How to help NDIS participants who are stuck in hospital

Policy Team

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.
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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.
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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.

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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