NDIS Dietitian Funding | Dietitian Support Through the NDIS
Can I Receive NDIS Funding for Dietitian Services?
You know that a healthy diet is vital for achieving optimal health and wellbeing. But if you’re an NDIS participant, you may be wondering whether it’s possible to access NDIS dietitian funding.
The short answer is yes. We discuss how people with disability can access NDIS-funded support from a dietitian, plus some of the ways a dietitian can help people living with disability lead healthy lives, gain independence and participate in their families and communities.
Does the NDIS cover support from a dietitian?
The NDIS exists to provide funding for the estimated 500,000 Australians who are living with a permanent and significant disability. To be eligible to receive funding for dietetic supports, you need to meet specific criteria. For a start, these supports must directly relate to your significant or permanent disability. They must also meet the NDIA’s reasonable and necessary criteria and support you to achieve your NDIS goals.
If you are an NDIS participant, you have choice and control about your goals and how you receive the support you need to achieve them. You can choose to use funding from your NDIS plan to access dietetic support to help you achieve your goals.
To access NDIS-funded dietitian services, the support needs to relate to your goals, usually regarding functional capacity or participation. This may include building or maintaining your function in several areas, including social interaction, learning, self-care and self-management.
Dietetic consultations and help with meal planning can enhance your overall wellbeing and also increase your independence, capacity for learning, and social inclusion. For NDIS participants, assistance from a dietitian can help with the way you eat or assist you to understand more about the food you need.
All NDIS-funded health supports must be provided by a suitably qualified and competent NDIS-registered clinician. In the case of dietetic support, this means an Accredited Practising Dietitian. Supports are provided on an individual basis and can take place in numerous environments, such as your home, workplace or other suitable facility.
Accessing NDIS diet and meal planning support
You can currently access funding for dietitian or meal preparation services under the following support categories:
- Capacity Building: Improved health and wellbeing
- Core support: Assistance with daily life.
The NDIS won’t fund health supports that are covered through other systems, such as the public healthcare system.
How can an NDIS-registered dietitian help me?
There are many reasons people with disability might seek funding for support from an NDIS-registered dietitian. Some of them include:
- Developing meal plans – an NDIS dietitian is trained in medical nutrition and can create meal plans to help manage a range of health conditions, such as coeliac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and diabetes
- Support for managing fussy or problem feeding – including food refusal and challenging mealtime behaviours
- Dietary advice for different life stages – such as eating to support optimal growth and development in children, to meet the extra nutritional needs of pregnancy and breastfeeding, or to ensure adequate nutrition as you get older
- Creating meal plans to ensure adequate nutrition for different dietary choices – such as vegetarianism and veganism
- Plans for weight management – if you need support to achieve or maintain a healthy weight, a dietitian can create a plan to help you achieve this goal
- Providing education about nutrition – including how to understand food labels and manage portion sizes
- Advice on how to eat to support recovery from illness, injury or surgery, such as poor wound healing
- Creating meal plans and providing education about food allergies and intolerances
- Education and training of support people in tasks such as shopping and meal preparation
- Developing your skills in menu planning, shopping, and budgeting
- Advice and support for difficulties with chewing and/or swallowing
- Help for managing malnutrition or unintentional weight loss
- Support for changing food-related behaviours
- Support for managing disordered eating
- Building skills in meal preparation
- Sourcing of nutritional supplements
- Managing non-oral (tube) feeding and weaning.
Why NDIS participants need access to dietitians
According to a 2020 report by Dietitians Australia, “People living with a disability may have physical, intellectual, sensory or psychiatric impairments that lead to unique food and nutrition needs.” They point out that these needs are additional to the usual nutritional requirements for healthy growth and development, defence against infection, injury repair, physical activity, and mental health.
Dietitians Australia support the rights of individuals with disability to access Accredited Practising Dietitian services – along with nutrition support products and consumable items – which meet their unique needs and promote mental, physical, and social wellbeing.
They add that these products and services should promote participant independence, economic participation, social inclusion and/or functional wellbeing.
Furthermore, they point out that NDIS plans should include funding for adequate dietitian hours to enable participants to achieve their goals, without having to compromise on activities of daily living.
They explain Accredited Practising Dietitians – who must meet strict regulatory and professional standards – are the qualified and credentialed food and nutrition experts who can support NDIS participants and their families/support people by using evidence-based food and nutrition strategies.
How can I get a dietitian involved in my plan?
If you have a disability and think you could benefit from dietetic support, Active Ability’s experienced, NDIS registered dietitians can help.
We can provide NDIS dietetic services through the ‘Improved health and wellbeing’ or ‘Improved daily life’ funding categories of your NDIS plan.
Our clinical dietitians use food as medicine for people with a wide range of conditions, with a focus on supporting people living with intellectual disability, neurological conditions and mental health issues.
Our helpful dietitians will assess your needs, taking into account your medical history, food preferences and any cultural considerations. Then we’ll tailor a personalised plan to help you meet your goals. We provide evidence-based advice and treatment, delivered with considerate and attentive care. We aim to equip you (and your support people) with the knowledge and skills you need to take charge of your health.
Ultimately, our goal is to support people with disability to make eating choices that promote optimal health and wellbeing, increased independence and quality of life.
We don’t have a waiting list, so you can get started right away with your NDIS funded dietitian. And because we don’t charge for travel, your funding can be put to maximum use to help you achieve your goals.