A game changer at the recent Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative medicine 2016 Conference (#ANZSPM16) was Dr Merryn Gott’s plenary presentation on the hidden costs of caring. Little is known about the financial impact of caring for people at the end of life.
She detailed some powerful anecdotes, including the story of two sisters whose mother lay dying in a hospital. The cost of parking was prohibitive and the daughters took it in turns to sit in the car watching out for the parking inspector. When their mother died, only one of the daughters was there; the other was in the car.
I confess I had not thought about how if you are caring for a family member, you are unable to fulfil the requirements for income support.
Merryn encouraged us not to forget the costs to the family of caring in the push to shift end of life care from hospital to home. The costs of caring fall disproportionally to women and can include not only lost income but also pharmaceuticals, parking, higher utility bills, new clothes when weight is lost, more bedding, and costs of hosting family and friends. There is lack of evidence about the “last taboo” – the cost of caring.
Join the team from @palliverse for the first #ANZSPM16 post-Conference tweet chat on “The cost of caring”, featuring special guest @merryngott. The tweet chat will be moderated by Dr James Jap @japmanforever on Wednesday 5th October at
- 4pm AWST (Perth)
- 6pm AEST (Brisbane)
- 6:30pm ACDT (Adelaide)
- 7pm AEDT (Sydney)
- 9pm NZDT (Auckland)
- (See here for other times)
Carers and patients are especially welcome, as well as health professionals, researchers, policymakers and interested community members!
If you are new to twitter and tweet chats, check out our tutorial here!
Tweet chat schedule & topics
Welcome & introductions
T1 Many people wish to be cared for at home at the end of their life. How can this affect their carers, family & friends financially?
T2 What “hidden costs” are faced by families & friends providing palliative care?
T3 Do you think health professionals are aware of the impact of costs?
T4 How can we help carers, families & friends meet some of the costs associated with providing palliative care?