A federal government plan will not do enough to stop the pipeline of younger people ending up in aged care and help those already “lost” in nursing homes, a royal commission has been told.
There has been a complete lack of will by governments to fix the problem, advocacy group Young People In Nursing Homes National Alliance told the aged care royal commission.
“The resources have not been there to provide that solution,” YPINH national director Bronwyn Morkham said on Friday.
About 2000 people aged under 65 with disabilities or medical conditions are ending up in residential aged care each year, with most sent there on discharge from hospital..
Dr Morkham described it as a pipeline or an express route into aged care.
“Aged care is the default option now for young people looking to be discharged from hospital,” she said.
Royal commission lawyers argue the federal government’s plan to get younger people out of aged care will not do enough, soon enough, to fix the problem.
The plan is to support the 6000 people under 65 already living in residential aged care to find alternative housing by 2025 and to halve the number – currently 2000 a year – entering aged care.
Dr Morkham said the mistakes of the past were being repeated, referring to a 2006-2011 initiative that the inquiry heard had failed to make a dent in the problem.
“We’ve been somewhat disappointed and quite appalled that there’s no resourcing in the action plan, the targets are not acute enough, there’s no modelling,” she said.
Summer Foundation chief executive Luke Bo’sher said there was a lack of urgency in the plan.
“Setting a target in 2025 to halve the number of people in residential aged care has clearly not led to enough action over the last six months,” Mr Bo’sher said.
Youngcare Connect manager Shane Jamieson welcomed the setting of targets but said governments, the sector and all stakeholders needed to try to beat them.
“We don’t necessarily believe that the targets are good enough,” he said.
Mr Jamieson said even those younger people in aged care who had a NDIS plan were not receiving the support they needed to leave.
“People who end up in aged care often get lost,” he said.
The federal government action plan is based on the National Disability Insurance Scheme supporting younger people to move into specialist disability accommodation provided by the market.