There’s support for aged care providers as they transition to NDIS and start providing more choice and control for people with disability, writes Amelia Condi.

Young people with disability will soon have more opportunities to explore appropriate housing options than ever before, with the transition of more than 500 aged care providers to National Disability Insurance Scheme providers on 1 December 2020.

The NDIS Commission has been working with aged care providers to support their transition to the NDIS by 1 December 2020.

Amelia Condi

Across Australia, many people with disability under 65 years of age still live in aged care. Up until recently, this was the only housing options available to them. The NDIS has made major changes to the housing landscape for people with disability, with new housing and support options emerging in recent years, such as specialist disability accommodation, supported independent living, independent living options and assistive technology.

All people with disability deserve the choice and control to live where they would like to live and who they would like to live with, as an active and engaged participant in their community. 

Younger people with disability who are living in aged care should be able to explore their housing needs and preferences that best support their wants and needs. It can be difficult for people with disability to access information about available housing options and many support providers also have a limited understanding about what options are available. It can also be difficult to understand what NDIS funding may be available and how to gain access to funding.

What this means for aged care providers

From 1 December 2020, all aged care providers that support a young person with disability who is an NDIS participant will automatically be registered as an NDIS provider. This will mean that younger people living in aged care will have additional protections under the requirements of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding requirements and NDIS Code of Conduct. 

For providers, this change can mean additional reporting and audit requirements, which are relevant only to the NDIS participants in their care. This includes working with NDIS planners to develop behavioural support plans for participants, and regular reporting on any restrictive practices, even where there may be approved use through existing care plans and previously compliant under the Aged Care Act 1997. 

Many of the 500 aged care providers who support young people with disability across Australia have expressed concerns about working under the two sets of legislation that apply for different people. This is particularly relevant where aged care providers are supporting less than 10 young  people and in some cases only one young person. The move to a registered provider brings additional administrative burden for providers and could take away from their focus on care. 

To support aged care providers through this transition, Aged and Community Services Australia has been funded by the NDIS Commission to support providers with readiness, transition and to understand their new requirements. ACSA has established the RAC NDIS Support Hub where providers can find information, ask questions and access resources. ACSA will also be running a number of webinars to inform providers of the changes and requirements. 

Considerations for young people with disability

Young people with disability will soon have more opportunities to explore appropriate housing options than ever before.

While the move to register aged care providers as NDIS providers is good news for NDIS participants, it is also an opportunity for young people living in aged care, whether an NDIS participant or not, to look at housing options that will best support their needs and enable them to live independently in the way they want. 

There are many reasons young people end up in aged care, including a lack of understanding about available housing and support options, wait times for approval of supports and services and, often, discharge from a stay in hospital.

Young People in Residential Aged Care Strategy

On 30 September 2020, Minister for National Disability Insurance Scheme Stuart Robert and Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck announced the Young People in Residential Aged Care Strategy. The strategy aims to reduce the number of young people living in aged care over the next five years. 

The YPIRAC targets seek to ensure, apart from in exceptional circumstances, there are 

  • no people under the age of 65 entering residential aged care by 2022
  • no people under the age of 45 living in residential aged care by 2022 
  • no people under the age of 65 living in residential aged care by 2025.

This is an important and significant step to support young people to live the life they want and has been warmly welcomed by the Summer Foundation. We have been engaged in the design of the strategy and are already progressing activity that will contribute to the targets. Summer Foundation is committed to support young people to live independent lives and have choice and control over all aspects of their lives. 

The YPIRAC Strategy is for all young people with disability living in aged care, or at risk of admission to aged care, and is not limited to NDIS participants. 

Funding from the Budget

The budget handed down by the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg in October 2020 promised to deliver $10.6 million to support young people who live in aged care or are at risk of admission to aged care. As part of the budget, the government is establishing a national network of 40 system coordinators to directly help younger people living in, or at risk of entry to, residential aged care.

The 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.

Support is available now

The Summer Foundation is able to provide information to young people with disability and their family, friends and close others about appropriate housing and support options, accessing the NDIS and applying for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) funding.

The Summer Foundation’s Housing Hub is a website for young people with disability who are looking to explore their housing and support options. Support is available to create a housing seeker profile, which, once finalised will enable the person to progress through to identifying their housing needs and preferences. 

Relevant accessible housing options which align with their needs and preferences are then presented for consideration. 

The Housing Hub has published a series of SDA Explainer videos, designed to help people with disability understand what SDA options may be available to them.

The Summer Foundation and the Housing Hub will also be delivering workshops to support young people with disability to explore their housing needs and preferences over the coming months. In these sessions, young people will have the opportunity to discuss their needs and will have access to relevant information to inform their search for appropriate housing. 

Explore housing and support options at housinghub.org.au or by contacting the Summer Foundation on 1300 61 64 63 or [email protected].

Amelia Condi is head of government relations and policy at Summer Foundation, which aims to end younger people with disability being forced to live in aged care.

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