Medibank has announced a new program - ‘Medibank at Home’ – designed to allow its members with health needs to receive care in their own homes rather than a hospital.
The program will cover a range of services, including the currently available national rehabilitation at home service, chemotherapy and palliative care trials, and a new trial – dialysis at home. It also announced an expansion of chemotherapy at home, with the service extending into South Australia and Victoria.
According to Medibank chief medical officer, Dr Linda Swan, “Medibank at Home is about empowering our members with greater choice, control and flexibility around where they receive their care. Results from our current pilots show that for members with specific health needs, receiving care at home can deliver as good or better results, alleviate stress for both the patient and their support network, and decrease the risk of hospital readmission.
“The announcement of this program reinforces Medibank’s commitment to shaping the future of care, and we look forward to both the expansion of existing services and the announcement of new initiatives in the near future.”
Medibank said its announcement follows research that found 67 percent of Australians who visited a hospital said getting to and from the hospital was a major challenge, with parking, public transport, distance and the associated costs being the key contributors.
Hospital parking was revealed as the leading factor, with 86 percent agreeing parking is the number one stress when travelling to the hospital. The majority said parking costs are ‘very expensive’. More than one in 10 (12 percent) reported spending more than $40 on a single hospital visit, with 40 percent admitting they have had to cut visits short due to parking fees.
Almost four-in-ten (39 percent) said public transport is not adequately set up in their area to get to the hospital, and 23 percent said they would struggle or are physically unable to walk the distance between the public transport stop and hospital entrance.
One-in-four people (24 percent) said they have had to cancel or reschedule appointments ‘due to difficulties getting there’.
“We know that travelling to and from hospital can be the source of added stress, and can negatively impact a patient’s wellbeing - not just physically, but mentally. With the launch of Medibank at Home, we aim to help alleviate the burden many face when travelling to and from the hospital, so members can focus on what’s important – their health,” said Dr Swan.
“Looking at the bigger picture, Medibank at Home and these trials go beyond just benefiting patients, it promotes a sustainable healthcare system, with the potential to significantly increase capacity and ease the growing demand for hospital services.”