'Fragmented' health care ripping away choice of death
THE Australian health systems' inability to keep pace with an ageing population is ripping away the choice of where people want to die while modern medicine has become a double-edged sword.
That's the dire outlook from a new report - Life Before Death: Improving Palliative Care for Older Australians - which claims only 11 percent of people who should have received palliative care received the treatment they required.
The Centre for Independent Studies claimed the "fragmented health and aged care systems" have created a situation where only 14,300 people out of 130,000 had their palliative care needs met.
And while the report acknowledges modern medicine has prolonged the Australian lives, it argued that it has led to unforeseen disasters, both "ill managed and expensive", with dementia expected to take over from heart disease as the leading cause of death.
"The health system's failure to adapt to the changing nature of ageing and death, and provide quality care to the elderly and dying, has meant this time of life has become shrouded in myths of desolation and indignity," the report said.
"The inability of the system to provide palliative car generally has raised an unhelpful focus on where people die, rather than how they die and how they lived prior to death.
"These assumptions, together with a societal bent for youth and independence, has created a climate where old age and death is dreaded."