What are some creative ways participants can get more bang for their NDIS buck so they can access supports for the entire duration of their plans (e.g., booking therapy sessions that are less frequent, but run longer, to reduce overall spend on provider travel)?
- Exactly, longer duration therapy sessions.
- In clinic to minimise travel.
- Therapy assistant to reduce therapy costs.
- Group sessions.
- 1:2 or 1:3 support, if an option.
- Negotiating rates with support workers.
- Request X amount of travel is included in the hourly rate.
DB – This is a tricky one, the person really should have access to the services they need to live well in the community. It shouldn’t be up to a participant to be create, to ensure their needs are met.
If a plan doesn’t provide for the level of services a person requires, I would recommend gathering more evidence and requesting a review.
EH – My top five tips for everyone when looking at getting the best out of a plan are:
- For therapeutic supports, consider doing a set of intensive sessions with a home program to support at the end. Some participants benefit from doing 10 sessions in a shorter period of time, and then implementing a home/community program to practice the skills learnt.
- Focus on one to two activities/therapies at a time – there is only so much time in a week and, depending on the age of the participant and the other commitments they are participating in (e.g., work, school or other activity), ensuring that they are able to also have downtime is important.
- Mix up the location – while at home or school sessions can be easier for the participant and their family, these can get expensive. If possible, either go to the provider or mix up doing both in office and in community sessions (e.g., go to the office one week and have the therapist come to you the other week).
- Consider groups – while not always possible when starting an activity, work with the provider to transition to a group support as quickly as possible or mix it up and do 1:1 one week and a group session the next. This provides great value for money and has the added bonus that participants get to be involved in a community they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to normally engage with.
- Make sure you have a service agreement and review the support you’re receiving regularly – while not a creative use of funding, making sure you don’t set and forget a support is an important part of making sure you are working towards your goals and getting the best value from a support.
ZD – Participants can get more bang for their buck by:
- travelling to allied health supports, rather than having them come to their home.
- if possible, booking therapy sessions less frequently.
- if possible, using less hours for support workers where the participants can have friends or family there to care for them, especially on weekends and public holidays.
- Research providers.
- Enquire about the cost of services.
- Negotiate with providers, if possible, the cost of services (especially if they’re not NDIA registered). I’ve found those not NDIA registered charge less than the NDIS price guide.
- Check service agreements for any extra charges outlaid in the quote.
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