New website upgrades! What’s new

NDIS Report Writing 101

Kylie offers 4 helpful tips to keep your NDIS reports clear, structured and in the right lingo.

By Dr Kylie Morgan

Updated 15 Apr 20249 Aug 2021

Time after time, I hear anecdotes of participants having their funding slashed after the planning meeting. This can be devastating for participants, leaving them without the funds they desperately need. Participants must then make an unenviable choice between a) requesting an internal review of a decision or b) going without vital supports. Both result in a significant amount of stress and pressure for participants. Yet again, they are fighting to get the basic supports they need to live.

Then the blame game begins! Who was at fault for the significant slash in funding – planner/support coordinator/carer? Most often, I hear the blame being put on the planner, and that might sometimes be true. However, errors also occur elsewhere. Very often, there are gaps in the allied health reports. This is not to blame the allied health providers, as the NDIA have provided very little guidance regarding what is required of them. However, we have learnt a few helpful things along the way.

1. Keep it simple

NDIA planners may not have any expertise in your area of speciality, so remember to write your reports in language and a format that are both simple and clear. Furthermore, if possible, engage participants and their families and carers in the report-writing process. You can send them a draft and use their feedback as a litmus test of whether or not your report is easily digestible (provided they are not also allied health professionals).

2. Use NDIS language

The NDIA, just like other government departments, has its own lingo. If you want the best outcomes for your participants, I recommend spending some time learning NDIS language. This includes learning which supports NDIS will pay for and which are the responsibility of other departments. For example, NDIS will fund a psychologist to assist with the functional impairment related to a disability. However, it will not fund a psychologist for the treatment of a mental illness. Therefore, reports will need to read something along the lines of “psychology sessions will focus on developing strategies to…,” rather than “psychology sessions will focus on treating…”

3. Use a clear structure

This might seem a bit obvious, but you would be amazed by how many reports I read where I am flipping back and forth just to figure out what supports are being recommended. As a quick tip, it is a good idea to start your reports off with a bit of background before reporting the participant’s progress towards their goals. And just like any other report, finish with the recommendations, giving them a pretty, highlighted font so they are easy to find.

4. Provide clear recommendations

Following up on the above point, a planner does not want to have to search through your report to find your recommendations for the participant’s next plan. Ensure your recommendations are clear, easy to read, and comprehensive, containing everything you and the participant will need for the next plan, including travel, report writing, and Assistive Technology (AT). It often makes it clearer for planner if you do a breakdown of these items in your recommendations. Here is an example:

  • Ten hours 1:1 Occupational Therapy
  • Five hours travel
  • Low-cost AT
  • Two hours report writing

Even though some planning sessions do go awry, getting these reports right is the responsibility of the allied health provider and a great way to give participants some insurance against having their plan funding slashed.

Authors

Dr Kylie Morgan

Explore DSC

Subscribe to the newsletter you’ll actually want to read

Learn from the humans obsessed with Australia’s NDIS. 50,000 readers strong.

Explore DSC Learning