experience as  Speech Pathologist and recently completed a PhD in the role of Speech-Language Pathology in end-of-life care.

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