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Aged care staff can play a crucial role in the future of their young residents


It is important for aged care providers and facility staff to understand how they can support young residents with disability to connect to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, writes Luke Bo’sher.

Young people in residential aged care can benefit from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) paying their means-tested aged care fees.

Luke Bo’sher

This measure dramatically increases the chances of young people being able to leave aged care and choose where they want to live and who they want to live with, because their assets will not be depleted while they are in aged care.

This is why it is important that aged care providers and staff understand how they can support their young residents with disability to connect to the NDIS.

With this, and the recently announced Royal Commission into aged care, we are moving into a potentially positive period for young people with disability who are at risk of entering aged care.

We see the Royal Commission as an opportunity to keep young people with disability on a disability pathway rather than aged care pathway.

At the Summer Foundation, we aim to resolve the issue of young people living in aged care.

Improving the interface between the NDIS and health systems, including the aged care sector, is a major focus. We work with hospital discharge staff to give them the tools to help young people with disability leave hospital to live in the community rather than being admitted to aged care.

We also work with aged care providers to support young people living in aged care, who want to re-enter the community, to access the NDIS as a means of achieving this goal.

As a bare minimum, young people in aged care should be accessing the NDIS to assist with their aged care means-tested fees.

Across Australia 6,200 young people with disability live in aged care, yet at the end of March this year only 2,082 of them were signed up to the NDIS.

Our strategic goal by 2021 is for 90 per cent of all people under the age of 65 who enter aged care to have high-quality NDIS plans in place before they are admitted.

Once a person is an NDIS participant they can ask for means-tested aged care fees to be included in their funding. And they can be supported to build their capacity to be able to leave aged care to live in the community.

But it starts with the all-important NDIS planning meeting that every participant has at the beginning of their NDIS journey.

The role that aged care staff can play in these crucial meetings shouldn’t be under-estimated. It is critical that aged care providers and staff better understand the NDIS and its processes.

We know that when the NDIS, health and aged care systems are working more effectively together young people with disability will have the best opportunity to live ordinary lives in the community.

Getting better outcomes

Our aim is to build capacity for people with disability but also to ensure that all the teams supporting them are well equipped when it comes to getting the best outcomes under the NDIS.

We have held forums, workshops and training sessions across the country and developed a range of resources.

Our resources include two documents that focus on residential aged care fees including who pays them and how they are reflected in an NDIS participant’s plan.

For example, everyone living in aged care pays a basic daily fee, which covers day-to-day things such as meals, cleaning, laundry, utilities, heating and cooling. The NDIS will not pay the basic daily fee. But, the amount of the means-tested care fee depends on income and assets and is covered by the NDIS.

Residential Aged Care Costs for NDIS Participants is a fact sheet for NDIS plan managers and financial intermediaries and The NDIS and Aged Care Fees is a guide for people with disability, their families and key supporters, support coordinators and plan managers.

We have also produced a range of resources to help aged care providers assist their residents, which are available here.

The NDIS is a new system that is continuing to evolve as it moves towards total rollout next year. Let’s learn about it together.

Luke Bo’sher is CEO of Summer Foundation.

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