With Christmas fast approaching, it can be a difficult time when you’re combining all the usual end-of-year activities and to-do lists with ongoing healthcare needs.
One of our main goals this year was to ensure customers have real choice in how their healthcare is delivered. To do this, we have expanded our Medibank at Home service, where customers could receive chemotherapy, dialysis, palliative care or post-surgery rehabilitation in their own home, when clinically appropriate.
More than 1,800 customers have received care in their home already with approval from their doctor, and Medibank at Home is now servicing 52 virtual hospital beds every day. These patients have had more than 6,000 health interactions in the last six months including treatments, visits and home care calls.
Medibank at Home provides customers with real choice about where their healthcare is delivered, but this program is more than just physical treatment. Our customers are telling us that being able to access treatment at home is changing their lives for the better.
Jane, a 52-year-old who lives with her husband and two teenage children in Queensland, has had kidney troubles for many years, and had been on dialysis prior to receiving a kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, a car accident meant her transplanted kidney began to fail, and she required dialysis again, three times a week for five hours each time at the hospital. A few months after her kidney failure, Jane received more difficult news: she required multiple surgeries to treat bowel cancer.
Following the cancer treatment Jane was no longer able to drive, so her husband had to reorganise his work schedule to take her to and from the hospital three times a week.
Jane said that dialysis is something she just had to do, and she felt she didn’t have any options.
“I would sit for hours in a cold, windowless room at the back of the hospital. You just feel like you are a burden, everyone is running after you, and while my husband’s colleagues are terrific, I was worried that their patience may run out,” Jane said.
“But the thing that upsets me most is the impact on the kids: they are teenagers and I felt like I wasn’t there for them a lot of the time. They’d come home from school to an empty house; it’s just not how I wanted it to be.”
Jane enrolled in Medibank’s Dialysis at Home program in October, which means instead of travelling to the hospital, the hospital comes to her. She reports that her treatments are going smoothly three times a week from home.
“It is so much easier; if I’m having a bad day I don’t even need to get dressed. The best thing for me is that I’m here for my kids when they get home from school, so I know what’s going on with them, what sort of day they’ve had – I’m not sitting in a cold room in the hospital wondering and worrying. The added bonus is that my husband doesn’t have to ferry me about all over the place; being treated at home really helps,” Jane said.
Medibank at Home began trialling some healthcare services in 2016, and while it isn’t available everywhere yet, in 2019 we are planning to expand the availability of chemotherapy, dialysis and palliative care as an option for customers in more places across the country. Our post-joint replacement Rehab at Home service is already available in 92% of our customers’ postcodes.
We know people want more choice in where their healthcare is delivered, and we want to meet that demand in 2019, especially as healthcare costs continue to rise. Our commitment is to ensure Australians have more choice in how their healthcare is delivered so they can get on with the rest of their lives, especially at Christmas.