If you are living with a disability or chronic condition, a little extra help in your daily life can go a long way to improving your future. An Occupational Therapist, or OT, can provide the support you need for increased health and happiness.
Before they can, though, it’s your responsibility to learn a little about the role of an OT therapist, particularly in relation to the NDIS scheme. This guide will cover all key issues, including but not limited to;
- What is an occupational therapist?
- How can an NDIS OT help you?
- What assistance can be provided by an NDIS occupational therapist?
- Can you use an occupational therapist if not accepted on the NDIS scheme?
- How can an NDIS application be made?
Whether looking at occupational therapy and NDIS support for yourself or a loved one, Home Caring can support you with comprehensive OT services that run independently from Aged Care schemes. Call us on 1300 875 377 to learn more today!
What is the NDIS scheme?
When living with a disability in Australia, The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a government-funded program that was introduced in 2016 with the purpose of helping people living with disabilities gain the support that they want and need for a more comfortable and independent future. Likewise, it is designed to support families and primary caregivers.
The NDIS is designed to support people under the age of 65 who are living with conditions that restrict their quality of life. The program is split into three main areas. They are;
- Core supports – This relates to help with general living needs. Support workers may help with routines, transport, and day programs.
- Capital supports – This covers funding assistance for assistive tech for the home and can extend to disability vehicles.
- Capacity building – This relates to health therapies including OT. Speech therapy, psychology, and assessments can be included too.
Crucially, the NDIS program puts individuals in control of their funding, allowing them to decide for themselves how their funding should be distributed. This aims to remove any threat of wasting funds on unnecessary services, instead learning to prioritise items that bring the biggest benefits in alignment with personal needs and objectives.
Home Caring’s team of NDIS support coordinators experts can support you through the process of determining what services would signal the best use of your allocated funding.
When can NDIS OT be used?
While individuals are encouraged to decide what services are best suited to their lifestyle needs, it should be noted that the NDIS program splits the allocated funds across all three forms of support. That doesn’t mean your allocation will be evenly distributed as 33.3% to each of the three areas. An assessment will be conducted to determine how yours should be split, meaning you could have 60% in one area and 20% in the other two.
Any services offered by an occupational therapist will come under the ‘capacity building’ section of your funding. Therefore, it’s important to check that you have enough of an allocation before speaking to an NDIS occupational therapist.
It’s important to know that you won’t automatically be accepted onto the NDIS program as a result of chronic conditions or diseases. The funding is reserved for individuals who have seen their participation at home or in the community become restricted Occupational therapies are, therefore, best utilised for activities that aim to enhance your capabilities in those situations. It could relate to;
- Communication skills,
- Social interaction,
- Self-care and management,
- Employment prospects,
- Daily mobility.
Occupational therapists use an OT assessment to identify areas where help is needed, along with the types of therapies that are best suited to generating the desired results. Their support can be embraced by individuals who already have an NDIS package in place as well as those who are currently in the process of making an application.
How does Occupational Therapy improve your life?
The NDIS program, and particularly the NDIS occupational therapy strategy, is designed to help individuals with life-restricting conditions learn to integrate with society in a more confident and comfortable manner while simultaneously feeling more independent and capable around their homes. It can be a key step to avoiding the need for entering a care home facility and delivers all of the benefits associated with remaining in your home environment without any risks to your safety.
Occupational therapists thrive on helping individuals become less reliant on other people and more capable of taking care of themselves in a growing number of circumstances. While it’s likely that a little support will still be needed in some situations, the impact on the person’s daily life can be huge. On a side note, it can lift a huge weight from the shoulders of families and primary caregivers.
Ultimately, though, the person living with the disability or condition will be the main beneficiary. Some examples of how this can improve a person’s life include, but are not limited to;
- Supporting a child with the development of fine and gross motor skills,
- Developing improved concentration, organisation, and social skills,
- Gaining help with home modifications, assistive tech, and vehicle mods.
- Gaining self-confidence due to improvements and reduced reliance on others.
- Developing games and mindset changes to help you through tough moments.
For the best results to be achieved, it’s imperative that any proposed OT strategy is designed to reflect your individual requirements.
What tasks are considered Occupational Therapy for NDIS?
Occupational therapists will work with individuals to develop a strategy that is perfectly matched to their requirements. However, it’s worth familiarising yourself with some of the commonly used activities before making an NDIS application or speaking to your OT.
Given that occupational therapy is focused on boosting motor skills, balance, and coordination for kids and adults alike, it should be no surprise that OT activities focus on this. Whether you experienced a trauma or were born with a condition, simple tasks may include picking things up with tweezers to boost coordination or getting dressed.
However, an OT assessment can cover a wide range of topics, leading to a wide range of assignments. Their jobs may involved;
- Helping you find a suitable vehicle as a driver or passenger to get around time.
- Analyzing home and local surroundings to help you build confidence.
- Preparing you for new situations so that you can avoid anxiety or other limitations.
- Working with physical therapists to complete rehabilitation treatments,
- Helping you to find job openings and unlock your full potential.
The capability building tasks will vary greatly from one patient to the next. Whether seeking NDIS support in Queensland, Victoria, or another part of the country doesn’t matter. The techniques used will be determined by the impacts that your disability has on daily life, along with other aspects like your goals and priorities. This is why working with an OT that is committed to getting to know your case is vital.
Why join the NDIS program?
While occupational therapists can provide treatments even if you are not an NDIS member, there is no doubt that being a part of the NDIS brings a variety of benefits. The obvious one is that you will gain financial funding. However, other rewarding features are detailed below;
- You can gain the help of a plan manager,
- All occupational therapists will know the framework to work in,
- There is no worry that you’ll soon be unable to afford services,
- Your NDIS OT experts will be vigilant to changes in your situation,
- As well as occupational therapy, you’ll gain Core and Capital support.
If you are eligible for the NDIS program, you should not allow that eligibility to go to waste. Applying for NDIS funding will give you access to world-class occupational therapists in Australia as well as a range of other services. Living in a restricted fashion no longer has to be an issue.
How to apply for NDIS funding
Securing NDIS funding, you will need to become an accepted member of the program. This can only be achieved once the impacts of your conditions have been professionally documented. An NDIS occupational therapist’s assessments may be accompanied by those by speech therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists and health workers.
All of this information can then be collated and analysed by the NDIS coordinators and authorities to determine how much funding should be allocated into each of the three support categories, including the ‘capability building’ support that can include a budget for occupational therapy. Before submitting an application, it should be noted that;
- The average time for an application to complete is around three months,
- When accepted as an NDIS member, the allocated funds last for 12 months,
- A local area coordinator (LAC) will be used as your point of contact,
- Repeat assessments are needed for subsequent allocations and changes,
- NDIS allocations may not cover the costs of all help that you require.
Your first task will be to contact the NDIS for an Access Request form. You can do this directly by calling 1800 800 110. Alternatively, Home Caring can guide you through the process. Take the first steps by calling today.