CDS Outreach: reflections on establishing therapy facilitator services under the NDIS in Western NSW

Sarah Wagstaff1, Laura Hogan1, Katherine Shannon1

1Centre for Disability Studies, Sydney, NSW, 2Centre for Disability Studies, Australia

Background:
Rural and remote areas of Australia experience significant shortages in the provision of disability services (Dew et al., 2012; Dew et al., 2016; NRHA, 2008; Veitch et al., 2012). One approach to addressing these shortages is the hub and spoke model, which has been implemented with great success by the Wobbly Hub and Double Spoke (Wobbly Hub) Team, University of Sydney.

One organisation seeks to test the financial viability of a hub and spoke model under the NDIS for people with intellectual disability aged 8 and over.

Method:
The project to date has involved exploratory development from research findings and the commencement of the first of three regional hubs. Data will be presented in the form of researcher reflections and projected financial viability compared to on-the-ground-experience.

Results:
Initial results demonstrate that NDIS participant numbers with intellectual disability in target communities are substantially lower than those previously accessing block funded therapy services. In addition, communities previously serviced by government teams, aren’t receiving the same frequency of service from non-government providers due to reported financial constraints. This has required adaptions to our model of service delivery.

Implications:
Ongoing negotiations between communities, service providers and funding bodies are required to ensure people with intellectual disability in rural and remote communities can access the services they require.


Biography:

Sarah Wagstaff has a background in school counselling and teaching, working with students with a range of disabilities. Sarah is a key member of the CDS Outreach team, providing project coordination and support, for the setup of a new model of service delivery in regional and remote NSW.

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