“Australia’s population is ageing”. We hear that a lot but we don’t really think about what it means for our families on a personal level.
Getting older means making decisions about many things we’d often rather not think about – decisions on healthcare, where we should live, what preventative measures we need to take, and the circumstances in which we might pass away.
These decisions and subsequent conversations can be hard, and there’s often limited information, especially when it comes to end-of-life care.
End-of-life care helps people to live as well as possible and to die with dignity in the place they want to be.
There is no “right” place to die, and of course we do not always get the opportunity to decide where we die. But when given the choice, approximately 70% of Australians want to die in their homes – yet only about 14% do. Half of us die in a hospital, and about a third in residential care.
There are few families in Australia that haven’t had some experience with end-of-life or palliative care. Given 3.7 million Australians have health insurance with us, we are focused on ensuring healthcare is accessible even in difficult circumstances.
Our customers have told us they want more choice in where their healthcare is delivered. The Medibank at Home program means we can work with their treating doctor and they can opt to have chemotherapy, dialysis, rehabilitation or palliative care at home, when it’s clinically appropriate.
As part of this commitment, Medibank began a palliative care at home trial in Western Australia in 2016. It allows our members to spend more time with their family and friends in the privacy of their home at the end of their life. We arrange around-the-clock access to specialised clinicians, practical support, care equipment and appropriate pain relief.
We were able to provide this support to the Shaw-Howroyd family, following two-and-a-half years of cancer treatment for Heather Shaw. Medibank arranged support for Heather so she was able to die at home with her husband and two children by her side.
The services funded and sourced by Medibank to support Heather and her family included nursing and care support and coordination, home medication administration requirements, equipment, meals, and counselling.
Heather’s son Charles tells their family’s incredibly moving story in this short film, which recently won a prestigious Dolphin award at the Cannes Corporate Media and TV Awards. The film shows the importance of offering this care choice for Heather’s family.
This is why Medibank is funding our Palliative Care at Home service - to try and make this difficult time more comfortable for our members. This care is delivered by a skilled multidisciplinary team which includes doctors, nurses, social workers, counsellors, pastoral care workers and trained volunteers to make sure our customers, their family and carers’ physical, emotional and social needs are being met.
We are committed to our member’s health, but to also improving their options for healthcare. We are proud to have supported the Shaw-Howroyd through this incredibly difficult time by offering them the dignity of choice.