Restrictive Practices & The NDIS

Under the NDIS, restrictive practices are any type of practice or intervention that has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person living with disability.

Whilst the primary goal of the NDIS is to enable people with disability to live independent and inclusive lives, in some situations, individuals with disabilities may exhibit challenging behaviors that could potentially endanger themselves or others. In such cases, certain interventions or measures might be implemented to address these behaviors. These interventions, known as restrictive practices, include physical restraint, chemical restraint (sedation or medication), seclusion, and environmental restraints.

The use of restrictive practices in the NDIS is regulated and subject to strict safeguards and guidelines. The aim is to ensure that any use of restrictive practices is necessary, proportionate, and only employed when there is a genuine risk to the person's safety or the safety of others. Providers and practitioners are required to undergo specific training, obtain consent where possible, and regularly review and monitor the use of restrictive practices.

The use of restrictive practices for people with disabilities can present serious human rights breaches. It is crucial that any decision to use such practices is made with careful clinical and ethical consideration, taking into account the person's human rights and right to self-determination.

Restrictive practices should only be considered when all other less restrictive alternatives have been explored and exhausted. The focus should be on implementing positive behavior support frameworks that are proactive, person-centered, and evidence-informed. These frameworks aim to understand the reasons behind challenging behaviors and develop strategies to address them while respecting the individual's dignity and autonomy.

When such practices are deemed necessary, they should be implemented in the least restrictive manner possible, and their use should be regularly reviewed and monitored to ensure they remain necessary and proportionate.

In any circumstance where restrictive practices are used, it is essential to have clear guidelines, regulations, and oversight mechanisms in place to prevent abuse and safeguard the rights of individuals with disabilities. The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission in Australia, for example, plays a critical role in monitoring and regulating the use of restrictive practices within the NDIS framework and more information can be found here.

Behaviour support and the use of regulated restrictive practices are considered high-risk supports, and are therefore subject to additional requirements. The National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013 and the NDIS (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018 requires providers who implement regulated restrictive practices to be registered with the NDIS Commission. It also requires providers who undertake functional behaviour assessments and write behaviour support plans to be registered, and use NDIS behaviour support practitioners.

What is an implementing provider?

An implementing provider is any NDIS provider that uses a regulated restrictive practice when delivering NDIS supports to a participant. For example, support workers restricting a participant’s free access to the community due to behaviours of concern are implementing a regulated restrictive practice. These providers are required to be registered to use regulated restrictive practices and must be assessed against Practice Standard Module 2A.

At Careseekers, we are a registered provider for Practice Standard Module 2A which means we can provide support for people who may be subject to a restrictive practice and work with behavioural support specialists to implement plans and practices.

Overall, promoting the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities should always be at the forefront of any decision-making process, and restrictive practices should be seen as an exceptional measure rather than a routine approach.

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