Steven McDonald’s family still faces a long-term battle.
Steven McDonald’s family still faces a long-term battle. Ava Benny-Morrison

McDonald family faces long-term battle to cover costs

THE family at the centre of a bureaucratic controversy surrounding their father's long-term status in hospital have been served a reprieve.

But even with the long-awaited opportunity to leave hospital to reside in disability-supported accommodation, Steven McDonald's family still faces a long-term battle to cover the costs.

Mr McDonald has been forced to call the brain injury unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital home for the past 18 months because Disability Services Queensland could not provide support funding for the father of two.

The 52-year-old requires 24-hour care, after suffering a brain aneurism and a series of strokes in 2011.

His treatment has finished but he remains in hospital waiting for a vacancy to come up in government-supported accommodation.

Ms McDonald's children, Jody and Brendan, found a vacancy at a private Sunshine Coast accommodator, Be Lifestyles, on the referral of a DSQ worker.

Despite the retreat agreeing to take in Mr McDonald - for a third of the price it is costing Queensland Health to keep him in hospital - DSQ could not cover the accommodation.

Following a series of articles in the Daily Mercury, the family was finally offered a lifeline.

DSQ notified the trio a vacancy had become available in an accommodation facility at a Fig Tree Pocket, south-west of Brisbane.

The arrangement would see Mr McDonald live in a duplex with another resident with a disability and receive a carer from 9am to 6pm.

Daughter Jody says the arrangement is "perfect" but sadly remains anxious about whether she can meet the costs to cover her father's food, electricity, medication and associated expenses.

"It is a wonderful facility but my father has a brain injury," she said.

"I don't think he comprehends the cost of it all. I don't think he fully understands, all he sees is just a means to get out of hospital."

Jody is afraid she will not be able to meet the expenses for her father, including his physiotherapy that has helped him tremendously.

She has equal reservations about her father being placed at the facility and him - and any future vacancies at facilities where 24 hour care can be provided - are forgotten

The positive, soft-spoken young woman loves and adores her father beyond measure but like anyone her age else, she still hopes to one day afford her own family and wedding day.

"It's not just a one off cost - it's for the rest of his life," she said.

Jody, 26, moved to Brisbane after her father was placed in the PA Hospital and has spent the past 18 months trying to make ends meet to remain by her father's side.

She has slept on a yoga mat at a halfway house just to have a roof over her head and juggled part time work.

Comment was sought from Disability Services Queensland but a response was not received by deadline.



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