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Disabil Rehabil. 2016 Dec;38(25):2491-503. doi: 10.3109/09638288.2015.1129452. Epub 2016 Jan 8.

The development of a framework for high-quality, sustainable and accessible rural private therapy under the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme.

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a Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney , Sydney , Australia ;
b Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales , Sydney , Australia ;
c School of Medicine, The University of Notre Dame , Sydney , Australia.



The Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will provide people with individual funding with which to purchase services such as therapy from private providers. This study developed a framework to support rural private therapists to meet the anticipated increase in demand.


The study consisted of three stages utilizing focus groups, interviews and an online expert panel. Participants included private therapists delivering services in rural New South Wales (n = 28), disability service users (n = 9) and key representatives from a range of relevant consumer and service organizations (n = 16). We conducted a thematic analysis of focus groups and interview data and developed a draft framework which was subsequently refined based on feedback from stakeholders.


The framework highlights the need for a 'rural-proofed' policy context in which service users, therapists and communities engage collaboratively in a therapy pathway. This collaborative engagement is supported by enablers, including networks, resources and processes which are influenced by the drivers of time, cost, opportunity and motivation.


The framework identifies factors that will facilitate delivery of high-quality, sustainable, individualized private therapy services for people with a disability in rural Australia under the NDIS and emphasizes the need to reconceptualize the nature of private therapy service delivery. Implications for Rehabilitation Rural private therapists need upskilling to work with individuals with disability who have individual funding such as that provided by the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme. Therapists working in rural communities need to consider alternative ways of delivering therapy to individuals with disability beyond the traditional one-on-one therapy models. Rural private therapists need support to work collaboratively with individuals with disability and the local community. Rural private therapists should harness locally available and broader networks, resources and processes to meet the needs and goals of individuals with disability.


Allied health; community-based rehabilitation; individualized funding; policy; practice; qualitative

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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