70% want to die at home


With the number of Australians dying during the next 25 years expected to double, Silver Chain Group says the commitment from major political parties to increase investment in palliative care services at a Federal level is welcomed.

At a recent event in Albury to launch a new resource to help begin conversations about end-of-life wishes, Health Minister Sussan Ley outlined her commitment to palliative care in people’s homes rather than hospitals as a priority.

Likewise, Catherine King  announced that a Labor Government would invest $35m during 4 years to roll out new models of palliative care, to ensure Australians have greater choice and control over where and how they live their final days.

Silver Chain Group CEO, Dr Christopher McGowan, says during that time roughly 153,000 Australians will die, with most of those deaths occurring in people who have lived with, and suffered from, chronic disease.

“As the population continues to grow and age and we experience living longer with chronic disease, it is anticipated that the number of Australians dying over the next 25 years will double – by 2040 approximately 300,000 people will die each year,” Dr McGowan says.

“Studies show that 70% of people wish to die at home. Sadly, 50% of people who die in this country do so in a hospital bed, with a further 25% dying in a residential aged care facility. Only 15% [of people] who die do so at their place of choice – home.”

Silver Chain Group is a community based palliative care nationally. In Western Australia, the organisation provides the nation’s largest community based palliative care program, servicing the entire metropolitan Perth area, as well as providing expertise, support and advice state-wide.

“Substantial and enduring benefits have arisen through the adoption of community based services. Almost 75% of patient receiving palliative care through Silver Chain will die at home, surrounded by their loved ones and familiar comforts.

“Patients engaged with the community based palliative care services are six times less likely to be admitted to inpatient facilities through an emergency department in the last three months of life, avoiding the costs associated with emergency department presentations and ambulance transfers.

“Not only is the current level of spending unsustainable but more importantly the current paradigm profoundly fails to meet the needs and wishes of the community – in-home palliative care addresses patient need and is also significantly more cost effective.”

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