Government pledges to remove young people from nursing homes
22 March 2019 at 5:09 pm
The federal government will help young people with disability in aged care facilities to move into homes of their choosing, as part of a new national action plan.
Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher unveiled the plan at the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) conference on Friday, pledging to halve the number of people under 65 entering aged care by 2025.
The government aims to get all people under 45 who wish to leave aged care homes into alternative, age-appropriate housing by 2022, while removing all those under 65 by 2025.
— Youngcare Australia (@YoungcareOZ) March 21, 2019
Fletcher said it was unacceptable that nearly 6,000 Australians under 65 were currently living in residential aged care facilities.
“The aged care system is designed to support the needs of older people. It is not designed or necessarily well-equipped to meet all of the needs a younger person with disability may have,” Fletcher said.
“This practical plan with concrete actions is designed to dramatically reduce the number of younger people aged under 65 needing to live in aged care.”
A shortage of suitable SDA housing has forced many young people with complex needs into aged care facilities.
The action plan said the government will support the development of the specialist housing market by making it easier for SDA providers to build more homes.
The plan adds that by July 2020, all younger NDIS participants in aged care will be able to receive a budget for SDA housing before they have found a property.
The government expects to eventually spend up to $700 million in SDA payments each year to accommodate 28,000 NDIS participants requiring specialist housing.
The National Disability Insurance Agency’s new Complex Support Needs Pathway will also be used to offer specialised support to all younger people in aged care.
Anthony Ryan, the CEO of disability accommodation provider Youngcare, told Pro Bono News the sector was extremely excited by the announcement.
Ryan said the timelines the government had put in place were suitable given the complications involved in moving people with complex needs into a new setting.
He also noted it would take about 18 months before a lot of SDA stock would be ready.
— Youngcare Australia (@YoungcareOZ) March 22, 2019
“The builders and developers and care providers are all working hard together but you just can’t snap your fingers and a building comes out of the ground,” Ryan said.
“Some people have been part of institutional living for over 40 years, so moving them into something where there is a little bit more independence can be difficult.
“You’ve really got to walk with them step-by-step to assist them in getting used to this new aspect of their lives.”
Ryan said not everyone would move out of aged care into SDA accommodation, and it would be a personal choice where somewhere was placed.
“If someone doesn’t want to move into SDA stock and they want to move back into their own homes or back into the family home, they will be supported to do so,” he said.
“This is about creating better pathways for individuals and actually giving them support mechanisms that they require to live a good life.”