We’re on track for a big year of advocacy, with a plan in place to really get our teeth into bringing about some proactive inclusive change for our members, and all people with disability. To that end our focus in the next few months will begin with making pre-budget submissions to both the State and Federal Budgets and driving improvements in the following three areas in particular – NDIS Independent Assessments, the National Construction Code, and care-related issues for in-hospital stays. Read on to see exactly the issues our members want us to address.
Mandatory Accessibility in the National Construction Code
The updated National Construction Code is due for release on 1 November 2022 and currently contains no mandatory requirements for accessibility when constructing individual homes. This means accessible housing is in very short supply, with a recent survey finding 73.6% of people with a mobility impairment were living in housing that did not meet their needs. PDCN is calling for minimum Gold Standard (as defined under the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines) to be included in the updated Code. This would provide adaptable housing that would greatly increase the number of homes suitable for people with a range of access requirements, and also enable more people to age in place.
Hospital Care Plan Project
The aim of this project is to create a hospital care plan – or ‘health passport’ – that people with disability can present to admissions staff when they arrive at a hospital in order to ensure they get the appropriate treatment and care for their disability, as well as the acute condition they have presented to hospital with. Currently, many people with disability struggle to get the disability-specific care they need during hospital stays (bowel/bladder, pressure care, translation, etc) which can lead to greater health issues. Our ideal outcome is that hospital care plans are included as part of the hospital admissions process, become standard protocol across all NSW hospitals, and that we see improved health outcomes for people with disability as a result.
NDIS Individual Assessments
We are very concerned about the proposed individual assessment process for accessing the NDIS or renewing a plan in its current form. With a Joint Standing Committee Inquiry under way and the NDIA also running its own consultations on this process, PDCN feel it is imperative we represent the views of our members and other stakeholders in these forums and ensure that any long-term decision has the best interests of NDIS participants at the heart of any established outcome. We want to see an outcome that means people are not having to tell their story or disability history over and over, and adequately qualified, experienced and disability knowledge specific assessors are required should this process be implemented going forward.