When we talk about keeping young people out of nursing homes, it’s important to understand how they end up in nursing homes in the first place.

Improving the role of both the NDIS and hospitals in supporting young people with disability to leave hospital and return to their community is one of the keys to keeping them out of nursing homes.

More than 2,550 young Australians with disability enter residential aged care (RAC) every year. As a result, more than 6,200 young Australians with disability live in RAC, a life characterised by loneliness and isolation.

Living in RAC is not an ordinary life for people with disability. Fifty three per cent of people in aged care receive a visit from a friend less than once per year and 82 per cent seldom or never visit their friends. Life in a nursing home is lonely and boring.

Improving the pathway from hospital to the community is the key to reducing the number of young people in nursing homes. Most (59%) younger people are admitted to an acute or rehabilitation hospital before their first admission to aged care, with most younger people in aged care having a brain injury (58%), or late onset degenerative neurological disabilities such as multiple sclerosis (14%) and Huntington’s disease (9%).

The Summer Foundation is working with hospitals in a number of ways to turn the statistics around and build capacity in the health system to ensure better outcomes for young people at risk of entering a nursing home.

Our Hospital Discharge Readiness Project will adapt existing resources for the process of leaving hospital, which will reflect the NDIS mainstream Working Arrangements. We will also produce 10 video stories featuring young people with lived experience of hospital discharge and will share these materials with 146 Local Hospital Networks (LHNs).

We are working with two hospital networks in Victoria on a Redesigning the Hospital–NDIS Pathway Project to create a collaborative discharge planning approach between health and disability services so that people with a disability have a pathway from hospital, through the NDIS and back into the community.

Our work with hospitals includes developing a rapid response model, as part of a NDIS Readiness for Hospitals Project, to better understand what happens when people’s needs suddenly change and how we can create more responsive health and NDIS systems.


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