It is alarming that thousands of people with Covid are receiving care under the NSW’s Hospital in the Home program.
In 1990s, Hospital in the Home was part of a strategy to provide patients with greater healthcare options by incorporating home-based care in an episode of acute care. This was a time in which values such as self-reliance, family responsibility and individualism were being reasserted. It transferred caring responsibilities from trained professionals to unqualified family members, most often women.
Although a health professional may visit each day, a family member is expected to undertake most of the ‘caring duties’. Do these family members have skills to care for patients with Covid? Will families recognise when oxygen levels become dangerously low?
First published in The Saturday Paper on 11 September 2021