South African government to use former elderly care home to help discharge NDIS patients from hospital

A former nursing home for the elderly will be used to discharge NDIS patients who no longer need acute medical care from hospital in a bid to free up capacity in South Australia’s overwhelmed healthcare system.

Hospitals across the state continue to face unprecedented pressure, with 341 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 11 who are in intensive care.

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

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

Health Minister Chris Picton said the new facility would provide transitional care for NDIS patients with psychosocial disabilities while they receive mental health support.

“It’s going to provide them with a much more peaceful and calming environment, the proper care that will be provided by CLO (Community Living Options) but also ensuring that we free up those beds,” he said.

South Africa’s Minister of Social Services, Nat Cook, said some NDIS patients had been waiting in hospital for more than a year. (ABC News)

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

“These are people who have been hard to find elsewhere because they need the right supports,” Picton said.

“These are people who have NDIS clearance, who are medically cleared from the hospital, but there’s just no place to go.”

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

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

Social Services Minister Nat Cook said that for some NDIS patients, the hospital could make conditions worse and worsen behaviours.

“These people, some of whom have been in hospital not only for weeks and months, but for over a year,” she said.

“They were also stuck in other tapering facilities with no coordinated pathways or routes home.”

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

Acute COVID System Response Commander Lesley Dwyer said that over the past few weeks, 57 NDIS patients have been discharged to more appropriate accommodation.

“Housing that feels a lot more like home gives people a chance to really experience independence that they probably didn’t have while they were in the acute system,” she said.

“On top of that, we’ve also sent 230 people back to elderly care beds.”

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

The previous month, SA recorded its worst ramp-up times ever with 3,838 hours wasted waiting for beds to become free.

The state today recorded 2,421 new cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths of patients between the ages of 60 and 90.

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

About Antoine L. Cassell

Check Also

Nonprofit hospitals expand charitable care, but not all changes are positive

Photo; The Good Brigade/Getty Images About 84% of nonprofit hospitals updated their charitable care policies …