With 2015 now well and truly underway, I thought now is the perfect time to share with you MS Australia’s priorities for the year.
These set of objectives were developed with dialogue from our National Advocates and are supported by our MSA Board of Directors. It is agreed that focusing on three particular issues will include:
Early intervention in an MS diagnosis
It is well recognised that early intervention means providing specialist intervention and support services for those who need them early in the development of an issue. There is strong evidence in support for timely and targeted funded support: as early as possible after an MS diagnosis. In light of this, we are advocating for a consistent approach to the identification of people with MS, best placed to receive early intervention support funding by the NDIS.
Aged Care / Disability Care interface
MS Australia is aware that people with disability aged below 65 are able to receive NDIS support, however those over 65 are not. They have a choice to either remain with NDIS or switch to the aged care sector. Once they enter the aged care system, they are unable to access the NDIS. We believe this is an area of concern as those over 65 with MS have a range of needs above and beyond those in the aged care system. MS Australia will advocate for people being able to access whichever support system that best meets their needs, whether that be the NDIS and aged care. We will also bring to attention that the aged care system needs to be reviewed and adapted to specifically address the needs of those with MS, coupled with funding and specialist services for those over 65 with multiple sclerosis.
Young people in residential care
There are over 6,000 young people in residential aged care in Australia and they should have access to age appropriate accommodation. The NDIS promises to offer individual support package to people living in residential care, but there is a critical shortage of age appropriate places. We will be advocating for the need of funding to support a program for age appropriate care pathways, including improved respite options and permanent accommodation and support with a focus on Young People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC). Funding to support young people who remain in aged care accommodation is another objective, as well as a system for monitoring the capacity of providers offering age appropriate accommodation.
Throughout the coming months I will keep you updated with your advocacy efforts and how we are tracking along. I look forward to sharing our 2015 journey with you and making a difference to the lives of those we advocate for.