Younger people in residential aged care

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will hold a public hearing in Melbourne in the week beginning Monday 9 September 2019. The hearing will inquire into younger people in residential aged care.

This hearing will focus on people who enter aged care before the age of 65, the impact this has on them and their families and why they end up in aged care. The hearing will also examine how to best support younger people wishing to leave aged care.

The Royal Commission will hear from a number of witnesses who will describe their own experiences of living as younger residents in aged care facilities as well as from relatives of younger residents. It will also hear from advocacy groups, accident insurers, and representatives of the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian Government Departments of Health and Social Services. These Commonwealth agencies have responsibility for younger people who are in aged care.

The hearing will explore whether the Action Plan for Younger People in Residential Aged Care announced by the Australian Government at the beginning of 2019, which is designed to reduce the number of younger people entering aged care, can succeed.

On Monday evidence will be heard from James Nutt, 35, who entered an aged care facility at the age of 22 but who now lives independently. Mr Nutt will describe his dissatisfaction with his experience in residential aged care including the devastating effect it had on his mental health. Mr Nutt will speak about the difficult journey he experienced to leave aged care and the enormous positive difference that that change has made to his life.

The Royal Commission will hear evidence from a current aged care resident, Lisa Corcoran, 43, who will be assisted by her speech pathologist Liz Chard. Ms Corcoran will tell the Commissioners that she hates living in aged care and wishes she could leave. She will describe her loneliness and isolation in aged care, as well as the difficulties she has in accessing rehabilitation.

Jess Dodds, the widow of Tony Dodds who died at the age of 62 of terminal cancer while in aged care, will tell the Royal Commission that she wished that she could have kept Tony at home or somewhere other than aged care but there weren't any viable choices for palliative care other than in aged care. She will also comment on the standard of palliative care that Tony received in aged care.

The Royal Commission will hear from Kirby Littley, 33, about her experiences living in an aged care facility in Geelong and how her life has improved since she moved into specialised disability accommodation. Ms Littley will tell the Commission about troubling incidents she experienced while in aged care.

Ms Littley's parents, Carol and Kevin Littley, will also give evidence about the difficulties they experienced helping their daughter while she lived in aged care and the role they have played in helping her navigate her way out of aged care.

The Royal Commission will hear from other witnesses about their experiences as younger people in residential aged care and from peak disability advocacy bodies the Young People in Nursing Homes Alliance, the Summer Foundation, and Youngcare.

Further information is available on the Melbourne Hearing 1 page.

A live webcast of the hearing is available on the website.

The hearing will run from Monday 9 September 2019 to Wednesday 11 September 2019 and on Friday 13 September 2019, commencing at 10.00am in the Ceremonial Courtroom, Level 3, County Court, 250 William Street, Melbourne.

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