SA: NDIS criticised for 'failing to provide second carer' in Nischal Ghimire drowning case

Claire Campbell and Alice Dempster

The drowning of a carer could have been avoided if the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) had responded to requests for a second carer for an autistic boy, a South Australian MP has claimed.

Key points:

  • Labor MP Jayne Stinson has criticised the NDIS after a carer drowned while on shift in Adelaide
  • She said the family requested a second carer for their son's outdoor activities, but one was not provided
  • But the NDIA said it tried to contact the family in mid-December

Nischal Ghimire was caring for the 10-year-old Adelaide boy during an outing to Glenelg beach on December 27 when it is believed the boy suddenly ran into the surf.

While allegedly trying to rescue the boy, Mr Ghimire — a Nepalese migrant who could not swim — drowned.

The boy, who is non-verbal, was found wet and naked by a local resident six hours later.

Mr Ghimire's body was found nearby at the West Beach boat ramp the following evening.

'Second carer requested' before drowning accident

Labor's Member for Badcoe Jayne Stinson has claimed that in October 2018, the Maghsoodi family requested a second carer for their son's outdoor activities.

She said the request was made after disability experts advised the Maghsoodis that the safety of their son and his carers was at risk due to his tendency to run away from them.

"There are serious and disturbing questions to be answered by NDIS," Ms Stinson said.

Jayne Stinson Photo: Ms Stinson said a second carer had been requested in October last year. (Twitter: Jayne Stinson)


"We'd really like to see them now provide a second carer, just as experts have recommended, to make sure that something like this can never happen again, and to ensure the safety of that little 10-year-old boy.

"The most gut-wrenching question is, could the death of Nischal Ghimire have been avoided if a second carer had actually been provided for outdoor activities four months ago, like experts requested?

Ms Stinson also said the Maghsoodis were about to be stripped of their son's sole carer hours, because their funding was due to run out within days.

But in comments to the ABC, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) — responsible for implementing the NDIS — claimed it tried to contact the family in mid-December and said it would continue funding support for them.

"We understand this is a difficult time for the Maghsoodi family. Attempts were made to contact the Maghsoodi family in mid-December to progress their request for review," an NDIA spokesman said.

"The NDIA met with the Maghsoodi family yesterday to ensure the appropriate disability-related supports continue to be in place for Kevin."

'The system is struggling'

Intellection Disability Association of South Australia chair David Holst said the NDIS was struggling to meet the demand of people requesting reviews of their plans.

"My understanding is that there's some 30 or 40,000 plan requests currently under review under NDIA and those reviews can take anywhere from nine to 12 months under the new system," he told ABC Adelaide.

"When you're talking about life-changing or life-threatening issues around NDIS, nine or 12 months to vary a plan is absurd.

"It is a resource issue and, in this case, it may well be a contributing factor to this tragic circumstances that's arisen.

"The system is struggling, the NDIS needs a lot of work on it."

He said if a coronial inquest was held into the death of Mr Ghimire, it would be closely watched by service providers.



Grieving Maghsoodi family fights for carer funding for autistic son Kevin

The family of a child with autism, whose carer drowned at Glenelg last month, has been offered funding to ensure he has two carers with him when he goes on outings in future.

Young Adelaide carer's body found

The family of a child with autism, whose carer drowned at Glenelg last month, has been offered funding to ensure he has two carers with him when he goes on outings in future.

Kevin Maghsoodi, 10, is severely autistic and non-verbal, with severe intellectual disabilities and his mother says he needs the supervision of two carers.

A National Disability Insurance Scheme package granted to the family had paid for one carer to take Kevin out for a few hours, six days a week. But on December 28, his regular carer, Nepalese migrant Nischal Ghimire, was found drowned after taking Kevin to Glenelg in hot weather.

The family believe Mr Ghimire, 22, may have attempted to save Kevin’s life, despite not being able to swim.

 Supplied by family

Kevin Maghsoodi, who was being cared for by Nischal Ghimire. Picture: Supplied by familySource:Supplied


Nepalese immigrant Nischal Ghimire, 22, who drowned at Glenelg beach. Picture: FacebookSource:Supplied

Since the incident Kevin’s Iranian-born mother, Mary Misaghi, had been using the remaining NDIS money to pay two carers as she negotiated to secure a new package.

The funding ran out yesterday. At 5pm she received a call from the National Disability Insurance Agency offering a new six-month package that would cover two carers.

“We have been waiting a long time. It is very hard,” Ms Misaghi said. “Kevin is running very quick. His behaviour … he needs someone to be with him”.

While the family waits for the money to arrive local organisation Carer Support has offered to send carers to Kevin’s home. CEO Peter Sparrow said it wanted to help “take the pressure off the family”.



 Bianca De Marchi

Mary Misaghi with her son Kevin Maghsoodi, at their Edwardstown home. Picture: Bianca De MarchiSource:News Limited

Local Labor MP Jayne Stinson approached Carer Support and helped in negotiations with the NDIA.

She said it should not have taken two weeks for the agency to provide the necessary support following a tragedy.

In a statement, the NDIA told The Advertiser yesterday it was finalising a package which would “include funding for the reasonable and necessary supports Kevin requires”.

Ms Misaghi, 39, said she formally requested extra funding twice last year — with documentation from health professionals supporting her plea — but was knocked back.

“We tried lots of times with the NDIS but we are never hearing back from them,” she said.

 Matt Loxton

Kevin’s mother Mary Misaghi and stepfather Frank Oroogi were among the mourners at Glenelg Beach on Tuesday night for a vigil in honour of Mr Ghimire. Picture: Matt LoxtonSource:News Corp Australia

Originally published as Grieving family fights for carer funding