Peter’s Story: How icare and NDIS worked together to achieve a wonderful SDA outcome.

In 2017, Peter sustained a horrific injury whilst at work. The then 38-year-old father of two was moving goods on the back of a truck when he was knocked off by a forklift. The injury was devastating, resulting in quadriplegia which required a very long stint in hospital. Peter was assisted by the icare insurance scheme which he entered as his injury was sustained at work.

However, the stresses of the injury took a toll on Peter’s marriage which broke down shortly after and eventually led to divorce in 2019.

Entering aged care

Unfortunately, with no other option available at the time, Peter entered an Aged Care Facility which was deemed as the only option to manage his high care physical needs. To make matters worse, Peter’s children found the care facility to confronting and rarely visited. Peter was then diagnosed with depression.

“I was facing a lot of hurdles since the accident – the injury, loss of work, marriage breakdown – and I needed to be around positive people, not negative. For a person my age, psychologically it wasn’t good for me.”

Young Australians in aged care

Unfortunately, Peter is one of many younger people who find themselves in Aged Care Facilities. These facilities are able to accommodate high physical needs but are geared towards the older population in social and emotional offerings. A quote taken from the Young Care website explains, ‘There is a residential and care crisis throughout Australia for young people with high care needs. Young Australians are being left behind in aged care, hospital rooms, rehabilitation centres – inappropriate accommodation that is not suitable for their age. The crux of this crisis is the lack of opportunity for each person living with disability to choose their own pathway due to limited options’. One day, a chance conversation made Peter aware that new opportunities were available to accommodate people with high physical support needs through the NDIS.

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

“It was the first time I’d ever heard of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA). I did a bit of research and thought I might as well apply.” Unfortunately, there may be a misconception that individuals who sustained an injury and are covered by insurance, for example, icare (workers compensation) and Lifetime Care and Support to name two, may not be eligible for any NDIS funding or supports. In addition, their management and treatment are likely managed by professionals unaware of NDIS and SDA eligibility. These people could be missing out on what is possible for them.

Working with Advance Rehab Centre

With the help of a support coordinator and Advance Rehab Centre Housing Team, Peter applied for SDA funding through the NDIS and eventually was approved. In July 2019, Peter moved into his very own, brand new, sunny, three-bedroom apartment, fitted out with state-of-the-art assistive technology and features such as wide doorways, a ceiling hoist and adjustable benchtops. Peter continues to have his choice of care needs met and funded by icare.

A brighter future.

Peter is now enjoying life reconnecting with his children. “The reason I wanted this place was so my kids could stay over. They have their own bedroom and love it here, and I have my family back.”

Peter has been given the opportunity to live again and evolve in his new situation. With the people he loves around him and being only 25 minutes away from where he grew up, he is now able to get on with his life with both the physical and emotional support around him.

The concerning thing is that what got the ball rolling was a ‘by chance’ conversation. There are many people like Peter who find themselves not only in Aged Care Facilities but also in other inappropriate housing that do not meet their physical, emotional or social needs. Both icare and NDIS are able to work together to deliver appropriate housing solutions with care needs met in the community.

Bringing this together is the key, and the ARC team feel it is very much their role to get the word out there to help more young people like Peter.