Young should not be in aged care: inquiry

Commissioner Lynelle Briggs says people under 65 with a disability shouldn't be in nursing homes.
Commissioner Lynelle Briggs says people under 65 with a disability shouldn't be in nursing homes.

Younger people should not be in aged care facilities, a royal commissioner says.

The aged care royal commission has made it clear that people under 65 with a disability or medical condition should not be in nursing homes, even before delivering any findings or recommendations.

"I couldn't agree more that young people shouldn't be in aged care facilities," commissioner Lynelle Briggs told one man who shared his story with the inquiry.

Earlier this week, Ms Briggs labelled the system of younger people living in aged care a disgrace.

"The current system is at best a national embarrassment and at worst a national disgrace," she said.

The Australian Human Rights Commission also argues there is no place for young people in aged care in Australia.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Ben Gauntlett said young people with complex care needs have "fallen into the cracks" in the system.

"From a human rights perspective, no person being discharged from hospital or having a disability should be living in aged care whatsoever," he told the royal commission.

Dr Gauntlett, a quadriplegic after a schoolboy rugby accident when he was 16, also criticised the federal government's action plan on the issue.

"By 2025 we should have developed sufficient resources to ensure there is no young in aged care with a disability in Australia, as it is clearly inappropriate from a human rights perspective.

"There is sufficient time to ensure that issues with market development can be dealt with within that time frame."

The action plan aims to support the 6000 people under 65 already living in residential aged care to leave by 2025 and to halve the number - currently 2000 a year - entering aged care.

It is based on the National Disability Insurance Scheme supporting them to move into specialist disability accommodation provided by the market.

National Disability Insurance Agency acting CEO Vicki Rundle said the market would grow but admitted she could not be confident of "absolutely without doubt" meeting that goal.

Lawyers assisting the royal commission argue the action plan will not do enough, soon enough, to resolve the issue, partly because of a lack of investment in suitable alternative accommodation.

The royal commission is not sitting on Thursday but will finish its current hearing in Melbourne on Friday.

Australian Associated Press