Person-Centred Supports: NDIS Rights and Responsibilities


Published: 13 July 2021

The outdated view of clients as passive recipients of care has given way to one where individuals are now seen as active participants and partners in healthcare, with a valuable perspective and a vested interest in ensuring safe care (Levett-Jones, Gilligan, Outram & Horton 2014). As such, the concept of person-centred care has become fundamental to quality practice (Levett-Jones 2020).

All providers of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services are required to deliver supports that are person-centred - but what exactly does this entail?

What is Person-Centred Care?

Person-centred care is a holistic approach to healthcare that is grounded in a philosophy of personhood. It promotes self-determination, empowerment and a commitment to providing healthcare that is responsive to the needs and preferences of the individual.

Person-centred health professionals acknowledge that each person is unique, has equal rights and worth, and brings their own experiences about their health and illness (Kitwood 1997; Levett-Jones 2020).

Person-centred health professionals are ethical, open-minded, empathetic, respectful and self-aware, with a profound sense of moral agency (Levett-Jones et al. 2014).

Delivering care in a person-centred way means that:

  • The care recipient is at the centre of the service they are receiving and are supported to make decisions about their life
  • The recipient’s life experience, age, gender, culture, heritage, language, beliefs and identity are all taken into account in the delivery of care
  • The services provided are flexible in order to meet the recipient’s preferences and
  • priorities
  • Care is strengths-based; in other words, there is a greater focus placed on what the recipient can do rather than what they require help with, and the recipient is considered to be the expert of their own life The recipient’s support networks work with the service provider in a partnership.

(NSW Health 2020)

Overall, the goal of person-centred care is to enable the care recipient to establish and maintain control over their life (NSW Health 2020).

Person-Centred Supports in the NDIS Practice Standards

Person-centred supports are a requirement of the NDIS Practice Standards under Core Module 1: Rights and Responsibilities.

This Practice Standard aims to ensure that NDIS participants are:

  • Able to access supports that respect and uphold their legal and human rights
  • Able to make informed decisions and exercise control
  • Able to access supports that promote, uphold and respect freedom of expression, self-determination and decision-making.

(NDIS 2020)

NDIS providers must meet the following quality indicators:

  • Providers acknowledge and incorporate the legal and human rights of participants into everyday practice
  • Providers communicate with participants in a way that:
    • Is responsive to their needs
    • They are able to understand (through the use of appropriate language, mode of communication and terminology)
  • Participants are supported to engage with their family, friends and community (as decided by the participant).

(NDIS 2020)

Person-Centred Care v Service/System-Centred Care

Service/system-centred care focuses on the way in which a person fits into a system and how the system can ‘service’ them. This approach adopts a medical model that defines people by ‘deficiencies’ that the system needs to ‘fix’ (Open Future Learning 2013).

On the other hand, person-centred care means ensuring that the person, their capabilities and their community - rather than the organisation or system - is at the centre of your work (NDP 2016; Open Future Learning 2013).

For example:

Person-Centred Care Service/System-Centred Care
You talk to the recipient You talk about the recipient
You plan together with the recipient You plan for the recipient
You focus on the recipient’s strengths, abilities and skills You focus on labels, diagnosis and deficits
You find community-based solutions that could work for any person You find solutions that work for people with a specific diagnosis
You do things in a way that work for the recipient You do things in a way that work for the staff or organisation
You view the recipient’s family and community as partners in care You view the recipient’s family and community as peripheral

(NDP 2016)

Benefits of Person-Centred Care

Recognition of person-centred care as a key dimension of safety and quality is changing the landscape of contemporary practice. A growing body of research has demonstrated that when health professionals, care recipients and families work in partnership, the quality and safety of healthcare rises, costs decrease, and provider and recipient satisfaction increases (Levett-Jones et al. 2014).

Other identified benefits include:

  • Improved care experience
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Increased trust.

(VIC DoH 2015; ACSQHC 2011; Levett-Jones 2020)

Viewing Care Recipients as Individuals

person-centred supports viewing care recipients as individuals

An important part of delivering person-centred supports is gaining an understanding of the person as an individual and acknowledging their strengths and qualities.

It’s important to know:

  • The person’s history beyond their support plan
  • What matters to the person e.g. their relationships, routines and interests
  • The person’s goals for the future
  • The way in which the person would like to be supported
  • The way in which the person communicates
  • The way in which the person makes decisions
  • What the person feels is and isn’t working in regards to the support they are receiving
  • The person’s friendships, relationships and community.

(NDS & HSA 2014)


Person-centred care is a holistic and genuine approach to healthcare that supports people to lead the life they want. The way that health professionals respond to care recipients’ health issues, vulnerabilities, personalities and situations can have a significant and often long-lasting impact on their health and wellbeing. Furthermore, person-centred care has been demonstrated to positively influence health outcomes and the degree of satisfaction that carers derive from their work (Levett-Jones 2020).

Additional Resources


Test Your Knowledge

Question 1 of 3

True or false: Person-centered care involves focusing on what needs to be ‘fixed’.


educator profile image
Ausmed View profile
Ausmed’s editorial team is committed to providing high-quality, well-researched and reputable education to our users, free of any commercial bias or conflict of interest. All education produced by Ausmed is developed in consultation with healthcare professionals and undergoes a rigorous review process to ensure the relevancy of all healthcare information and updates to changes in practice. If you have identified an issue with the education offered by Ausmed or wish to submit feedback to Ausmed's editorial team, please email with your concerns.