Next week’s budget will include $10.6 million for a national network of system co-ordinators to help keep younger people with disability out of residential aged care.

Richard Colbeck

The money will fund up to 40 co-ordinators to directly help younger people who are living in or, at risk of entering residential facilities.

The initiative is included in a new government strategy for getting young people out of residential aged care facilities and into age-appropriate accommodation in the community.

The Younger People in Residential Aged Care Strategy released on Wednesday by aged care minister Richard Colbeck and NDIS minister Stuart Robert charts the course to meet targets set by the government last year and follows the YPIRAC Action Plan released in March.

“The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring no younger person needs to live in residential aged care,’ the ministers said in a joint statement. 

“People who want to live on their own terms and with independence in the community will be supported to navigate Commonwealth and state and territory systems. 

“System coordinators will work with younger people and their families to support younger people to access the disability services, health services, housing and social supports they need.”

The strategy recommends strict eligibility conditions for a younger person to enter residential aged care, including that all other options have been explored and that they have made an informed choice to be there.

Alternative, age-appropriate accommodation and supports are crucial to assist younger people to leave residential aged care, it says.

A step forward, say advocacy groups

Advocacy organisation The Summer Foundation, which worked with the government to develop the strategy, says the announcement is a positive step forward.

Amelia Condi

“The release of the YIPRAC Strategy and funding boost is another positive step towards achieving the government’s YIPRAC targets and in supporting young people to find appropriate housing that suits their needs,” head of government relations and policy Amelia Condi said. 

The foundation was progressing work on some key priority areas in the strategy, she said, including the provision of a housing platform to match people with disability with housing to meet their needs.

Fellow advocacy group, Youngcare Connect also advised the government as a member of the stakeholder reference group

Manager Shane Jamieson said young people in aged care have lived without choice and control for too long and he described the announcement as a huge step in the right direction.

“They deserve to choose where they live, who they live with and how they live their lives,” he said.

“We have already seen the numbers starting to trending downwards, and are confident that with this continued assurance and action we can continue to encourage the community, investors and developers to create dedicated pathways home for younger people living in aged care.”

Targets

The government has set targets of having no people under 65 entering residential aged care and no people under 45 in residential care by 2022.

It also aims to have no one under 65 in the residential care by 2025.

As of June there were 4,860 people aged under 65 living in residential aged care and 130 aged under 45, the government says.

Getting young people with disability out of the aged care system was a key recommendation of the interim report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

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