Australian Ricky Buchanan has written a much-needed report about the issues facing bedbound and homebound people in getting access to medical care. She writes:
“If you are homebound/bedridden and you live in the community, then the healthcare system treats you as if you do not exist.
People who are homebound and/or bedridden have extensive and systemic problems with accessing the medical healthcare system, including access to GPs, medical professionals, hospital systems and allied health. If you don’t turn up you are assumed not to need or want the service.
This is not like access to public transport, where we have excellent anti-discrimination laws but the government keeps awarding exceptions the rules.
This is not like access to websites, where there are excellent guidelines about how to be accessible but people just don’t follow them.
This problem is that the entire medical system has been designed and based around physical attendance, and that it treats non-attendance almost exclusively as a problem of patient noncompliance. There are a few small tweaks to make exceptions for people in rural and remote areas, and some even smaller tweaks for people who live in aged care, but in the main if you are homebound/bedridden and you live in the community, then the healthcare system treats you as if you do not exist and should not exist.
In the cases where a homebound/bedridden person is well accommodated, it is not because the healthcare system is working well. It is almost exclusively because someone has gone deliberately out of their way to help, and they will probably not be adequately compensated by Medicare or any other government system for doing so.”
You can download Ricky’s report, entitled “Just Invisible: Medical Access Issues for Homebound/Bedridden People” (or the executive summary, for those unable to read the entire report) from her website:
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