End stage kidney disease requires dialysis as a long-term treatment. Dialysis is available as a self-managed home therapy or in a centre (dialysis unit) where health professionals perform the dialysis.
The need to travel to centre-based dialysis is a major hurdle for many Australians, particularly for elderly people and those with poor social networks or who live great distances from dialysis units.
Unlike patients who may travel every now and again for treatments of other illnesses, people who need centre-based dialysis must travel regularly – at least three times a week, every week – to stay alive.
Such regular treatments often mean reduced working hours or unemployment, an added burden on top of the other medical costs associated with dialysis.
It’s very clear that the level of financial reimbursement available to dialysis patients for travel can be a significant factor in their ongoing financial viability.
We are strongly advocating for increased transport subsidies for people on dialysis.
You can see our recent report to the Queensland Government on this issue, and other submissions, on this issue here.
Increased electricity costs have an impact on people with end stage kidney disease who choose to begin, or continue with, home dialysis, as it creates a significant financial burden.
We have undertaken extensive analysis of the out-of-pocket costs of electricity in most states and territories in Australia.
The research shows that current subsidies for power usage for people on home dialysis are inadequate. This is leading to a significant financial burden for those on home dialysis, which is particularly inequitable as those who undertake dialysis in-centre are not subject to these costs.
To alleviate this burden, and encourage an increased uptake of home dialysis for those who it is appropriate, Kidney Health Australia is strongly advocating for increased electricity rebates.
The analysis reports can be viewed here.