Short-Term Accommodation (STA) and respite under the NDIS

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Taking a break from your carer is beneficial to both of you.
Not only does it help maintain positive family and carer relationships, but it also allows you the chance to meet new people and experience new things.

Key points:

  • Everybody needs a break sometimes! Short-Term Accommodation (STA) is a way of providing respite care that allows both you and your carer to have a break or a change of scenery.
  • Residential respite is now called ‘Short-Term Accommodation and Assistance’ under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
  • The amount of STA funding you can receive depends on the level of support you require

Navigating respite options through Short-Term Accommodation (STA) under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can be confusing, so we’ve put together a guide to help you understand what it means and how to access it.

What is Short-Term Accommodation (STA)?

STA is a way of providing respite care that allows both you and your carer to have a break or a change of scenery.

It’s a broad term that covers various types of STA support and also includes respite care. STA enables you to experience living away from home in a supportive environment for short periods of time.

STA could look like:

  • One-on-one short-term care where you are paired up with a support worker for a period of time that suits your particular needs. This can be spent in your home or out in the community participating in local activities including camps.
  • Group short-term options match your needs with other people who may have similar needs and interests and enjoy participating in a group respite activity.
  • Overnight or weekend facility-based support where your needs and interests align with shared STA facilities.

While STA services are often delivered in a group-based facility, some organisations provide STA as additional support in your own home. In some cases, the provider might book an apartment at a hotel.

STA isn’t just about the accommodation, it also involves the support you receive while staying there.

What are the benefits of STA?

A short stay away from home can help you:

  • make new friends and meet new people
  • try new activities
  • enjoy a change of scenery
  • step outside your comfort zone
  • De-stress and recharge
  • increase independence

Many STA providers offer capacity-building group activities as part of your stay, such as art therapy sessions, group fitness activities, or day trips.

By staying in STA, you’re treated to a break from routine while your informal support network gets some time for themselves.

Taking a break from your carer is beneficial to both of you as it can help maintain positive family and carer relationships. STA is also a great way for older carers to get a break and recharge as they are more likely to have health issues of their own.

Planned regular stays away from home can also help increase your independence as you transition to Support Independent Living and moving out of home.

How does STA funding work under the NDIS

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funds ‘Short-Term Accommodation and Assistance’ under the Core Support category ‘Assistance with Daily Living’ (Category 1).

STA funding includes all basic expenses in a 24-hour period related to the service including:

  • Accommodation in suitable facility
  • Personal care and support (including overnight)
  • Food
  • Activities you and the provider agree to

The NDIS usually funds up to 28 days of STA per year. There is some flexibility when it comes to using your allocated STA days. For example, you might want to use it in two blocks of 14 days, or for one weekend a month.

The amount of funding you can receive depends on the level of support you require.

For example, if you have very high support needs and your spouse is your primary carer, you may receive the full 28 days of STA funding in your NDIS Plan.

Or if you have mid-level support needs and want to build your independence before moving out of home, the NDIS may provide enough STA funding for a night away from your parents each month.

Generally funding is for a group price, unless there is evidence you require individual support because of your disability. This means you may share supports with other people unless you need individual support because of your disability.

You can find the rates in the NDIS Price Guide.

How to get STA in your NDIS Plan

Like with any support, the NDIS will fund STA if it relates to one of your goals outlined in your NDIS Plan.

These goals might be ‘preparing to live independently’, ‘learning new life skills’, or ‘making new friends’.

You will need to supply any evidence that makes it easier for the NDIS to understand why it’s reasonable and necessary for you to receive STA.

This could include formal documentation from an Occupational Therapist or other professional, as well as a letter from the people providing informal supports, explaining why they (and you) would benefit from a break.

If you need longer term accommodation or at-home supports, other options such as Supported Independent Living are more likely to be included in your plan.

Read more about how the NDIS determines whether STA is reasonable and necessary for you on theirwebsite.

Where can I find STA providers?

The process of finding the right STA setting to meet your needs can be overwhelming. Especially if you and your carer need to take a break or you are being discharged from a stay in hospital and need to find accommodation that will ensure you are looked after.

There are many specialised STA providers in each State. These range from small homes to larger, hotel-style facilities and ‘day-centre’ settings. Each offers different services and supports to their guests. Take your time to research what’s available and which STA providers meet your specific support needs.

Note that some organisations will only provide STA to adults, others only to children, and some offer services to both.

Your Support Coordinator, Local Area Coordinator (LAC), Early Childhood Partner or planner can help you explore the best STA options and providers for you.

Use Disability Support Guide’s provider finder to search for STA providers near you.

Have you used STA services before? We’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!

Related content:
Understanding Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
The right ingredients for a happy household
Accessing respite services for someone with disability