QUEENSLAND'S Public Advocate has intervened in the controversy surrounding people with disabilities stuck in hospitals.
The independent watchdog, which advocates for adults with impaired-decision making, is requesting explanations from government agencies about what they are doing to address the problem and how many Queenslanders with intellectual disability and cognitive impairments are stuck in this hospital limbo.
The move follows similar steps Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has taken in reviewing all people with disabilities who have been living in hospital beds for long periods with nowhere else to go.
In May, APN Newsdesk reported the story of Steven McDonald, a Mackay man who suffered a brain aneurism and was placed in a rehabilitation unit in the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
He has been in hospital for almost 18 months, waiting for funding from Disability Services Queensland to secure community care.
In her position statement released recently, Public Advocate Jodie Cook said that while Queensland's disabled institutions of the pre-1980s were gone, many people with disabilities were still living in "institutional type" settings.
She said the human services system's responsiveness and "limited integration" was increasing the risk of replicating past institutional practices.
"The Queensland Government must carefully develop a plan, based on thorough consultation, to enable increased autonomy for people with disability living in 'institutional' settings while facilitating access to increasingly appropriate support arrangements," she said.
"There must be an immediate cessation to the placement of individuals in support arrangements that offer little by way of effective outcomes and do little to support participation and inclusion in community."
A survey conducted early last year found there were 283 people with disabilities who were long-term patients in Queensland hospitals and health facilities.
The Public Advocate has also called for submissions from stakeholders on what should be done to support these people.
The information will be part of a report detailing the problems and outlining recommendations.
To make a submission email email@example.com