A tram in front of a white hospital building with green and yellow trees

SA government to use former aged care home to help transition NDIS patients out of hospital

A former aged care home will be used to transition NDIS patients who no longer need acute medical care out of hospital in a bid to free up capacity across South Australia’s overwhelmed health system.

The state’s hospitals continue to face pressure pressure, with 341 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 11 who are in intensive care.

There have also been 984 people hospitalised with the flu this year.

The new 24-bed community care facility will open next week at the former site of Uniting SA’s Regency Green aged care home.

Health Minister Chris Picton said the new facility would provide transitional care to NDIS patients with a psychosocial disability while they received mental health support.

“It’s going to give a much more peaceful and calming environment for them, the appropriate care that’s going to be provided by CLO (Community Living Options) but also making sure we are freeing up those beds,” he said.

SA’s Human Services Minister Nat Cook says some NDIS patients have been waiting in hospital for over a year. (ABC News)

There are currently 127 patients in public hospital beds who are eligible for NDIS support services and ready to be discharged.

“These are people who it has been difficult to find elsewhere because they do need appropriate supports,” Mr Picton said.

“These are people who have NDIS clearance, are medically cleared to be discharged from hospital but there simply aren’t places for them to go.”

The facility will cost $1.2 million to open and will initially only take patients from Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN).

It will be run by CLO in partnership with Wellbeing SA, Uniting SA, CALHN and the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist.

Human Services Minister Nat Cook said for NDIS patients, hospital could worsen some conditions and escalate behaviours.

“These people, some of them have remained in hospital not just for weeks and months but for over a year,” she said.

“They have been stuck in other step-down facilities as well without pathways or coordinated journeys for discharge to home.”

A woman with short brown hair wearing a beige scarf and a black top
COVID acute commander Lesley Dwyer says 230 patients have been moved out of hospital and into aged care facilities. (ABC News)

Acute System Response COVID Commander Lesley Dwyer said in the last few weeks, 57 NDIS patients had been discharged into more appropriate accommodation.

“Accommodation that is much more home-like gives people a chance to really experience independence that they probably haven’t had while they have been in the acute system,” she said.

“In addition to that, we have also discharged 230 people into aged care beds.”

The latest data from the SA Ambulance Service shows ambulances spent 3,647 hours ramped outside hospitals during July.

The previous month, SA recorded its worst ramping times on record with 3,838 hours lost waiting for beds to become available.

The state recorded 2,421 new cases of COVID-19 today and eight deaths of patients ranging in age from their 60s to 90s.

There are currently 17,647 active cases in the state.


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