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New Intellectual Disability Health Service launches in Adelaide

Close up portrait of two disabled twin sisters laughing outdoors.

South Australians with intellectual disabilities are set to have improved health outcomes and better access to integrated care, with the launch of the South Australian Intellectual Disability Health Service (SAIDHS).

Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the SAIDHS is being delivered by the Marshall Liberal Government in line with the National Roadmap to Improving the Health of People with Intellectual Disability.

“People with intellectual disabilities experience twice the rate of Emergency Department presentations and hospital admissions than other Australians,” said Minister Wade.

“This new statewide service, led by the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network (NALHN), aims to reduce avoidable ED presentations and hospital admissions by ensuring South Australians with intellectual disabilities have access to more appropriate and timely care.

“People with intellectual disability are entitled to high quality health care that meets their needs and supports them to lead healthy and active lives, which is exactly where SAIDHS will assist.

“Reducing avoidable ED presentations is good for patients and good for our health system. Through our unprecedented $3 billion hospital build program and our $123 million bed capacity boost to ensure South Australia is COVID-ready, we are investing in a massive expansion to hospital capacity to reduce pressure on our health system, combat ramping and deliver care for South Australians closer to home.”

SAIDHS will replace the Centre for Disability Health (CDH) at the Ingle Farm Recreation Centre, with the implementation of a new Model of Care.

The site has undergone a number of physical changes including increasing the size of consult rooms, improving wheelchair accessibility, and upgrading fittings and furniture to provide visitors with a calm, comfortable, low stimulus environment to receive care.

NALHN Chief Executive Officer, Maree Geraghty, said SAIDHS will provide services for adults with intellectual disabilities, significant developmental disabilities and complex health care needs.

“These complexities may be due to mental illness, autism, profound communication or behavioural issues, and other complex disabilities and health conditions which are challenging to manage in mainstream services,” said Ms Geraghty.

“SAIDHS will offer consumers access to world-class care from NALHN physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, nurses, speech pathologists and other allied health professionals.

“It will provide specialised health consultation and assessment services for those with complex health needs, while also building capacity in mainstream services to deliver high quality healthcare which meets the needs of all South Australians with intellectual disabilities.

“SAIDHS will work hand-in-hand with consumers, their families and carers, as well as their primary health physicians, to ensure everyone can more easily navigate the health system, and other support services available to them.

“While additional locations will be explored in future, telehealth services will be available so people from all postcodes will have access to the same high standard of care no matter where they live.”

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