Assistive Technology for All Alliance Submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Assistive Technology for All is a national alliance of peak bodies and consumer representatives spanning the Ageing and Disability Sectors. Together, we are advocating for equitable access to AT for people with disability who are not eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). See below list of organisations who form the alliance and have endorsed this submission.

ATFA Submission Introduction

The Assistive Technology for All Alliance is pleased to provide this submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

Assistive technology (AT) plays a critical role in the lives of people with disability by facilitating independence and participation in everyday activities. Screen reading software, mobility aids, electronic communication devices and prosthetic aids are all examples of AT.

The comments provided in this submission focus on key areas that impact on access to assistive technology for older people with disability, many of whom are now forced to access the support they need under the aged care system.

The issues raised throughout this submission address each of the Royal Commission’s Terms of Reference (ToR), including:

  • ToR a) as it relates to the extent to which aged care services meet the needs of people accessing them;
  • ToR b) as it relates to how best to deliver aged care services;
  • ToR c) as it relates to the future challenges and opportunities for delivering accessible, affordable and high-quality aged care services to people living at home and in remote, rural and regional Australia;
  • ToR d) as it relates to what the Australian Government can do to strengthen the system of aged care services;
  • ToR e) as it relates to ensuring that aged care services are person-centred; and
  • ToR f) as it relates to how best to deliver aged care services in a sustainable way, including through innovative models of care, increased use of technology, and investment in the aged care workforce and capital infrastructure.

While the case studies provided throughout this submission are based on the needs and circumstances of real individuals, we have altered some identifying details in order to protect the anonymity of those concerned.

ATFA Summary of Submissions Recommendations

Recommendation 1:
That the Commonwealth Government either:

  • Implement the medical and general accident streams of the National Injury Insurance Scheme(NIIS) to provide support to people of all ages who acquire disability through catastrophic injury.Or-
  • Provide access to the NDIS for people of all ages who acquire disability through catastrophicinjury.

Recommendation 2:
That the Commonwealth Department of Health co-fund the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) stream of the NDIS so that older people with disability have timely access to disability-specific information and support and can access capacity building, early intervention and local area coordination services on an equitable basis with participants of the NDIS.

Recommendation 3:
That the Department of Health publicly articulate how the aged care system will support older Australians with disability and review the appropriateness of the National Screening and Assessment Form to identify disability-related needs.

Recommendation 4:
That the Department of Health invest in strategies to build the capacity of aged care assessors to understand and respond to the unique needs of people with disability. This should include consideration of joint purchasing arrangements between the Commonwealth Department of Health and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Recommendation 5:
That the Department of Health ensure older people who acquire a disability have access to timely and appropriate assessment and planning by improving formal collaborative arrangements between the aged care system and the NDIS.

Recommendation 6:
That the Council of Australian Governments, through its role in updating the National Disability Agreement and National Disability Strategy, ensures there is a nationally consistent mechanism in place to provide people with disability outside the NDIS with assistance to understand and locate relevant assistive technology.

Recommendation 7:
That the Commonwealth implement measures to ensure people with disability living in residential aged care can access funding for assistive technology to facilitate mobility, communication and participation in everyday activities.

Recommendation 8:
That an intergovernmental agreement is established to develop a funded national aids, equipment and assistive technology program, including agreement on the process and timeframes for implementing a national program. As an interim solution for the urgent needs of older people with disability (who are therefore ineligible for the NDIS), the Commonwealth Government should specifically fund aids and equipment for this group.

This submission has been endorsed by the following organisations:
Council on the Ageing Australia, Australian Association of Gerontology, Every Australian Counts, National Disability and Carer Alliance, The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, People with Disability Australia, Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association, Occupational Therapy Australia, Assistive Technology Suppliers Australia, TAD Australia, Blind Citizens Australia, Leukodystrophy Australia, LifeTec, Council on the Ageing Victoria, Limbs 4 Life Australia, MS Australia, Polio Australia, Spinal Cord Injuries Australia, Vision Australia, Bayside Polio Group, Huntington’s NSW ACT, Independent Living Centre WA, MND Victoria, Parkinson’s Victoria, Post Polio Victoria