May 09, 2018

NDIS delay forces young wife into nursing home while husband battles cancer alone

A 43-year-old Victorian woman with multiple sclerosis has been forced to move into a nursing home while her husband battles inoperable cancer without her by his side.

Toni Mellington asked that her NDIS support plan be reviewed when her husband, Brad Mills, was diagnosed with cancer. Ms Mellington hoped that the NDIS would allow her to care for her husband at home.

But Ms Mellington has been told her plan can only be reviewed in June. And even then, her level of support may not be increased.

The young couple met in their early twenties, and have been together for two decades. When Ms Mellington was first diagnosed with MS, Mr Wills left his job as an engineer and started a water delivery business so that the couple could work together and he could care for her.

But now, when the care the couple can provide for each other is most important, bureaucratic red tape has separated them.

“I had to move into the aged-care home a couple of days before Brad went in for surgery because there was nowhere else for me to go,” Ms Mellington told The Australian.

“The biggest thing for me is the concern for Brad, that I won’t be there to morally support him. He has started radiation treatment and it is so dreadful, I need to be home and with him,” she said.

Around 6,200 people under the age of 64 live in aged care facilities in Australia. Most have disabilities and nowhere else to live, or have limited family support.

“I think this and other cases show the agency [NDIS] is struggling to deal with complex cases,” Joel Townsend, from Victoria Legal Aid, told The Australian.

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