23-year-old with brain injury stuck in mental health ward
IT'S been nine long months for a Coast family trying to free their son from the mental health ward at Nambour General Hospital.
The 23-year-old, who was admitted in April last year, has an acquired brain injury from a car accident in 2011 but as there is insufficient space for him in supervised care, the young man has been forced to reside in the hospital's mental health ward.
He manages to spend just a few hours a day with his family before being returned to the facility.
In November, it was reported that his accommodation in the hospital cost about $800 a day and the difference between him being in the ward or living in the broader community under supervision was only about an extra $8000 a year.
It's been a gut-wrenching time for the man's family.
His mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, spoke about the challenges faced by her son and the rest of the family over the past nine months.
"It is frustrating because the biggest thing is I want to get him into somewhere to see how he takes to it," she said.
The toughest part was not being able to find out whether her son can transition smoothly into supervised care.
"My biggest thing is to get him into a house where he's safe, other people are safe and he could start to look for a job he could possibly do," she said. "He needs the care but the money isn't there."
Last month, the family's Nambour-based solicitor Peter Boyce told the Daily of the frustrations for the young man, who he said could be working even as a trolley boy under supervision, for example.
The man's mother said work was something he spoke about often, and she managed to open up a little on the effects the injury had on her son, before her emotions got the better of her.
"It's his personality that's changed," she said.
"He has a bit of an inability to read social situations.
"He was a typical teenage boy (before the accident) and very loving, which he still is sometimes.
"It's his personality, I don't really know how to explain it."
She was hopeful a transition out of the ward would help her son's condition.
"I'm optimistic that once he gets out and in a house and able to start doing things he should be able to do, he will take to that and be able to move forward," she said.
Coming from a large, extended family, the man's mother spoke of what was a difficult Christmas Day for her.
"We had him during the day on Christmas Day and then we had to take him back to the ward," she recalled.
She said they were "hopefully optimistic" of a resolution soon and she praised the staff at the ward for their efforts working with her son.
Despite lobbying from Mr Boyce, who has been fighting to have the man returned to supervised care, he remains in the ward, although there was some hope a solution may arrive in coming weeks.
"We've been in contact with Disability Services since before Christmas," Mr Boyce told the Daily last week. He was hopeful the man would leave the ward within a month and that urgent action would be taken.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services said while it was unable to provide specific details about clients due to confidentiality, the department was "working hard to transition the client into appropriate accommodation and support arrangements as quickly as possible".
"This has included developing a transition plan which has been passed on to those acting on the client's behalf," she said.
"The department is doing everything it can to work towards a solution that takes into account the safety of the client, carers and the broader community."