"Lack of transport support to and from Geraldton Hospital"

About: Geraldton Hospital

(as a carer),

As a carer, I am concerned that the aged and disability support services available in the outlying districts are lacking compared to those in urban areas.

The person who I care for needs ongoing support and relies heavily on the services provided by the hospital and other organisations, however much of this is at our own expense and often these services are not cheap.

Recently the person who I care for was granted a leave of absence to get some much need relaxation time away from the aged care facility – a really crucial aspect of maintaining their quality of life. However the cost of transporting them is extremely high (as they require wheelchair access) and this is on top of other large expenses, such as medical bills, aged care fees and transport to and from Geraldton Hospital, to which they have frequently needed to visit.

My biggest problem here is that the hospital does not offer free transportation to and from the aged care facility, despite the facility only being within 30 minutes of the hospital.

I find this extremely surprising as the hospital is able to organise transport for day trips to the museum and out shopping for patients through services like HACC (Home and Community Care). While I think that this is valuable to patients and is certainly great for supporting quality of life, I don’t understand how transport to and from medical facilities isn’t more important.

With the amount of money provided for carers and people with disabilities and the funding and support from the State and Federal governments for disability services not picking up the financial slack, it would really help for the hospitals to provide this type of transport to the patients that need it most.

Responses

Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS - Midwest

picture of Michele Young

Dear outlying districts get nothing

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion. Firstly I would like to acknowledge and show my appreciation for the work that you do as a carer. Carers make an enormous contribution to our society and provide a lifeline for those that they care for.

Aged Care and Disability services have recently changed with the National Aged Care Reforms coming into effect February 2017. People accessing aged care and disability services require an assessment to determine their eligibility for commonwealth services and the level of services they require. There is now a push for consumer directed care, which means that once approved for either a Home and Community Care (HACC) level of service or a Commonwealth Home Care Package level of service, the consumer is able to choose the support they would like. In terms of transport if the person you are caring for is approved as eligible to receive transport assistance they can choose either transport to/from medical appointments, transport to social outings or both – it is up to the consumer to make that choice in conjunction with their service provider.

I have discussed your story with Jemimah Low A/Manager Aged and Community Care who would like the opportunity to discuss the concerns you have raised in more detail and explore options on how we may be able to assist. Jemimah can be contacted on 9956 2311 or Jemimah.Low@health.wa.gov.au

My Aged Care is a national body that assists people living all over Australia to link in with appropriate service providers and supports in their local community, they can be contacted online at www.myagedcare.gov.au or by calling 1800 200 422. Alternatively you can contact the Midwest Aged Care Assessment Team on 9956 2310 and they will be able to arrange for an assessment for the person you are caring for and then link them with local service providers.

There are a range of services available to help you in your caring role if this is something you wish to pursue. The Midwest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink service is available to discuss different respite options from residential respite to in-home respite. Respite care can also give the person you care for variety and extra social opportunities. The Midwest Commonwealth Respite and Carelink service can be contacted on 1800 052 222.

Please be assured WA Country Health Service takes your feedback seriously and is committed to improving the experience of all health service users. Thank you again for taking the time to write and we look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

Michele

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