Research conducted by the Summer Foundation in association with Monash University, evaluated the effectiveness of the Federal Governments’ $244 million Young People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) program.
The research, published today in Australian Health Review, found that since the program began in 2006, only 139 of a targeted 689 young clients have been relocated.
Associate Professor Louise Farnworth from Monash University’s Department of Occupational Therapy said the research, undertaken with Di Winkler, CEO of the Summer Foundation, indicated the challenges involved in a long-term restructure of the system.
“There are approximately 250 new admissions each year of people under 50 into aged-care homes,” said Associate Professor Farnworth.
“Long-term plans must include measures to re-direct these clients as well as relocating younger people already living in aged care.”
Ms Winkler said there were clear benefits of relocating young clients to tailored accommodation.
“The lives of those who have been helped by the program have been enormously improved however the program is unlikely to result in a long-term reduction in the number of young people in aged care.”
“First, there needs to be a dramatic increase in both the range and number of supported housing options. Second, there needs to be systemic change to stem the flow of young people into RAC facilities. This will require a whole of government approach with the housing, health and disability sectors working in partnership.
“Without systemic change and sustained investment in alternative accommodation options, we will continue to deny young people the right to live in an environment that meets their social, emotional and developmental needs,” Ms Winkler said.