It has long been a concern of many that younger people with disability do not have adequate care options. This view is shared by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Luke, Bo’sher of the Summer Foundation and reflected in the June 2018 National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) report card.

The report identified the six most important outcomes for the NDIS to achieve for young people with high care needs, including reducing the number of people being admitted to aged care and improving the lives of those currently living in aged care facilities.

This has been a long conversation which has sparked the interest and support of many others including Bernard Fanning from the now defunct rock group, Powderfinger, who raised awareness of the work of Brisbane based organisation, Youngcare.

Fanning, along with Channel Nine’s Sylvia Jeffreys and Karl Stefanovic, celebrity chef Ben O’Donoghue and Channel Nine’s The Block, designer Darren Palmer are all Ambassadors of Youngcare. Youngcare’s partnerships are extensive including Foundation Partner, SunCorp.

Youngcare, like Summer Foundation are focused on the national issue of the current inappropriate and inadequate care for young people with disability especially those with individuals with high care needs.

Youngcare acts as a conduit for industry, government and the community to work together to bring change to the housing sector.

The Summer Foundation support the disability, health and aged care systems to work more effectively with younger people in nursing homes.  They prototype effective housing alternatives, which integrates smart home technology and good design with a support model designed to promote independence, in well-located community settings. They also develop practice guides, training materials and new models for government and non-government organisations, an undertake academic and applied research for evidence based solutions.

The Summer Foundation was established in 2006 by Di Winkler, an Occupational Therapist who has specialised in the area of severe brain injury for over 20 years.

Currently there are over 12, 000 young people with disabilities in accommodation which does not facilitate the ‘person-centred care’ mantra of the NDIS. Young people with disability are living in aged care, hospital rooms, rehabilitation centres and inappropriate accommodation that is frankly not suitable for their age.

Through the NDIS some participants with high care physical needs may be able to receive funding for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

These participants will be given both financial means and the autonomy to command and secure their own choice fo quality supported housing. The demand for SDA is significant with the estimated number reaching over 28,000 people.

Youngcare and Summer Foundation believe that ‘now’ is  the time for unique investors, developers, government, banks and care providers to work together to solve the disability residential crisis.

The Summer Foundation report highlighted that current options, are incredibly detrimental, resulting in the reduction of independence, the loss to each individual’s ability to reach their potential, and is sadly socially isolating. Bo’sher states, ‘that 82% of younger people in residential aged care rarely or never visit their friends and around 13% never go outside’. Most would agree that this is unacceptable.

The Summer Foundation is advocating for policy and process improvements that will improved NDIS outcomes for people with complex support needs.

Their six solutions include:

  • Better coordination between NDIS, health and aged care sectors
  • Remove bureaucratic hurdles preventing people from accessing the NDIS
  • Provide more support to bring young people from aged care to the NDIS faster
  • Develop an effective national approach to quality and safeguarding for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)
  • Commit to a transparent process for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Price and Framework reviews
  • Invest in building the capacity of people with disability to self-manage their supports.

More information about the Summer Foundation can be found here:

More information about Youngcare can be found here: