What is Peter’s situation?
Peter is 62 years old and has a psychosocial disability. Peter has a goal in his plan to become more independent with daily living tasks and accessing the community. Peter wants an assistance animal to keep him company to do these things. He says he feels calmer when he has a dog with him and is able to do more in the community.
Peter needs help with most activities of daily living such as getting out of bed, showering and cooking. He doesn’t go out in the community often. When he does leave his house, he is always with a support worker.
Peter has been seeing a psychologist for 20 years. Peter is at risk of self-neglect and he needs support from carers to do daily living tasks. Peter can’t leave the house without severe anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. When he’s unwell he can’t leave his home and stops eating and shopping for food.
What information and evidence do we need to make our decision?
The type of information and evidence we look at to make our decision includes:
- information we already know about Peter
- evidence of Peter’s disability and how it impacts his daily life
- new information we’re given
- assessments and reports
- the assistance animal assessment template (DOCX 65KB) filled out by Peter’s psychologist.
What information and evidence did we get?
The information and evidence we get from Peter and his psychologist tells us that Peter:
- has a goal in his plan to become more independent with daily living tasks and going out in the community
- has been getting regular help from a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health occupational therapist, and general practitioner (doctor)
- needs a high level of support within the home and the community
- gets help from support workers with daily living tasks such as showering, cooking and getting out in the community
- is unable to care for himself at times
- has trialled an assistance animal, a dog, for two weeks
- was motivated to get out of bed and walk the dog during the trial, and was feeling happy with the dog as it kept him company
- was able to go out in the community with the dog during the trial, but still needed a support worker
- said his anxiety was less when he was with the dog
- has no history of cruelty to animals.
What decision did we make and why?
Based on Peter’s situation we didn’t fund an assistance animal as it didn’t meet all of the NDIS funding criteria. These are our main reasons:
- There is evidence Peter’s psychosocial disability is due to PTSD, but this isn’t his only diagnosis. He hasn’t completed all other treatment options. His psychologist didn’t provide evidence that Peter’s PTSD was stable enough to properly care for an assistance animal.
- There is a risk that he wouldn’t be able to provide the constant care and attention the animal needs.
- There was no evidence the animal would do 3 tasks that would reduce the effects of Peter’s disability. Therefore, we couldn’t be satisfied an assistance animal would be, or likely be, effective and beneficial for Peter taking into account current good practice.
- The assistance animal wasn’t seen as a support specifically related to Peter’s disability. There was no evidence the animal would provide any additional support for Peter that is more than the benefits that can already be obtained from a companion animal or pet.
- There was no evidence the assistance animal would be of long term benefit to Peter and reduce his need for other supports. There were other supports available to Peter that would achieve the same result as an assistance animal at a much lower cost. Peter had not trialled these supports. Even if an assistance animal was funded, Peter would still need a support worker to go out in the community when with the dog. Therefore, we decided an assistance animal was not value for money.