Understanding causes and contributors for deaths among people with disability
Providing NDIS participants with quality supports and services in a safe and competent environment with care and skill is an important obligation for all NDIS providers, and is fundamental to the rights of people with disability.
In this context, it is especially important that both the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission) in its regulatory role, and NDIS providers delivering supports and services, address the causes of and contributors to deaths of people with disability to prevent avoidable deaths.
Under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Provider Registration and Practice Standards) Rules 2018 all registered NDIS providers are required to notify the NDIS Commission of reportable incidents that occur, or are alleged to have occurred, in connection with the provision of supports or services by registered NDIS providers. Reportable incidents include the death or serious injury of a person with disability, the abuse or neglect of a person with disability, and other types of serious incidents.
As a result of this reportable incident function, the commencement of the NDIS Commission in each state and territory by 1 December 2020 establishes, for the first time, consistent national arrangements for reporting the deaths of people with disability that occur in connection with the provision of NDIS supports or services by registered NDIS providers across Australia.
In 2019 the NDIS Commission commissioned two pieces of research on the deaths of people with disability. We decided to focus on deaths because we knew that existing death reviews had already identified a number of risks to the lives of people with disability but had not necessarily resulted in action being taken to reduce those risks. We wanted to establish a strong evidence base to enable us, as the regulator of quality and safeguards for the NDIS, to take action on a systemic basis to reduce those identified risks of death or serious injury. We are just as concerned to take action to reduce risks of other serious injuries, abuse and neglect to people with disability, and we are working with the data we have and developing our data analysis to help us identify how best to reduce these risks on a systemic basis.