Home care program would benefit patients

CYSTIC fibrosis sufferer Meg Willes has thrown her support behind the state Liberals' plan to reintroduce the Hospital in the Home program in Launceston.

The program was scrapped in January 2012 after being run by the Launceston General Hospital for nearly 20 years.

The system was designed to help people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cancer and those who need regular treatment for infections.

Nurses attended patients at their homes to check intravenous antibiotics or other medication and dress infections to avoid patients being hospitalised.

Axing the program was part of the Launceston General Hospital's cost-cutting measures to meet a $28 million budget-saving demand from the state government.

The annual cost of the Hospital in the Home Service was estimated to be about $350,000, which included staff, transport, consumables and pharmaceuticals.

The Liberals will today announce $3 million worth of funding aimed at reinvigorating home and community-based care programs including Hospital in the Home.

The Liberal Party argues hospital prevention programs would deliver better patient outcomes and reduce hospitalisation rates and the lengths of hospital stays.

Miss Willes, of West Launceston, said contracting a lung infection soon after the Hospital in the Home service had been disbanded was an incredibly stressful experience.

``It was just a routine thing, which I didn't need to be in hospital for, I just needed the drugs to knock it on the head,'' she said.

``I was in the first week of my hairdressing apprenticeship; had I been working for anybody other than my mum, I probably would have been out of a job.''

Miss Willes said a hospital bed was reserved for two weeks to accommodate her multiple daily visits.

``I wanted nothing more than to stay at home,'' she said. 

``Hospitals are filled with other bacteria and germs, which can be really dangerous for people with cystic fibrosis.''

Miss Willes said reinstating the program would give her a huge sense of relief.

``For people in my situation who know they are going to use the system, it will give us hope to know we can do normal things like work, have a career and start a family,'' she said.

``It would be great to know that I don't have to get carted into hospital every time something goes slightly pear-shaped.''

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