If you need help to manage your nutrition because of your disability, we may be able to fund:
- products you use like nutritional supplements, thickener products and HEN formula
- a support worker to help manage your HEN or PEG, if you, your family, or carers can’t do this
- support to make sure you stay healthy if you have a PEG or use HEN.
We may also fund a dietitian to create and review a nutritional meal plan for you. Your family, friends or carers may be able to help you prepare meals according to the meal plan. If you don’t have family, friends or carers help or they can’t help you to prepare meals, we may fund support to help you. We will only do this if your disability affects your ability to understand healthy eating or to eat, cook or prepare meals on your own.
We’ll generally fund training for the people who help you with your nutrition support needs if your disability means you have trouble looking after your nutrition yourself. Training could be for a family member, carer, or support worker. The training may include how to help you follow a nutritional meal plan. Or it could be a nurse to train a support worker in how to help with a HEN plan.
If you use HEN or a PEG, we may fund equipment for this including:
- enteral feeding tubes and pumps
- feed bags or bottles
- syringes and giving sets to get the formula into the feeding tube.
If we fund HEN products in your plan, we’ll tell you how much funding you have for this in your plan. HEN products will be included in your Core: Consumables budget.
To include funding for nutrition supports, we need evidence from your dietitian or another suitably qualified health professional. Evidence could be your nutrition plan which shows how the supports will meet your individual nutrition needs. Your dietitian can also use our Nutrition and dysphagia assistive technology assessment template or write their own report.
Your nutrition supports will need to be regularly reviewed to make sure they continue to meet your individual nutrition needs. Your dietitian will recommend how often they will review your nutrition. For each review, we may fund a dietitian to reassess and update your nutrition plan.
We won’t fund nutrition supports for health issues that are not related to your disability. This includes:
- weight loss
- eating disorders
- food allergies
- cardiovascular disease
- renal disease
- polycystic ovarian syndrome
- irritable bowel syndrome.
You can get support for these health issues through health and other systems.
What if you need nutritional supplements or home enteral nutrition?
Food is an everyday cost which most Australians pay for, whether they have a disability or not. However, your disability may mean you have trouble getting everything you need to stay healthy from food or drink.
To help you get the nutrition you need, you may be prescribed nutritional supplements that you eat or drink by a suitably qualified health professional. These supplements increase the amount of nutrition you get in your diet.
We may be able to include funding for the prescribed nutritional supplements in your plan. The supplements need to be related to your disability.
You may use HEN instead of eating food and drink orally. This could be the only way you get the nutrition you need. Or you could also eat some of your food and drink orally. We may include funding for HEN formula in your plan. We may do this if you get all or part of your nutrition from HEN. Your dietitian and medical team will work out the best way for you to get the nutrition you need.
We’ll use reports from a suitably qualified health professional to work out if nutritional supplements or HEN meet the NDIS funding criteria for you. A suitably qualified health professional will most likely be your dietitian. They can use our Nutrition and dysphagia assistive technology assessment template or write their own report.
You can learn more in our Would we fund it guide – home enteral nutrition.
If you have trouble swallowing because of your disability, you may need thickener products. Thickener products thicken food or fluids to help you to swallow, eat and drink safely. A speech pathologist will recommend the type and amount of thickener you need.
What if you need help to manage your nutrition?
Your disability may mean you need help to manage your nutrition. We may be able to fund this support. This generally can include a qualified dietitian to:
- create and review a nutritional meal plan for you
- train the people who support you in your nutrition support needs, such as a family member, carer, or support worker.
If you have a PEG, we may fund a registered nurse to help with the care of it and your HEN. We would need evidence that describes why you need a registered nurse and what they will do. Where we can, we’ll generally fund a nurse to train a family member or a support worker in your individual nutrition support needs.
We may be able to fund a support worker if you have trouble looking after your PEG or HEN. The support worker can help with cleaning your PEG and the area where it enters your body. We may also be able to fund a support worker to help with meal preparation if your disability means you can’t do this yourself. Learn more in What if you need help to prepare meals?
We can only fund these supports if they meet the NDIS funding criteria for you.