Aged care: making the system more accessible

Aged care needs to be more accessible for those who need help.

man in wheelchair navigating the aged care website

Aged care in Australia can be seen as pot luck and this simply isn't good enough. In the lead up to Election 2016, consumers, providers and workers groups are calling for both major parties to offer more certainty by addressing the shortage of home care services and residential care.

The National Aged Care Alliance (NACA), which consists of 48 consumer, provider and staff groups, says it is launching a campaign following the failure of both the Coalition and Labor to address issues facing older Australians who require aged care.

It noted that figures from the Productivity Commission enquiry into aged care services showed that 40 per cent of people who were deemed eligible to receive home care services actually had to wait more than three months to access any assistance. This figure is also mirrored in those Australians seeking a permanent aged care residential place.

Paul Sadler, President of Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), which represents not-for-profit service providers and is part of NACA said, "If you need a health service through Medicare, you receive a service. In aged care at the moment that's not guaranteed, there's a cap on the number of places a cap on the dollars that are available for aged care."

Following on from the 2011 Productivity Commission report, Caring for Older Australians, the aged care industry is going through a 10-year period of change, which both major parties broadly support. A government advisory committee has set out a plan for this process and NACA is calling for a commitment to the next phase of changes. "We need both sides of politics to explicitly commit to that roadmap over the next five to seven years," Mr Sadler said.

Budget 2016/17 included a saving of $1.2 billion, over four years, from payments made to aged care providers for individuals with complex care needs. While the Government claims this move will address a higher-than-expected increase in aged care costs, Mr Sadler claims it will only hurt those who need the most care. "This is the third adjustment to the aged care funding instrument since 2012.

"We really need stability in the way aged care is funded and that's what we're calling for."

Read more at:

Opinion: More aged care help needed

Ask anyone who has ever tried to arrange aged care, whether it’s a home care service or a residential aged care placement and they will tell you that the process is severely flawed. The very nature of aged care means that decisions about caring for older relatives are often made under pressure and without fully understanding the implications, especially financial. There is little or no assistance from the Government, with its My Aged Care website offering only the most basic of information. The fact that everyone’s circumstances are indeed different means that people often feel alone at a very difficult and stressful time.

Even arranging care at home can be difficult. While the relatively new Consumer Directed Care packages are aimed at giving people more control and say in the services they engage, there have been many questions raised about the associated fees charged and whether consumers really are getting value for money.

And when it comes to choosing a residential aged care placement, well, in many instances there simply is no choice. Residential aged care is often arranged when a person can no longer cope at home and has been hospitalised after an accident. The only choice available is either take the place offered or don’t and then work out how it will be funded.

Tinkering with the aged care system doesn't help. The system is already too difficult for your average Australian to understand and navigate.

Five years ago, the Productivity Commission provided a blueprint for an effective and manageable aged care system but by choosing which recommendations to implement and which to ignore, successive governments have simply made an unwieldy system even more so. Perhaps it’s time for both parties to pull the document out of the filing cabinet and remind themselves just how important it is to provide valuable, effective and accessible care for older Australians.

Have you tried to understand the aged care system, either through care at home or residential care? Do you have a plan in place for any aged care you may require in the future? Do you think aged care should be a major issue to be addressed during the election campaign?



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    23rd May 2016
    i care for my mother age 82 with dementia i dont know what the future holds cept that she is likely to get to the stage where she doesnt know me. as for care i dont have a clue. as for my future care etc i have no clue about that either
    23rd May 2016
    Mind over Matter ..They don't Care and We don't Matter ! :-(
    ex PS
    23rd May 2016
    Both of my parents passed away in their 60's and 70's so I have never had to deal with this issue on behalf of someone else.
    I have a spose working in the aged care industry and judging from her experiance I have formed definate opinions about how I will structure the later part of my life if I can't cope for myself.
    I do not trust that either ofthe so called major party's have the will or the capacity to look after us if we need aged care, they can't even look after pensioners and give them the propsect of a comfortable retirement.
    The Aged Care Providers are their for one purpose and that is to make as much profit as possible it does not matter if they are 100% private enterprise or linked to a charity.
    If I or my spouse` minimal care I will use a home visit service, if the need for care increases I am going to find people in similar circumstances and either find or have built a home that will accomodate couples or eight individuals capable of delivering a workable living space for each and an ensuite for each bedroom of course.
    Between us we should be able to fund full time care at a more cost effective rate than each of us moving into an aged care facility. We would also find that as part owners of te house we would fall well under any attempt to reduce part pension payments because of asset assesement. The rates and maintenance costs sharedbetween us would be manageable and we would not have a large part of our funds tied up in property.
    Hopefully by the time I have to face the possibility of requiring high care the government will have come to their senses and will allow me to make the choice of checking out and going to my final reward with dignity. But in the case of requiring high care I will sell my placein the home to someone who needs it.
    26th May 2016
    Your comments were very serious, and put well. They made me realise that I may not want to stay in a "half-way-to heaven (or hell)" in my later years. I expect to go for at least another 50 years ( joke) so maybe we will all worlk out a wasy with our own "clutch" of family and friends, as to the best for us. I feel extremely sorry for those without any income assets or friends- as they will be at the end of a long queau with nobody handing out any apples. There is no real answer that suit everybody- so to rely on a Government system to help everybody is just fanciful and unrealistic. Pray that you have at least a friend that can look out for you. Maybe shack up with a refugee.!!!!
    23rd May 2016
    The Labor Party....the party of the people want to increase FOREIGN AID and the INTAKE of migrants.
    The Liberal National Party want to work towards people who have worked, raised a family and paid off their home (often referred to as a mere house) to sell off their assets to pay for their welfare when they become aged.
    To vote for any one of the major parties is tantamount to flipping a coin.
    MAKE SURE YOU USE YOUR SENATE VOTE WISELY. And take a look and listen to the link below.
    23rd May 2016
    Agree with you Bes both parties are not for any of us. The senate I will go with One Nation go Pauline.

    23rd May 2016
    One of the many things no one tells you about aging is that it is such a nice change from being young.
    23rd May 2016
    With added Bonus of I'm glad I don't have to do that again in Todays World !! :-) :-)
    23rd May 2016
    Me, too!
    ex PS
    24th May 2016
    Ahmen to that.
    23rd May 2016
    It's interesting that no political party has mentioned Aged Care.Its very difficult to understand all the processes needed and even more difficult to obtain unless you have plenty of money or assets to dispose of to pay for it. The issues are hardly raised. They certainly do not have a high profile. The cost of nursing home care is very expensive and it takes liquidation of all assets (that you have worked for all your life) including your home to pay for it. As far as the political parties are concerned, the Aged are the forgotten people.
    ex PS
    23rd May 2016
    How are you going to use your home to pay for aged care if you have already used it to pay for your pension? Oh my god, is the governmet going to require us to have two houses now or be branded a bludger?
    23rd May 2016
    There's nothing worse in their eyes than an Old Age Leaner !! :-) :-)
    23rd May 2016
    Hundreds of thousands of part pensioners saved and planned to have funds to pay for decent aged care, but their plans have been decimated and now they will be dependant on the State. A small part pension now would cost a lot less than paying larger pensions decades down the track, when costs have risen, and paying the hideously high cost of aged care. This government is so pathetically short sighted and engaging in totally false economy. But then, they have made it clear that they simply don't care a damn for older Australians. We are ''leaners'' and ''a burden'', remember? All they ever think of is how to cut the income of the aged and slash services.
    Aged care is a disgrace. I'll do myself in before I'll go into one of those awful residential facilities. And OMG, the cost! More for a tiny room than it costs to buy a family home in the same vicinity, and then they take 85% of your income besides, and the out of control pharmacy bills add hundreds to the monthly cost.
    The workers do their best, but the management is only concerned with profit.
    26th May 2016
    Why would anyone want to go into aged care and just wait to die?

    I certainly don't want to play bingo in God's waiting room waiting for my number to be called.
    Not Senile Yet!
    23rd May 2016
    Both Political Parties actually DO have an AGED CARE PLAN......It's called IGNORE THEM.....THEY ARE STUFFED ANYWAY AND DO NOT PAY TAX ANYMORE!!!
    Both Parties are working on legalising the right to take your own life legitimate way tc cut costs in both aged care and pensions!!!
    If they could legislate a Death Pill at age 75....they would.... just to save money....our money!!!!
    ex PS
    23rd May 2016
    And they'll probably make us pay for the medication. But it seems to be a multi ponged strategy, they are trying their best to ensure that we don't want to live past 75.
    23rd May 2016
    Their costing of the Age Pension is a Lie ! They get over 50% of it back in one form of TAX or another !! :-(
    ex PS
    23rd May 2016
    particolor, another lie "Spread by governments" pensioners don't pay tax. They conveniantly forget about G.S.T.
    23rd May 2016
    I cant decipher whether that is for or against ? But that GST Allowance doesn't cove half of the things we buy ! Plus everything you do and buy is employing people, and They pay Tax on your services !
    23rd May 2016
    The cuts to aged care have been disgraceful. $1.6 billion cut in the last Budget. It is easy to do as the frail aged are silent. Today we have Tony Shepherd demanding that we take the homes of the elderly and that they pay for their pensions all over again so that business will not have to pay tax. Where has the basic justice in society gone let alone the humanity.
    ex PS
    23rd May 2016
    Interesting, are these homes going to pay for aged care or the pension. I thought the LNP's fort'e was accounting?
    Using the same money to pay for two different things, how creative. I hope they are not using the same accountant to work out the budget?
    23rd May 2016
    Ill have you know that Dr Doolittle in Accounts is one of our finest Accountants !! :-( :-(
    ex PS
    23rd May 2016
    PS, I now see the overall strategy, we are going to need million dollar homes to pay for both aged care and the pension, this will push up our Asset worth so that we don't qualify for a pension. The government can then deliver a surplus, and end up with high end real estate, brilliant.
    23rd May 2016
    Fine accounting ex PS. Make sure you let the LNP know so that they can announce their senior policy for the election.
    23rd May 2016
    A penny saved is obviously the result of a government oversight.
    23rd May 2016
    Good idea use the house to pay for the pension and aged care. A lot better than being left for their heirs to indulge themselves in world cruises or exotic holidays.
    23rd May 2016
    There's that sick selfish Bonny again - always ranting about taking people's homes and ensuring they can't leave anything to their loved ones. She bought her kids homes, and she's determined to ensure that they are the only Australians who end up owning anything in the next generation. Such a disgusting attitude. It makes me ill now to see her name.
    23rd May 2016
    The LNP couldn't figure out a simple math equation to save their lives, let alone do sensible accounting, exPS. I have highlighted the stupidity of their assets test change, but the morons don't get it. Maybe they will when they have stuffed the country. Already driven the deficit up to double, and now they are gifting $11 billion to the US government while robbing pensioners and giving tax cuts only to those who don't need them!

    They won't be satisfied until they have forced all of us to drain every cent of savings and sell everything we own.

    Has it ever occurred to the idiots who endorse these dumb policies that if we leave a debt to future generations, we also leave them valuable assets. Are they not expected to pay for the assets they inherit? Well, obviously the LNP wants to ensure that they neither pay for them nor inherit them - that we strip the nation bare of all its assets in the name of ''sensible economic management'' and leave the next generation to fend for themselves in a world where there are no services, there is no support for the vulnerable, and only the rich can survive beyond a few years of servitude. A feudal society! That is clearly their aim.

    If we don't get rid of this government, we are in dire trouble.
    24th May 2016
    Bonny, "use the house to pay the pension" - what an absolutely ridiculous thing to say! You are not fooling anyone with your phoney financial altruistic comments towards the Treasury Department, so hop off your high horse with your foolish pecuniary pretences. People are laughing at you, and have been for a long time. Get real.

    23rd May 2016
    Whatever you do don't let an elderly person move into a public hospital!

    This is back door euthanasia on a grand scale!

    My mum, a young 92, died last year in Bankstown Public Hospital from septic shock because the AGEIST doctors there withheld internationally standardised, potentially life-saving treatment for her condition.
    She was immediately put onto the pathway to certain death known as palliative care without any attempt to save her, PURELY BECAUSE OF HER AGE.

    I have recently looked at the medical literature on septic shock and, surprisingly, it indicates that mum had at least a 50% chance of survival if given the recommended treatment, in stark contrast to the gloomy and flawed prognosis given.

    It is well known that doctors cannot accurately predict the outcome of any medical treatment.
    They are basically just guessing and guessing according to their prejudices.

    Refrain from denying treatment to your patient because of a judgement based on discrimination
    (AMA Code of Ethics 2006, 1.1.10)

    Reviews: Dr Karen Hitchcock's Quarterly Essay On Ageism "Dear Life - On caring for the elderly" 2015
    Aged care: Karen Hitchcock’s essay required reading for every Australian The Australian 2015
    QUOTE: In short, age discrimination is rife in the medical system (“They have been and remain the last priority ...”), as it is in wider society. You may be surprised to hear, Hitchcock remarks, that when your grandfather presents at a hospital, “Doctors won’t fight to take care of him; they’ll fight not to.’’
    QUOTE: Hitchcock writes from experience: she is a staff doctor in acute and general medicine at a large Melbourne public hospital. Dr Hitchcock writes passionately about her experiences in major Australian hospitals.
    She believes old people face entrenched age discrimination in hospital.
    QUOTE: She is not suggesting doctors are uncaring, but a general impatience with the elderly does come through, one that sometimes borders on hostility.
    QUOTE: She recalls the doctor “disgusted by the attempt to pump life back into a damaged and dying old body’’. Wouldn’t it be better if she just slipped away? As Hitchcock incisively comments, this attitude is a “failure of empathy, disguised as empathy’’. Her grandmother wanted to live a bit longer: for her the little life she had was preferable to no life at all. And it’s here that one of the more disturbing aspects of the essay comes to the fore.
    Do older patients suffer age prejudice in hospital? Adele Horn
    QUOTE: Karen Hitchcock is a dedicated doctor and a brilliant writer.
    She believes old people face entrenched age discrimination in hospital.
    She treats the old, sick patients other doctors may write off.
    She gives them a chance to grab more life
    QUOTE: In a provocative new essay, she argues doctors are influenced by a culture that discounts the elderly.
    As a result, they can be too inclined to withhold treatment in the belief it’s futile.
    QUOTE: According to Dr Hitchcock, the problem is the opposite [to the US] in Australia: “…the problem is not that we never allow patients to die, but that we may declare a situation hopeless when it may not be so.”
    'Bed-blocker' tag smarts of ageism The Senior 2015
    QUOTE: “Because some of us are both old and sick, somehow we become lesser beings, demoted to ‘problems to be managed’,” she said. “This can be reflected in the language used in some facilities where the aged are sometimes referred to as ‘bed-blockers’ or by demeaning terms such as GOMERs – Get Out of My Emergency Room.”
    QUOTE: Melbourne-based doctor and writer Karen Hitchcock tackled the issue of ageism in health care head-on in her Quarterly Essay in March, accompanied by multiple examples from her experience in major Australian hospitals. “Our collective turning away from ageing is reflected and concentrated in the hospital,” she wrote
    QUOTE: Australian Catholic University Professor of Ageing Tracey McDonald said clinicians were increasingly making decisions based on economic rationalism.
    QUOTE: “I’ve actually heard doctors say to people ‘Have you considered what a burden you are on your family?'” she said. “The pressure on hospitals is so immense, and if you are prejudiced in any way (against older people) that’s going to affect your decision.”
    QUOTE: “There is a stereotype and an attitude that pervades care that an older person does not have a right to a bed there,” Dr Bernoth said. She echoed Dr Hitchcock’s comments that hospitals rushed to assume older people were suffering from inevitable age-related deterioration, and rushed to take minimal or palliative measures, instead of treating sometimes easily fixed short-term health issues
    QUOTE: A growing recognition of the ageing population and its fiscal ramifications had translated to fear
    “This perception has infiltrated our health systems and has led to a number of movements within medicine that are either consciously or unconsciously informed by our low regard for the elderly and the fiscal fear they now embody.
    “Given our cultural climate, they risk giving sanction to a form of health rationing for our elderly in a system which historically has held them in the lowest regard
    Carol Middleton reviews 'Dear Life' by Karen Hitchcock
    QUOTE: The result is a sensitive, rigorous, and moving account that exposes the prevailing ageism in our medical services and in Australian society as a whole.
    Review of Karen Hitchcock’s Quarterly Essay on Ageing 2015
    QUOTE: In the March 2015 issue of the Quarterly Essay, Karen Hitchcock delves into the Australian healthcare system, making explicit something that, as she says, often remains unsaid and yet can be heard quite clearly: “That the elderly are burdensome, bankrupting, non-productive. That old age is not worth living.”
    QUOTE: “Ours is a society in which ageism, often disguised, threatens to turn the elderly into a ‘burden’ – difficult, expensive and homogeneous.” While we rightly seek to curb treatment when it is futile, harmful or against a patient’s wishes, this can sometimes lead to limits on care that suit the system rather than the person. Doctors may declare a situation hopeless when it may not be so.
    QUOTE: 3. Our doctors don’t want to treat them [the elderly]
    In addition, there is an embedded ideology about the ‘futility’ of treating the elderly and a dominant narrative criticizing ‘excess treatment’ – both of which encourage a rationing of treatment for older people, a cost-benefit analysis of a human life. The end result of this: Doctors who compete not to deal with the elderly as they come into the emergency room and elderly patients who spend their valuable treatment and recovery time apologising to doctors “I don’t want to be a burden”, “I know I’m a nuisance”.
    4. Our healthcare system fails them
    Currently hospitals require all elderly patients to complete a treatment plan outlining their future limitations on treatment. Intended to give patients choice and a ‘dignified death’, for doctors these plans often make it as simple as a check-box to put a patient on the ‘palliate path’. With the cultural weight of feeling like a burden, especially when asked to fill out the form at the hospital itself, elderly patients are at risk of self-depriving themselves of future treatment; with a healthcare system that allows it.
    5. We don’t want to pay for their healthcare
    “The elderly have been, and remain, the last priority in our medical system and the ones we target first with our austerity measures.”
    For the sake of comparison: there is a stronger negative narrative around the cost of elderly care, compared to our willingness to pay for the treatment of increasingly poor, obese, diabetic, sedentary young and middle-ages who will require many drugs, doctors, operations and hospitalisations.
    QUOTE: We need to shift our focus away from limiting care, to improving care for elderly Australians.
    ‘A sensitive, rigorous, and moving account that exposes the prevailing ageism in our medical services and in Australian society as a whole.’
    Australian Book Review
    Frailty and dementia; age discrimination; over-treatment, health care directives and escalating costs are covered in the essay, as are the decisions by some doctors to withhold treatment in the belief it is futile.
    Do Human Rights Have a Use By Date? Medical Forum 2015
    Elderly fight for treatment
    A case recently came to the attention of Medical Forum that underscores the innate complexity when it comes to serious decision-making in relation to the elderly.
    It involves an elderly man, with mild cognitive impairment residing in an aged-care facility. He developed acute pneumonia, was sent to hospital, treated and returned to the nursing home. His condition worsened and his GP (who wishes to remain anonymous) wanted to send him back to the ED for admission and further supportive treatment but that transfer was blocked because he was said to be ‘not for resuscitation’ and his care described as ‘palliative’.
    The GP told us: “They cited an Advanced Health Directive (AHD) that stated that the man ‘declined intervention’. I’ve known this person for the best part of a decade, he doesn’t have a terminal illness and he is ambulant and able to do many things for himself. He would have difficulty understanding the complex nature of an AHD and it turns out that the form was signed on his behalf some years ago by a relative who wasn’t ‘next of kin’.”
    “I’m really concerned that ‘Not for CPR’ on an AHD is being misinterpreted as ‘Not for Any Active Treatment’. I’m equally worried that ACDs, which essentially become a death warrant, are being signed by people with reduced capacity or by family members without proper legal authority.”
    “Older people do get sick and they do need hospital treatment. They shouldn’t have to fight for it.”
    Aged Persons: their right to respect and choice when accessing health services

    Refrain from denying treatment to your patient because of a judgement based on discrimination
    (AMA Code of Ethics 2006, 1.1.10)

    A recent experience of watching an elderly family member die from dehydration and malnutrition because he was assumed by health professionals to be in his last stage of dying has left the grieving family asking lots of questions about ethical practice in the hospital and aged care sector. Further, preliminary research indicates that this experience is by no means an isolated case.
    As a result of this frightening experience with the geriatric specialist and hospital staff, my mother began associating hospitals with the ‘killing fields’ for the aged and was very reluctant and fearful of going to hospital for a heart condition when she really needed medical assistance.
    What was most alarming in most accounts was the overall resignation to the generally perceived status quo: “we know hospital staff hasten the dying process of elderly people in hospitals and nursing homes - they do it all the time”
    “we all know it happens”
    “doctors in hospitals have an unofficial licence to kill – there is nothing you can do about it”
    “they do that alright, the nurse did it to my mother in–law…she gave her one shot and that was it…. she died shortly after that"
    Despite the anecdotal nature of these responses, it does however show a trend in dehumanising attitudes and practices towards elderly patients.
    The Age Discrimination Act 2004 which prohibits age discrimination in many areas of public life including the provision of goods, services and facilities’, and emphasises ‘that people of all ages have the same fundamental rights to equality before the law regardless of age
    (Australian Human Rights Commission 2012, pp.6-7).


    ‘Ageist’ doctors negligent of elderly UK NHS The Hindu Business Line 2012

    The elderly among the population of almost every country had long suspected that they do not get the treatment they need and deserve from medical professionals who see them as being on the wrong side of 70-80 and feel that any effort on them is not worth the time and expense.
    there seems to be a tacit form of euthanasia already in vogue: Doctors advising relatives of elderly patients in ICU either to take them home or to agree to the withdrawal of life-support systems so that “they leave in dignity”.
    According to a report dated June 11 in The Telegraph, the law imposes a ban on any attempt by doctors to deny or water down treatment to the elderly. It follows “a series of shocking reports showing that older people often suffer sub-standard care and uneven treatment in the NHS (National Health Service) and the social care system.”
    the widely prevalent violation, tantamount to a criminal offence, of the right of the elderly for proper treatment brought out both by the Health Service Ombudsman and research undertaken by the King’s Fund is beyond belief.
    Top doctor's chilling claim: The NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year The Daily Mail June 2012

    Professor says doctors use 'death pathway' to euthanasia of the elderly

    NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.
    Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.
    He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.
    The Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP) is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.
    Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’.
    He added: ‘If we accept the Liverpool Care Pathway we accept that euthanasia is part of the standard way of dying as it is now associated with 29 per cent of NHS deaths.’
    He said this showed that claims they had hours or days left are ‘palpably false’.
    ‘Very likely many elderly patients who could live substantially longer are being killed by the LCP.
    ‘Patients are frequently put on the pathway without a proper analysis of their condition.
    ‘Predicting death in a time frame of three to four days, or even at any other specific time, is not possible scientifically.
    This determination in the LCP leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The personal views of the physician or other medical team members of perceived quality of life or low likelihood of a good outcome are probably central in putting a patient on the LCP.’
    Medical criticisms of the Liverpool Care Pathway were voiced nearly three years ago.
    Experts including Peter Millard, emeritus professor of geriatrics at the University of London, and Dr Peter Hargreaves, palliative care consultant at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, Surrey, warned of ‘backdoor euthanasia’ and the risk that economic factors were being brought into the treatment of vulnerable patients

    EXAMPLE: Professor Pullicino revealed he had personally intervened to take a patient off the LCP who went on to be successfully treated.
    In the example he revealed a 71-year-old who was admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia and epilepsy was put on the LCP by a covering doctor on a weekend shift.
    Professor Pullicino said he had returned to work after a weekend to find the patient unresponsive and his family upset because they had not agreed to place him on the LCP.
    ‘I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance,’ he said.
    ‘His seizures came under control and four weeks later he was discharged home to his family,’ he said.
    In the example of the 71-year-old, Professor Pullicino revealed he had given the patient another 14 months of life by demanding the man be removed from the LCP.
    The sanctioned killing of the aged and ill is all that could follow in the shadow of the legalization of abortion.
    Instead of empowering ourselves by strengthening the worth of all life we have lowered ourselves to the level of every killer.
    It is a power choice pure and simple.
    Anyone that is perceived to be taking ' valuable space ' or ' breathing the air ' of someone more worthy, or ' costing me money ' can be deemed worthless and therefore killable.

    I survived the death pathway: Patricia, 82, was given two days to live, but her family defied doctors and gave her water through a straw - now she's planning a world cruise

    Doctors at the hospital had removed all feeding tubes and drips and placed the 82-year-old grandmother on the Liverpool Care Pathway. Her children and grandchildren were told to say their last goodbyes.
    But they said no. And after they defied hospital orders and gave Mrs Greenwood drops of water, her family helped her make a remarkable recovery.
    Within hours, Mrs Greenwood was eating and drinking for herself and is now back at home and proud to call herself a Liverpool Care Pathway survivor.
    The hospital concerned has been paid more than £600,000 in the last two years to hit targets for the number of patients who die on the Pathway, according to documents uncovered by the Mail.
    They’re making money out of killing people.’
    The Mail has highlighted growing fears of patients’ relatives and doctors that the Pathway is being applied to patients without their families’ knowledge and when they still have a chance of recovery.
    The regime, which involves the withdrawal of food and fluids as well as medical treatment, is designed to be used on patients who are dying. Doctors try to ease their suffering in their final hours instead of trying to save them. Yet critics say it is impossible to predict accurately when a patient may die and that the Pathway instead becomes a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ that hastens their death.
    ‘The very same people are now saying they are conducting the inquiry. It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse.’
    Julian Brazier, Tory MP for Canterbury, said: ‘There should be an independent inquiry and not one run by the practitioners.’
    The medical profession's lethal arrogance over the Liverpool Care Pathway Melanie Phillips

    Numerous relatives have claimed, however, that their loved ones were put on the Pathway – which involves the withdrawal of food and fluids as well as medical treatment – without their consent.
    Far worse, they claimed that some of these patients were not in fact dying when they were put on the Pathway, but were then starved and dehydrated to death as a result.
    As such claims mounted, the reaction by the medical establishment was to dismiss them out of hand.

    EXAMPLE: One woman, for example, wrote that her father suffered a severe stroke caused by a blood clot in his brain. ‘All fluids were removed from him and we were told he was in the final phase of his life,’ she wrote.
    ‘All we were told was that there was no hope for him; it was a matter of time before he died. Eight days later, he opened his eyes and proved everyone wrong by pulling round. Two years on from this he is back at home, although in a wheelchair and with some loss of speech.’

    EXAMPLE: Another woman’s 85-year-old mother was admitted to hospital with an infected gall bladder. The following day doctors told her, to her shock, that her mother was gravely ill and had no chance of survival.
    The doctors, who included three consultants, told her that if she did not agree to the Pathway she would be adding to her mother’s distress and misery. She signed the form – only to be horrified subsequently to find her mother highly disorientated, agitated and distressed from lack of fluids and treatment.
    ‘I compelled the nursing staff to restore hydration and medications, or take full responsibility for the outcome if they failed to. I also took matters into my own hands by feeding her natural yogurt, soft foods and spooning water into her – something which was to continue until she was released three days later, having been restored to full health, cracking jokes and saying goodbye to those who were unfortunately left probably to suffer the same fate.
    ‘A year has since passed. My mother has a robust appetite and has never succumbed to the “impending doom” I was led to believe she could not escape.’

    EXAMPLE: Another woman’s father was in a nursing home waiting for surgery to amputate his legs following complications from cancer.
    The man’s daughter was called by a nurse who told her that her father was on the Pathway, and who then overrode her objections to that decision. Distraught, the daughter wrote to her father’s surgeon begging him to intervene to save her father’s life – which he did.
    Dad had his amputation and has made a good recovery. I visited him today; he was sitting up asking for sweets. We talked about him coming to us for the Christmas hols. It really could have been a different story. He’s my dad, he is 83 and has a right to choose to live.’
    ... the second kind of message I received furnished all-too-chilling reinforcement.
    These were from doctors, nurses and other NHS staff. They did not wish to examine any of the evidence. Facts seemed to be totally irrelevant.
    They simply knew for a certainty that all the claims made by relatives – and by Professor Pullicino and his colleagues – were totally untrue, because apparently medical staff like them only ever have their patients’ best interests at heart.
    Many were incandescent with rage that I had publicised concerns that patients who were not dying were being starved and dehydrated to death. Several accused me of deliberately sensationalising the issue in order to sell newspapers, and that to that cynical end I had set out to terrify dying patients and their relatives.
    The concern, however, is that it is often being applied to patients who are not dying – but who then die as a result
    But the angry medical staff simply refused to accept that the LCP was ever being used on patients who were not dying, and as a result was killing them. They dismissed all such claims as odious and with no substance at all.
    Yet how could they know? The answer was as chilling as it was high-handed: only doctors could tell who was dying.
    One doctor wrote: ‘Neither you nor patients’ relatives are trained to recognise dying, and are thus not qualified to comment on the process.’
    But if trust has been eroded, it is because so many people believe that elderly patients are being starved and dehydrated to death.
    A proper ethical response is surely to investigate such concerns, not use emotional blackmail to suppress them.
    What my correspondence has illuminated is the compelling evidence of abuse of the LCP – and the all-too-revealing arrogance of the furious NHS staff who deny it all: confirmation of the disturbing attitudes about which the relatives gave such vivid testimony.
    It is essential that this thick carapace of professional obfuscation is swept aside if the truth is ever to be established about the Liverpool Care Pathway.
    A quick perusal of similar experiences and reports on the internet indicates that the culture of disrespect towards elderly people in health services is pervasive not only in Australia but also globally.
    • Hunter 2012, “Neglect and Abuse in Aged Care”
    • Raghavan 2012, “Ageist’ doctors negligent of elderly?”
    • The New American 2013, “British Hospital Patients Dying in Droves From Lack of Care”
    • CMF 2012, “Is the NHS really killing 130,000 patients a year with the Liverpool Care Pathway?”
    • Allan 2013, UK “Elderly patients are being ‘deprived of food and drink so they die quicker and free up bed space’, claim doctors” Hospitals may be withholding food and drink from elderly patients so they die quicker to cut costs and save on bad spaces, leading doctors have warned.
    Thousands of terminally ill people are placed on a 'care pathway' every year to hasten the ends of their lives.
    But in a letter to the Daily Telegraph, six doctors who specialise in elderly care said hospitals across the UK could be using the controversial practice to ease the pressure on resources.
    • Australian Publishing Resource Service 2010, “Hospital elderly: malnourished and underfed”
    • Raschella 2012, “Hospital probes claims elderly woman neglected” Elderly woman was left in a corridor for six hours and told to urinate in her bed
    • 2012, “Hunger and thirst blamed for 2000 patient deaths in Queensland public hospitals in 2011-12” Sheer neglect of the elderly in hospitals
    • Mackay 2013, “Without Due Care: An Australian Hospital Tragedy” The story of Donald Mackay a quadriplegic man's shocking medical abuse
    • ABC LATELINE 2012, “Public hospitals in Crisis” A disturbing case of neglect at a major Sydney hospital.
    23rd May 2016
    I've Printed that for Tonight's Novel !! I only hope I can stay Awake long enough to read it !! :-)
    23rd May 2016
    27th May 2016
    May be long fellas but a quick scan shows some consistency which should be sobering. Thirst, withholding liquids.
    Incredible. There are few situations where moderate water intaking can be damaging and no liquid intake does mean sure and relatively rapid death. Yet when these illustrated treatements are added to the few in my own experience it looks very much like a pattern. A pattern where, given that all are free owners of this society can only be considered abuse and for that matter regardless of any good intention, criminal abuse.

    One in my experience was sent to hospital after taking a 'turn,' an as I understand it unidentified condition at the time. Doctors said she had very little time to live. A month later she had eaten nothing and had little water; none in the final days. She checked herself out and returned home. Visiting her the next day I could barely recognise her drawn, now black face. Hearing that she could not take any water, the only thing I could think of trying was ice. A trip to the chemist for a bag of glucose and I was able to make what turned out visibly to be very unimpressive glucose and water iceblocks. She sucked 3 the first day, many the next, 2 days later she was drinking well and nibbling, 5 days had colour all back and was eating well. A couple years later she is old but getting happily older.

    Being alive; being australian is deserving of much more than institutionalised ignorance or brutality if it is either.

    23rd May 2016
    God help us all. The governments of today do not give a hoot about older people this is so scarey dont even want to think about it.
    Where do we go when we cant fend for ourselves anymore???? The system is so complex that non of us can understand it, and what about the cost, out of most peoples reach I would think.
    23rd May 2016
    They think we all have Dementure by our age, and wont be able to understand their Scheming Garbage anyhow ?? :-(
    23rd May 2016
    This subject is a matter for every one of us & be should be given due consideration at a time in our lives when the marbles are still in place. Recent experience has taught me that very few wish to broach the subject much less enter discussion. Considering I'm a couple of years into retirement & many of these same folk were older than myself; living in various forms of habitation ranging from private dwelling (both owner/occupier & tenant) to an independent living unit, I found the same degree of 'mindset' that presented as an aversion to discuss or consider their future needs relevant to this. In fact, it seemed to me their intransigence could best be described as bloody mindedness.
    Most of these folk; being singularly independant, conveyed the impression they might live forever. By choosing to ignore the limitations of aging one wonders whether they've considered anyone but themselves, particularly immediate family and certainly those 'dearest' who happen to be 'nearest', they being first called when the inevitable happens.
    Maybe the system needs special counsellors to address the issue when family members either refuse to discuss or consider others. To be sure, ultimately most folk manage once the situation is beyond the whims of the aged parent however, the interim to a placement seems, sorely taxing, trying and interminable - this being just the beginning of a few of the hoops and hurdles as mentioned in the article.
    Although my family tells me 'love has it's limitations' - a dictum I readily accept, my current wishes may at some point be subverted by others for needs of expediency.
    Such is life !
    Young Simmo
    23rd May 2016
    Hey Parti, watcha reckon?
    23rd May 2016
    I put on here, what I think of those Greedy Baboons they call Politicians nowadays, they would send the AFP around to get me ! After they had finished Haunting the Labor Party !! :-) :-)
    Young Simmo
    23rd May 2016
    Greedy Baboons is A BIT GENEROUS, I can think of another description but don't want to get locked up.
    Another question, why can't one of the daily shows by Liegh, Tracy or Monica ask Turnball. If the average Aussie's pay stops when he stops working, is it fair for politicians pay to continue till they stop living?
    23rd May 2016
    Simmo they stopped living in the Real World the day they were Elected ! :-)
    ex PS
    24th May 2016
    Young Simmo, with all respect, baboons have a social structure, they will band together to protect the weaker members of their society, therefore the comparison is unfair. This batch of poliyicians would be more like merecats who will eat the young of their neighbors so that their own supporters can have more resources.
    Young Simmo
    23rd May 2016
    While we are on the subject of us oldies. Hope I'm not out of order.
    Three older gentlemen sat down at the park for a conversation.
    "There's no worse age than 70," says the youngest, "You always feel like you have to pee, and most of the time you try and try and nothing comes out!"
    "That's nothing," said the 80 year old, "80 is a much worse age. You can't even do your business anymore. You take laxatives then sit on the toilet for hours waiting for something to come out!"
    "Actually," said the oldest one, "90 is the worst age of all!"
    "Do you have trouble peeing too?" asked the 70 year old.
    "Not really. I pee every morning like clockwork at 6:00am."
    "Do you have trouble crapping?" asked the 80 year old.
    "Not at all, I do my business every day promptly at 6:30am."
    The 70 year old looked at him funny. "Let me get this straight, you pee at 6am and you crap at 6:30am? So what's the problem?"
    "I don't get up until 7:00!!"
    Retired Knowall
    24th May 2016
    Rainey, if you are going to put China up as a good example of social security policy I suggest you first research China's policies.
    23rd May 2016
    Future planning for adequate and quality aged care by all levels of government is critical - right now. Ideally, more services to keep people in their own home rather than into residential care. However both options need much more funding, planning and clearer easily accessible guidelines for all.

    23rd May 2016
    A society is judged by the way it treats its aged. That should tell us all that our society is stuffed! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME.

    In China, it's law that the younger generation must care for their parents - visit them regularly and see that their needs are met. In Australia, the aged are ''leaners'' and ''a burden''. What kind of scum are inhabiting the halls of power, that they have so little care, compassion and respect for the people who built the nation and gave them the prosperity they enjoy today?
    ex PS
    24th May 2016
    I don't expect my son to take care of us, but I know he would if he had to. What I didn't expect was for the government to make it harder for us to look after ourselve's.
    Retired Knowall
    24th May 2016
    Rainey, if you are going to put China up as a good example of social security policy I suggest you first research China's policies.

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