Urgent Action Needed on Young People in Aged Care
Thursday, 25th June 2015 at 11:29 am
Urgent action is needed to dramatically improve the lives of young people with disability living in residential aged care across Australia, according to a Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee report.
The Inquiry report tabled in Parliament calls on the Federal Government to compile a database of all young people under the age of 65-years living in residential aged care facilities using the data held by the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) program.
The report said this list should be provided in a regularly updated form to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and to State and Territory Governments.
It said young Australians under the age of 65 currently occupy five per cent of residential aged care facility beds in Australia.
“Both in my home state of Western Australia and nationwide, it is clear the issue of young people with disability living in aged care facilities is going unresolved; too many young people with disability (i.e. under the age of 65) continue to live in aged care," Community Affairs Committee Chair, Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“The report makes 12 recommendations to address this issue. It is unacceptable that young people continue to live in residential age care. It is inappropriate for young people who lack peers, support services and rehabilitation.
"Unfortunately one of the key issues stopping people moving out of residential care is the lack of suitable housing. This must be urgently addressed.
“We know before this inquiry that the understanding of the numbers of young people living in aged care with disability were shaky at best, this was reinforced by our inquiry.
“The first recommendation ensures we have comprehensive details of this demographic captured by a database, so we can work towards moving them into proper accommodation.
“Combined with an assessment tool to assess the care and accommodation needs of all young people living in or at risk of entering residential care, we hope to lower the number of people that end up in inadequate placements.
“The committee also recommends an advocate be assigned to all young people living in residential care. This will ensure that the young person and their families will receive proper information about their options and also have someone to act on behalf of the young person. It is essential that a key worker also be appointed to help people access services.”
The report also recommends the establishment of a joint State and Federal Government taskforce to approach to the issues.
“This taskforce would facilitate the development and implementation of integrated service pathways involving a range of State and Federal portfolios,” Senator Siewert said.
“It is time we moved to quickly close this window of disservice to young people living with disability, young people with disability deserve to have choice and control over their lives and choose where and how they live.”
The Senate Committee received 167 submissions from individuals, Not for Profits, peak bodies, service providers and disability advocacy groups during its five month inquiry.
Download the report here.