Taskforce Needed to Address Young People in Aged Care
25 June 2015 at 4:08 pm
A Senate Inquiry report into the adequacy of residential care for young people with disability has highlighted the wasted potential of young people who are forced to live in nursing homes, writes Summer Foundation CEO Dr Di Winkler.
Tabled this week, the report by the Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee identifies the urgent need to prevent new admissions of young people to nursing homes.
Practical recommendations were made in a range of areas including assessment, information, advocacy and a national rehabilitation strategy that will work collaboratively to prevent new admissions.
The establishment of a joint taskforce is critical to ensure the recommendations are coordinated across all levels of Government.
Preventing admissions is a far more effective measure than trying to move people out of aged care. Once in a nursing home, young people lose skills and their social networks diminish.
The report also emphasised that the NDIS alone cannot solve the issue of young people in nursing homes in Australia. While it provides a range of equipment and home support, the NDIS does not address the lack of affordable and accessible housing for people with disability.
Contemporary models of housing and support are required that support an individual’s ability to have greater choice and control over how they live.
The NDIS has limited funding for capital to support the development of new housing for young people in nursing homes.
Rather than continuing to build segregated specialist housing, the housing needs of people with disabilities need to be incorporated into mainstream housing strategy.
The Senate Inquiry report recommended a further inquiry to determine what can be done to address the lack of appropriate housing for young people with disability in Australia.
No one sector has the expertise or resources to resolve these issues of young people in nursing homes in Australia on its own. I look forward to working with our State and Federal Governments, the NDIA, the Young People In Nursing Homes Alliance and YoungCare to resolve them.
The full report can be viewed online here.
About the author: Di Winkler is CEO of the Summer Foundation. She is an an occupational therapist who has worked with people with severe brain injury for more than 20 years and established the Summer Foundation in January 2006. Winkler is currently a Director of Brain Injury Australia, a National Disability Services State (VIC) Committee Member, and the Chair of the Victorian Coalition of Acquired Brain Injury Service Providers (VCASP).