Consumer and Choice: to what extent does ‘choice’ exist?

Monday 4 September, 2017

Since Consumer Directed Care (CDC) was first introduced in 2015, the concept has been a constant topic of industry media and conferences.

But what does CDC really mean and is it biased towards those with the financial means of making choices in the first place? Can we, as a society, really make choice count if options are based on criteria such as finances or location?

Take the case of those Australians under 40, who end up in aged care – as no other ‘choice’ is available.

In April this year, News Ltd journalist Emma Reynolds wrote about the ‘1000 young people across Australia today…placed in nursing homes because there is nowhere else for them to go. They are too sick to be at home, and not sick enough to take up a hospital bed.’

Katy Skene was one of them. She spent 15 months in an aged care home at the age of 33.

Katy had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at 19, but it was only after she had worked in her dream job for ten years that doctors were forced to operate to remove her bladder.

After three months in hospital, she was too sick to go home but using up a bed. One day, a social worker came to tell her she was being put in an aged care facility.

“To me, that’s when life ended”, Katy is quoted as saying. “I was going to be forgotten about.”

The fact is many people with complex needs or significant disability end up in Residential Aged Care.  In this situation, people with MS can have further difficulties having their needs met. Access to aids and equipment, assistive technology, appropriate therapy and health service supports is also problematic. As is the loss of independence, especially the loss of an independent social network.

So where is the ‘choice’ in this situation?

As thought leaders and providers of solutions to the health and ageing community since 2008, these types of issues concern us. We’re keen to drive solutions out of community, government and the private sector. We need intelligent solutions to address new and challenging issues that face the industry in the coming years.

Health Metrics aims to be continually adaptive and innovative regarding future issues.. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to bring together a range of both industry and forward-thinking social speakers to talk at our upcoming conference in Melbourne, 21 and 22 September at Crown.

I’m especially pleased that Tim Ferguson, who has personally battled MS and campaigned for appropriate care, will be opening the conference.

We hope to see you there.

Steven Strange – CEO, Health Metrics

For more information visit our conference website or call 1300 811 119.

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