Ceased program was a success

The AIHW has released a new report which shows that a now ceased government program to get young people out of aged care was, in fact, a success.

By Yasmin Noone

More than 1,430 younger people with disability have been helped in the past five years by a now ceased government program aimed at reducing the number of people with young people living in residential aged care, according to a Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, released today.

The report, Younger people with disability in residential aged care: 2010–11, shows the number of service users increased steadily over the five years of the former Younger People with Disability in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) program.

“Of these, an estimated 250 achieved the first YPIRAC objective—to move out of residential aged care and into more appropriate accommodation,”’ said AIHW spokesperson, Nigel Harding.

A further 244 people achieved the second objective, and were diverted away from residential aged care, while another 456 people achieved the third YPIRAC objective—receiving enhanced services within residential aged care, when this was an available, suitable accommodation option.

The remaining program participants received YPIRAC assessment and/or monitoring.

Over the life of the YPIRAC program, the total number of permanent residents of residential aged care aged under 65 fell.

“In particular, there has been a 35 per cent drop in the number of people under 50 living in permanent aged care since 2005–06,” Mr Harding said.

The YPRIAC funding program, introduced in 2005, was a joint initiative between the federal, state and territory governments which allocated $244 million to prevent young Australians from moving into residential aged care and to enable those already there to move into more age-appropriate accommodation.

Of the around 1,100 people who received services under the program in 2010–11, just under two-thirds were aged under 50, which was the initial primary priority group of the initiative.

Nearly half (45 per cent) of YPIRAC service users in 2010–11 reported a primary disability group of ‘acquired brain injury’. Another 30 per cent reported ‘neurological’ as their primary disability group.

According to advocacy group, Youngcare, there are an estimated 6,500 young people currently living in aged care.

But despite the high numbers and good results reaped by the YPRIAC program, it ceased on 30 June 2011.

The document released today builds on a former AIHW report, from August 2012, which demonstrates that over five years of the program, approximately 140 people under the age of 65 years moved out of residential aged care into age-appropriate accommodation.

A 2011 Monash University report also found that young people living in nursing homes are one of the most marginalised and isolated groups of people in Australian society.

The report found that their life in residential aged care was socially isolating and boring, and because they are placed in the wrong atmosphere for their needs, young people with disabilities living in a facility generally lead impoverished lives.

According to the university’s Young People in Nursing Homes whitepaper, around 44 per cent of young people in aged care receive a visit from a friend less than once a year. More than 20 per cent went outside “seldom or never” and 34 per cent of young people with a disability living in a facility almost never participated in any community-based activities like shopping, sports, or visiting friends and family.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia’s health and welfare.

Tags: aged-care, aihw, brain-injury, disability, disabled, doha, young-people, young-people-in-residential, youngcare, ypriac,

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