Aged Care Royal Commission calls for end to young people with disability entering aged care system

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Posted 9 months ago

The Aged Care Royal Commission has made three recommendations regarding young people in aged care in its Final Report. [Source: iStock]
The Aged Care Royal Commission has made three recommendations regarding young people in aged care in its Final Report. [Source: iStock]

No person under the age of 65 should be living in residential aged care from 1 January 2025, says the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety in its Final Report released to the public on Monday.

The Australian Government delivered its initial response to the Final Report findings from the Aged Care Royal Commission, which outlined 148 recommendations that aim to fix the broken aged care sector and create an industry that puts care, dignity and respect first.

In addition to no one under the age of 65 living in residential aged care from 1 January 2025, the Commission states the Australian Government should immediately put in place means to achieve other commitments announced by the Prime Minister back in November 2019 that:

  • no person under the age of 65 years enters residential aged care from 1 January 2022 

  • no person under the age of 45 years lives in residential aged care from 1 January 2022

In the report, the Commission outlined nine ways in which the Government should achieve these goals, which includes:

  • Referring young people at risk of entering aged care to more appropriate organisations for assessment, such as the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), instead of an Aged Care Assessment Team/Service (ACAT/S).

  • Developing hospital discharge protocols with State and Territory Governments to prevent discharge into residential aged care of any younger person.

  • Developing, funding and implementing State and Territory Governments programs for short-term and long-term accommodation and care options for any younger person who is either living in or at risk of entering residential aged care and or not eligible to be a participant in the NDIS.

  • Requiring the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to publish an annual Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) National Plan.

The Commission has also recommended that a younger person should only ever live in residential aged care if it is in the demonstrable best interests of the particular person (and is independently certified to be such by someone with suitable skills, experience, training and knowledge of the person) in limited and exceptional circumstances such as, for instance, where: 

  • The person will turn 65 years within a short period of time (within 3 months) after entering into residential aged care. 

  • The person’s close relatives over 65 years live in a residential aged care facility and the person would suffer serious hardship on being separated from those relatives. 

  • An Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person between the age of 50 and 64 years elects to live in residential aged care.

Commissioners, Tony Pagone QC and Lynelle Briggs AO, handed the report to Parliament on Friday, 26 February, and the Government used the weekend to review the findings.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has welcomed the Final Report and says it's important for the systemic change needed in the aged care sector.

"The Royal Commission has now, I think, set out a very important roadmap, which I think will establish generational change in our country when it comes to aged care," explains PM Morrison.

"It was the inquiry we needed to have, it's well-considered, it's honest, it's positive, it's compassionate, it's comprehension, it's candid, it's passionate, it's ambitious. All the things I hoped it would be when I called it.

"... This will take time, quite considerable time, to make the scale of change we want to and need to. The Commission itself, set out a five-year time frame for the measures they set out in their report."

The Final Report stipulates that the Australian Government should report to Parliament about their responses to the Final Report by 31 May, 2021.

To view the full report, head to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety website.