Australians in their last year of life spend 14 times as much on key health services than other Australians do, according to a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), Canberra Weekly reports.
The report, The last year of life: patterns in health service use and expenditure, is the first-ever comprehensive examination of health services used by Australians in the final 12 months of life and of the cost of those services to the health system.
The AIHW used deidentified data in the National Integrated Health Services Information Analyses Asset (NIHSI AA) to look at hospital admissions, emergency department presentations, services provided under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), and prescriptions supplied under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for people in their final 12 months of life.
“More than 161,000 people died in Australia in 2020, and each death has wide-reaching impacts on families, friends, and communities,” AIHW spokesperson Richard Juckes said.
“Understanding how people interact with the Australian health system in the period leading up to death provides vital information on health care provision. This information is essential to assess and evaluate health service planning and policy.”
Of the 1.14 million people who died between 1 July 2010 and 31 December 2016, 97 per cent used at least one of the studied health services in their last year of life. A total estimated cost of $296.1 billion was spent on these services during this time; 8 per cent ($23.6 billion) of the total cost was for people in their last year of life.
Overall, the average annual health service cost per person for people in their last year of life was 14 times as high as for those not in the last year of life ($24,000 and $1,700 respectively).
On average, people who died used more of these health services in their last year of life than the rest of the population used over a 12-month period.
Australians’ health spending surges in last year of life (Canberra Weekly)
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