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How to help NDIS participants who are stuck in hospital

A woman holding hospital and NDIS paperwork

The recent Disability Reform Ministers’ Meeting (DMM) (held on 29 July 2022) addressed the issue of NDIS participants who are stuck in hospital because they are unable to access appropriate housing and support. Federal, state and territory disability ministers agreed an approach will be taken to health and other ministers, recognising that participants may need interim plans with reasonable and necessary accommodation and additional support to enable more timely discharge from hospital.

You can read a summary of the DMM discussions here.

What to watch out for

If a suitable long-term solution is not available, interim solutions that bridge the gap between hospital and community should be considered. Securing long-term housing and supports should always be prioritised over short or medium-term options. There are risks associated with transitional housing models that see people with complex needs being discharged to substandard accommodation such as a converted old hospital wing or an aged care facility. 

Some participants are getting stuck in transitional accommodation and it becomes their long-term home, despite being unsuitable. Residents in transitional accommodation are at risk of experiencing poorer outcomes the longer they stay, and they can get stuck for several years because there is a lack of adequate support to transition to suitable long-term housing in the community.

Referral pathways and discharge destinations for people with disability need to be better understood. When looking for appropriate housing options, preferred living arrangements and ongoing support needs must be carefully considered.  Understanding the various housing options that are available to participants with complex needs is critical for support coordinators, allied health professionals and health teams working in the discharge space. UpSkill and the Summer Foundation can assist you to navigate housing options that meet the individual needs of the participant you are working with. Participants should not be forced to stay in hospital or residential aged care, or pushed into unsuitable transitional accommodation models.

Here to help

Hospital to Home Service

The Summer Foundation’s Hospital to Home service (previously known as the Housing Brokerage Service) is open for referrals to NDIS participants who are stuck in hospital with a housing barrier to discharge. 

Hospital to Home (HTH) continues to work with the Victorian Department of Health to support the Pathways to Home transitional care program. They are also accepting referrals for NDIS participants who are not eligible for this program, or who have been recently discharged to transitional care, where HTH can provide support to find long-term housing and assist with NDIS evidence requirements. 

UpSkill Training

Working with people stuck in hospital

Learn about how hospitals work towards discharge and how health and NDIS supports can be used to facilitate smooth transitions home.

Date: Thursday 27 October, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Housing Hub 

The Housing Hub’s free Housing Options Online Learning Package has been created to assist participants to explore different housing options. The learning package includes housing options workbooks and state-specific information about housing for people with disability. The workbooks allow you to work with participants and follow a step-by-step process to determine the best housing option and have been developed for participants looking for housing that meets their needs and preferences. They are also great resources to support anyone to understand the different types of housing and support that are available.

The SDA Housing support line can assist participants and their supporters to navigate housing options and achieve good outcomes. You can call them on 1300 61 64 63 from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays) Sydney/Melbourne time.

For further information, please see the Summer Foundation’s recently published policy position statement on housing as a barrier to hospital discharge.

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