Immediate fix for under-65s with terminal illnesses

April 14, 2024 BY

Palliative Care Australia chief executive officer Camilla Rowland. Photo: SUPPLIED

PALLIATIVE Care Australia is advocating for immediate government action to fill the care gap for individuals under 65 with terminal illnesses who find themselves inadequately covered by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Palliative Care Australia chief executive officer Camilla Rowland said there’s a significant care gap.

“The palliative care sector has been expressing concern since June last year that people under 65 years with cancer or other life limiting illnesses have been falling through the gaps that exist between the NDIS, aged care, and health systems,” Ms Rowland said.

“These are some of our community’s most vulnerable people, people with disabilities connected to a terminal disease.

“They often need government-funded daily living and functional care supports which are critical to remaining at home during the time they have left.

“Without the right support, many of these people end up in hospital, not because they need acute clinical care, but because the assistance they need is not accessible either through the NDIS or from state and territory health services.”

Working with member organisations and partners like the Peace of Mind Foundation, which supports those with brain cancers, Palliative Care Australia has brought these issues to the forefront of government discussions.

The organisation is pushing for quick action, proposing a $77.6 million plan over three years in its Federal Budget submission to support at least 3,000 affected people and their families.

“We’re also encouraging people under 65, who are living with disability as a result of a life-limiting illness and have been refused access to day-to-day functional living supports from the NDIS, to make contact with PCA,” Ms Rowland said.

“The carers, family members, clinicians, and health services who support them, can also reach out to PCA.”

“The minister’s office has asked us to be a point of contact and PCA is happy to keep playing that role if it means people get the care they need.”

Information about Palliative Care Australia’s advocacy and the Federal Budget submission can be found on the Palliative Care Australia website.