Medical Care for Dementia, Palliative, and Aged Care Patients
While the issues for people with dementia, those who require palliative care, and older Australians with complex and multiple medical conditions are unique, the needs for medical care and management are relatively similar.
All require the regular attention of doctors, with ongoing management of the patient with the patient’s family and carers, mostly outside the doctor’s surgery.
Australia’s system for funding medical care for these patients is inadequate. It does not appropriately recognise the time that doctors spend assessing patients, organising services, and providing support to the patient’s family and carers.
Poor support for medical services in these domains diminishes access and can create unnecessary pressure for, and counter- productive utilisation of, acute services.
Properly funded medical care will help provide Australians with appropriate and quality dementia, palliative and medical care in appropriate settings.
Medicare rebates for services provided by doctors and practice nurses must reflect the time and complexity of providing ongoing dementia, palliative and medical care in the community.
Medicare rebates should cover the time that doctors spend:
- with the patient, assessing and diagnosing their condition and providing medical care;
- with the patient’s family and carers, to plan and manage the patient’s care and treatment; and
- organising and coordinating services for the patient.