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The Aged Care/Disability Care interface

The Aged Care/Disability Care interface
8 August 2016

The Aged Care/Disability Care interface – a complex challenge and an MSA focus area.

With the 45th Parliament in place and the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) now in progress, MS Australia is keen to revisit our 10 Election Commitments, submitted to the major parties during the 2016 federal election.

Commitment 5 was our objective to: Improve the national Aged Care/Disability Care interface, including services for people with MS 65 and over.

As reported previously, we continue to look for action in the policy space to ensure far more integration between the health, aged and disability care systems - so that, for example, people with MS over 65 with a level of disability, have access to reasonable and necessary supports.

Currently there is inequity in government support of people living with MS.

For people diagnosed with MS when under age 65, the NDIS will, when fully rolled out across Australia, provide access to supports to meet individual needs, but people aged 65 and over must rely on the aged care system which is designed to address ageing, not disability.

The Government’s Department of Health website sets out details regarding aged care reform, including changes to the Home Care Packages, the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, and the broad future reform agenda as set out in the ‘Aged Care Roadmap’:

https://agedcare.health.gov.au/aged-care-reform

MSA is pleased to see the emphasis shift to consumer directed care, giving people greater choice and a system for care, based on needs. We also applaud the desire to keep people in their homes and community for longer, and connected to family.

In trying to understand the aged care and NDIS reforms, some in the community assume there is a degree of equivalence between supports available for people with a disability in the aged care system and those provided by the NDIS, but in reality there is not. 

Those over 65 trying to manage at home, may be eligible for a home care package or home support programs, but it is often hard to find a package available at the right level and these supports are capped and means tested, whereas the NDIS is not.

Many people with complex needs or significant disability end up in nursing homes. Once in a nursing home, people with MS can have further difficulties having their needs met. Access to aids and equipment, assistive technology, appropriate therapy and health service supports is problematic, as is the loss of independence, especially the loss of an independent social network.

As these aged care reforms continue to roll out, MSA is seeking to gain better understanding of the reform implications and will continue to look for opportunities to make submissions and comments on the impact of these reforms on people living with MS.

If you have any concerns, comments or feedback regarding these aged care reforms, please don’t hesitate to email us: info@msaustralia.org.au