How to use your NDIS Funding for Exercise Physiology & Physio

Taylor Holmes
by Taylor Holmes
Since being rolled out in 2016 the number of Australians participating in the NDIS has recently exceeded 400,000 people. And while the program is providing fantastic, and essential health services to those Australian’s who need it, navigating the NDIS to get the services you need is still just as challenging as ever.  
As NDIS providers of Exercise Physiology, Physiotherapy as well as exercise classes such as Pilates and strength training, we can completely understand the confusion and frustration felt by many of our NDIS clients, who just want to understand which services they have access to
In this blog, Exercise Physiologist Taylor attempts to answer a few of the most common questions we get asked, and attempts to explain how different funding can be used for Exercise Physiology and Physiotherapy, to help you find the best support to manage your disability.  

“How can I get the most out of my NDIS funding?”

The first question to ask yourself is, are you using your NDIS plan effectively? Do you feel like you’re getting everything out of the plan that was intended in your review? If you can’t confidently answer that with a yes, then the next question to ask yourself is, have you got a good relationship with your support coordinator? Or do you have a support coordinator at all?

If your Plan allows one I’d highly recommend you find a support coordinator that knows your disability, and who knows your local area well. This will allow you to use your NDIS plan to its maximum potential every year, and live the life you want to live. Most plans come with enough funding to provide a support coordinator, so it’s absolutely worthwhile utilising that funding. 
In fact, if you don’t use your plan efficiently It’s really common to see unused funding vanish, simply because you haven’t utilised it effectively. This is because the NDIS assumes that you don’t need it. Which can often lead to worsening outcomes, and more restrictions to living the life you desire.

“I’ve been told by my GP that I need to see an Exercise Physiologist, but I’m worried that I may injure myself” 

We understand through our clients that living with a disability presents a myriad of challenges that are extremely difficult and overwhelming at the best of times. Managing symptoms and maintaining any level of function is something you may have to overcome on a daily basis. 
Exercise may be suggested as a strategy to improve your quality of life. Particularly given that the degenerative nature of many of the disorders that people on the NDIS face often cannot be efficiently managed by medication alone. 
As EP’s and Physio’s that routinely see clients on the NDIS, we get to see the positive impact that exercise can have on people living with disability. Particularly to reduce pain, improve function and enhance quality of life
We see great results, and sometimes life altering results, in people living with neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. Our exercise physiologist Taylor has a particular passion for working with people on the autism spectrum or people living with intellectual disability, and we’re often inspired by the fierce determination and commitment demonstrated by our amazing clients

“I know I need to exercise more regularly but I get so much benefit from seeing my physio. Can I get NDIS funding for EP AND physio?”  

The great news is that you can see both an Exercise Physiologist and Physiotherapist on the NDIS! Because they are in separate funding categories you can extend the duration of your treatment by including both in your NDIS Plan. Not to mention the benefit of having the expertise of two experienced health practitioners together to help you achieve your goals and live the life you want to live. 
Just be aware that other services like occupational therapy or dietetics share the same category as EP and Physiotherapy. So if you need these services as well, this may limit how much funding you can get for EP and Physio. If you are worried that your funding might be used up too quickly or not quick enough then talk to your support coordinator first and develop a year long plan!
If you are self managed and know how much EP and Physio treatment can be covered by your NDIS plan, make this clear to your health practitioner at the beginning of your treatment, which would allow us to ensure that your funding is used to maximum efficiency. 

“How can exercise physiology and physio work together to give me the best quality of life?” 

We absolutely love working together! And feel that we can get the best results when we build a “treating team” around our clients. 
A good example would be a client with a neurological disease like Parkinson’s Disease – we’ve found that the ever-changing and unpredictable symptoms of living with an incurable neurological disease such as Parkinson’s Disease can benefit from “hands-on” Physio treatment from time to time to relieve the tension that builds up in your muscles, whilst your Exercise Physiologist focuses on developing your strength, function and balance through exercise
A number of our regular clients here at Pathways have seen the power of this, and have benefited greatly from this co-treating model. This helps you to reach your goals and manage your symptoms more effectively. 
If you need more information on whether EP or Physio is suitable for you, speak to your support coordinator or talk to us here at the clinic and we can help you make a decision. 
Common conditions we see at Pathways Physiotherapy:
•MS and parkinson’s disease

•Autism spectrum disorder

•Intellectual disability

•Other Neurological disorders like ABI, stroke ect 

•Anxiety & depression 

For more information on how Exercise Physiology can help, check out this Blog article, “Why see an Exercise Physiologist” HERE.
For more information on what to expect during a Physiotherapy appointment, check out this Blog article “What to expect during your Physio appointment” HERE.
To Book an appointment with an Exercise Physiologist, click HERE.