Australian Health Review Australian Health Review Society
Journal of the Australian Healthcare & Hospitals Association
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Making every Australian count: challenges for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the equal inclusion of homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with neurocognitive disability

Clare Townsend A B C E , Paul White D , Jennifer Cullen A C , Courtney J. Wright A B and Heidi Zeeman B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Synapse, 1/262 Montague Road, West End, Qld 4101, Australia. Email: jcullen@synapse.org.au; cwright@synapse.org.au

B Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Logan Campus, University Drive, Meadowbrook, Qld 4131, Australia. Email: h.zeeman@griffith.edu.au

C James Cook University, James Cook Drive, Townsville City, Qld 4811, Australia.

D Queensland Government Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services, Specialist Disability Services Assessment and Outreach Team, Russell Street, South Brisbane, Qld 4101, Australia. Email: paul.white@communities.qld.gov.au

E Corresponding author. Email: ctownsend@synapse.org.au

Australian Health Review - https://doi.org/10.1071/AH16229
Submitted: 12 October 2016  Accepted: 12 January 2017   Published online: 30 March 2017

Abstract

This article highlights the dearth of accurate evidence available to inform the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) regarding the extent and nature of neurocognitive disability amongst homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Without accurate prevalence rates of neurocognitive disability, homeless Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are in danger of not being counted by the NDIS and not receiving supports to which they are entitled. Addressing this knowledge gap is challenged by a range of factors, including: (1) the long-term effect of profound intergenerational disenfranchisement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people; (2) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives around disability; (3) the generally unrecognised and poorly understood nature of neurocognitive disability; (4) the use of research methods that are not culturally safe; (5) research logistics; and (6) the absence of culturally appropriate assessment tools to identify prevalence. It is argued that an accurate evidence base that is informed by culturally safe research methods and assessment tools is needed to accurately guide the Commonwealth government and the National Disability Insurance Agency about the expected level of need for the NDIS. Research within this framework will contribute to the realisation of a truly inclusive NDIS.

Additional keywords: consumers, drug and alcohol, epidemiology, health policy, Indigenous health.


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