An overview of sleepover support sessions and support work

A woman in bed turning off her alarm clock.

As an independent support worker, you may be asked to do a sleepover support session for a client. This may include active support and passive support during your overnight stay.

It’s important to understand the type of support involved in a sleepover session, for yourself and your client’s wellbeing.

About sleepover support rates and the NDIS price guide

The NDIS price guide sets the maximum rates that can be paid by plan and agency-managed NDIS participants.

These maximum rates are intended for use by NDIS Registered Providers who tend to have higher overheads reflecting their regulatory responsibilities.

As a non-registered, small business with lower overheads, you have the opportunity to charge a more cost-effective rate benefiting you and your clients.

While self-managed NDIS participants don’t need to adhere to price limits, plan-managed and agency-managed NDIS participants have to. While you have the opportunity to set your rates, it is recommended that you take these factors into account, as well as Mable’s platform fees, so you don’t exceed the NDIS price caps.

Sleepover session must-haves

It is recommended that you discuss the details of a sleepover session with the client right at the beginning, that is, at the meet and greet.

Some of the things to take into account include:

  • What tasks will be required of you and are you qualified to do them? Overnight sleep sessions often include personal care, which requires certain qualifications and recent referees.
  • Do you feel confident to stay overnight at your client’s house?
  • Is the home environment a safe place for you to work?

Once you and the client have mutually agreed on what the sleepover support session includes, set the terms out in your service agreement.

Only once the client has accepted the agreement should you start providing support. This is to ensure that you and your client are covered by Mable’s suite of high-level insurances and safeguards for the support sessions invoiced through the Mable platform.

Now let’s look at the different rates involved in sleep sessions. There are two different rates for sleep sessions: an active sleep rate and a passive sleep rate.

Active support

Active support refers to the hours where you are actively supporting a client during the night.

This may include administering medication, assisting with personal care and toileting.

You can charge an hourly rate for support sessions where you are active with the client throughout the night and you don’t have the opportunity to sleep.

This kind of overnight sleepover support session is for clients who usually need regular and/or intense support throughout the night.

Passive support

Passive support consists of the hours you are not providing support and during these hours you can sleep at the client’s home. This is known as night-time sleepover support in the NDIS price guide.

A passive sleepover support session is agreed upon with the understanding that you are ‘on call’ for light support throughout the night.

Passive sleep support is a fixed rate for the total eight-hour passive sleep session. Within those eight hours, up to two hours of active support is expected within the overnight session fixed rate.

If you anticipate or end up working more than 2 active hours during the shift, you are able to charge an hourly rate for those active hours.

As per the NDIS Pricing Arrangements, the third hour or additional hours you are actively working may be charged at Saturday rates during weekday overnight support sessions, or at applicable rates on other days such as Sundays and Public Holidays.

Four criteria make up a night-time sleepover support session, according to the NDIS:

  1. It can be delivered to a client on a weekday, Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday (basically, anytime)
  2. The support session needs to commence before midnight and finish after midnight on that day
  3. The support session is a continuous session of eight hours or more
  4. The support worker can sleep when they are not providing support.

Overnight support rates

Support rates need to be within the NDIS price guide caps and factor in the Mable platform fees, meaning your rate must include the Mable platform fees so that your total rate does not exceed the price caps in the NDIS price guide.

There is no night-time sleepover support item for nurses in the NDIS price guide. However, the NDIS price guide does list the support items in a separate table for nurses. The price limits apply depending on the time of day, day of week and on the type of nurse that provides the support.

Before and after the sleepover session

If your client needs you to actively support them before and/or after the sleepover session, you can charge the client at your usual rate.

For example, if you provide support to your client before the sleepover begins, you will charge your regular day or evening rate for those hours (depending on what time you are providing the support).

If you work in the morning for the client preparing breakfast and assisting with showering, for example, then you would charge your usual day rate according to whether it’s a weekday, Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday.

Providing night-time sleep over support to clients is a straightforward process of assessing whether you are the right candidate for the role and then creating a clear service agreement that includes the appropriate rates, expected duties and number of active hours anticipated.

By approaching a sleepover session in this professional manner, both yourself and your client will have clear expectations and safeguards in place.

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If you’ve agreed to a night-time sleepover session, you can sleep when you’re not supporting your client. You’re expected to be active for up to two hours during an overnight sleep session.

Yes, you can charge for the number of hours beyond two hours you were actively supporting your client.

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