I applaud the allocations that the 2017 Bain Estate funds went too. All projects are very worthy causes toward enhancing our community, but it is now time to also consider the needs of our older residents, of whom make up a significant part of our shire demographic.
The results of the 2016 Census show that our shire has 169 residents in the 60 - 85 age bracket, which equates to 25.1% of our shires total population. Furthermore, statistics show Australia wide, 90% of 65 years+ choose to live in the community of their choice to live closer to family, to stay in the place they love and are most familiar with (safety, friends, familiar services and people) and stay connected to their community (volunteer/clubs/committees).
As this is an area of our population that is growing, so to do the health needs and services of this demographic. While our local health services cater for many of our general health needs, specialist services and appointment can only be accessed at a larger regional centre or in Perth. With an ageing population, an individual driving or via public transport to and from specialist appointments and services can be difficult, expensive and overwhelming. The alternate is, our elderly having to leave our Shire just to be closer to specialist health services, which is emotionally and financially burdensome for the individual and unhealthy for our community to lose our elderly.
This is where the Patient Car Transport proposal could provide some of the support for the elderly of our Shire to remain living here.
I acknowledge that Narrogin has an excellent CAT Service (Car Assisted Transport Service) available that we can link into, but it’s a long day for an elderly person. To undertake day trips, the Narrogin CAT service departs Narrogin at 7.00am, arriving back to Narrogin at 6/6.30pm at night. Our 3 residents would need to depart home at 5.30am to meet the CAT service and arrive home at 7.30/8pm to complete this trip. The extra three hours required for us to get to Narrogin, complete the paperwork before the trip begins and return home again makes for a long a day for an elderly, sick person to manage.
The TransWA buses are another transport option but also have problems for an elderly person and requires additional organisation for one to manage. The inflexibility of the bus timetable, the need to organise transport to and from the bus terminal and around your medical appointment, cost of additional transport and accommodation and the stress of having to navigate an unfamiliar area, adds more pressure to this specialist appointment both emotionally and financially. For example if your appointment is on a Wednesday at 1pm in Perth, you will need to catch the Monday TransWA bus to make that appointment to return home to Dumbleyung on Friday, an additional 4 days of accommodation and expenses when this could be achieved as an overnight trip with our own Patient Car Transport.
We need a service for our towns that suits our needs, designed by our residents and councillors, independent of HACC federal government constraints and financial availability.
For this proposal, I would envisage that the Shire of Dumbleyung would own the car (and have flexibility of using it) and our local Dumbleyung St John Ambulance sub centre will house the car on their premises. Those needing to use the service would be eligible for PATS (Patient Assisted Travel Scheme) which would be reimbursed to the Shire, along with additional funds to cover the needs of the volunteer driver.
The drivers would come from a volunteer base and if the Narrogin CAT policy was followed, the driver would be able to visit friends, relatives or conduct personal business while waiting for their client. Our plan would need to factor in overnight accommodation for Perth trips, due to OHS standards for drivers and wear and tear on the client. As part of this proposal we are also seeking prospective volunteer drivers.
To some, this proposal of a Patient Transport Car may seem a luxury. I understand this. However we are fortunate to have the luxury of the Bain Estate Future Fund with its due consideration to health and the opportunity to retain our older residents and retirees who value living here because of their community connection, feeling safe and being close to family and friends.
If you agree with this proposal and/or would like to become a volunteer driver could you please indicate by ticking the box below or by contacting Bob Bray, Kaye Cook or Helen Gooding.
I agree with the proposal for a Patient Transport Car
I, _______________________________ am interested in becoming a driver for the Patient Transport Car proposal ___/___/2018
I _____________________________ anticipate that I could require the use of this service. (please tick below)
o In the near Future
Bob Bray M: 0407 075 777
Kaye Cook P: (08) 9864 6062 or M: 0428 993 445
Helen Gooding P: (08) 9863 4388 or M: 0427 530 204
Please return your form to the Dumbleyung CRC or Kukerin General Store by Monday 21st May 2018.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I greatly appreciate your time.
Article by B Bray