How NDIS Has Redefined Respite Care and Short-Term Accommodation (STA)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia is always changing to better help people with disabilities. One big change has been in the way ‘Respite Care’ and ‘Short-Term Accommodation (STA)’ are understood and used. It’s important to understand these changes, both for people using the services and their caregivers.

In the past, respite care was a service that gave caregivers, like family members, a short break from looking after individuals with disabilities or special needs. The NDIS has moved away from the term ‘respite’ and instead has included the idea in different kinds of supports. These supports include Short-Term Accommodation, Assistance with Daily Life, and Assistance with Social & Community Participation. The NDIS has shifted the focus from the caregiver to the individual with the disability. Now, there is more emphasis on their personal goals, skills, and taking part in the community.

On the other hand, Short-Term Accommodation (STA) is a type of support under the NDIS. STA used to often be called ‘respite’. Now, STA refers to temporary places to live for individuals with disabilities, providing a change from their normal environment. This could be because their regular caregivers are not available, their home is being fixed or changed, or just to give them a chance to experience new surroundings and meet new people.

Here’s a simple breakdown of how these two services are different and how traditional respite care is now part of Short-Term Accommodation.

Short-Term Accommodation (STA)


STA provides temporary places for individuals with disabilities to live when they need a change from their normal surroundings. This might be because their regular caregivers are not available, their home is being fixed, or just to give them a chance to experience new surroundings and meet new people.


STA can last from one night to a few weeks, depending on what the individual needs and what’s happening in their life. The length of the stay is usually planned in advance but can also be arranged for unexpected situations.

Care Services

STA provides a range of services. This includes a temporary place to live, personal care, meals, and support for activities and skills development. It also gives a chance for social interaction and taking part in the community.

Target Recipients

The main people who use STA are individuals with disabilities who need a temporary change in where they live. It helps support their independence, improve their social skills, and helps them achieve their goals. It also provides a break for their regular caregivers.

Respite Care Under NDIS


The services that used to be called ‘respite’ are now designed to support the individual needs of the person with a disability. This includes improving their skills and taking part in the community.


The length of the services that have replaced ‘respite’ can change a lot. It depends on what the individual wants to achieve and their NDIS Plan. This could include regular short breaks, occasional overnight stays, or longer-term plans.

Care Services

The services provided within these supports will change based on what the person needs. This could include help with daily living, personal care, and support for taking part in the community and social activities.

Target Recipients

While the term ‘respite’ used to be mainly for giving a break to caregivers or family members, the NDIS now focuses more on the individual with a disability and their goals.

In conclusion, the NDIS has changed the way care is given to individuals with disabilities in Australia. By focusing on the person with the disability, it makes sure that they can live a fulfilling life while still providing a break to caregivers. Understanding these terms and how they work under NDIS can help service users and their families make informed decisions about the kind of support they need and seek.

Explore the different types of NDIS services we provide, which focus on the person to make sure they receive care that fits their needs.

Find out more on how the NDIS has changed the way we understand traditional respite care as part of Short-Term Accommodation (STA) on the NDIS website links below:

1. Short Term Accommodation or Respite
2. What is Short Term Accommodation, including respite?

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