Waiting To Die: Home Care Package Delays, Increase The Risk of Death

There is not a single thing in existence that is more valuable time.

Every month, minute, and second of your future, eventually becomes your present day reality, and as you go along dealing with the issues of your modern day life, before you know it, those present day moments have  passed so quickly, that you have to look up and wonder if you were ever really present at all.

As the months and years go by, it’s not hard to lose sight of the reality that everyone has a limited amount of time to live, and unfortunately, the older you are, the less time you have.

So in a sense, even though time is the same for everyone, it becomes even more precious to those nearing the end of their lives.

As we age, our needs change, and a large number of elderly Australians require home care services in order to remain living in their own homes.

And even though getting assessed for a home care package can happen rather swiftly, it seems that receiving the services that you have been deemed to need are taking far too long, and it’s costing the elderly dearly.

A study led by Professor Renuka Visvanathan of the University of Adelaide and published in the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Ageing on Thursday, found that those who waited more than 6 months for a home care package had almost a 20% risk of dying after receiving their package when compared to people who got a home care package within one month.

People whose home care package wait times exceeded the 6 month period also experienced a 10% increase in their chances of dying in an aged care facility.

One of the most worrying things about this study which was conducted between 2003-2013, is the fact that a 6 month wait could almost be deemed as ‘good,’ when compared to the lengthy waiting times that people are currently experiencing.

Now in 2018, the Australian Government’s home care program is churning out waiting periods well in excess of 12 months for the majority of our vulnerable elderly, with damning new figures showing nearly 127,000 of them are currently waiting for a home care package or have been forced through wait times into a lower level of care.

Horribly, it is those that require the most assistance who are currently experiencing the longest waiting periods, which typifies the all-around broken nature and lack of foresight given to all issues involving our elderly.

Many of those that require level 4 home care are being forced to accept a much lower level of support, move into a nursing home, and some end up in hospital.

Data collected between June-September in 2018 shows that the national home care package queue increased by more than 5,000 over a three month period, and more than 20,000 in just 9 months.

“The practical and policy implications of these findings is that we need to shorten the wait time. Thirty days may by unrealistic but perhaps as a start six months should be the maximum,” Professor Visvanathan told Community Care Review

The study itself says that it remains to be seen whether interventions to reduce the waiting time for home care packages,such as lower level packages or short-term interim services, would result in better survival rates and less of a reliance on residential aged care.

But even if these options do make an impact, that does not change the fact that elderly Australians who are in desperate need of an essential human service, are being forced to spend over one year waiting for the help they need, and losing a large chunk of the small amount of time that they have left, doing so.

The strain that our ageing and increasingly sick population is having on our residential aged care facilities has shown itself in some of the horror stories of neglect and abuse that we have seen in the media.

And if the Australian Government want to ease the burden on age facilities around the country they may need to look at investing heavily into the services that allow elderly Australians to remain in their homes as long as possible.

Because some Australians don’t have any time to waste.


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  1. Politicians care about nothing except their own power and greed. Have they ever had to care 24/7 for an elderly relative or even more heart breakingly their spouse. A little more empathy and understanding is what is needed from these power hungry beings. My husband was assessed as a level4 with high needs but they refused to grant the higher level for at least 12 months (he was on a level 2). He had constant falls and as I am almost 80 it was impossible for me to lift him. He medical needs were enormous and more than an normal human being should b expected to deal with, unless you are nursing trained. The stresses and anxiety that the spouse has to deal with undermines their health also. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON ANY GOVERNMENT WHO HAS NO CONSIDERATION FOR THE ELDERLY AND THEIR FAMILIES.


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