Cerebral palsy costs $2.4b a year: study

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Source : The West

6th August 2008, 14:21 WST

The crippling condition cerebral palsy costs Australia $2.4 billion a year in health care, lost productivity and premature death, a new report shows.

An Access Economics report commissioned by Cerebral Palsy Australia has estimated there are 33,800 Australians living with cerebral palsy, a life-long condition that affects muscle control.

The report puts the financial cost of the disease at $1.47 billion, about $43,500 for each patient, and third of which the individual sufferer must foot themselves.

The total cost climbs to $2.4 billion when the value of lost wellbeing, like disability and premature death, is added to the bill.

"The analysis underscores the need for strategies in Australia to address cerebral palsy and its impacts, including research, better diagnosis and early intervention," said Access Economics director Lynne Pezzullo.

Ms Pezzullo said employment initiatives, policies to assist carers, appropriate accommodation options and financing reforms were other key issues for area.

Diana Heggie, of Cerebral Palsy Australia, said the research crystallised a number of key challenges facing the sector.

"From day to day, employment is our number one challenge," Ms Heggie said.

"Appropriate employment opportunities that provide the flexibility our clients need are critical to the independence of our clients, which improves quality of life."

She said the industry was also challenged by the task of attracting and retaining staff in carer roles, which have traditionally offered poor recognition and remuneration.

"The sector also faces accommodation challenges for people with disabilities," Ms Heggie said.

"As the population continues to age, adults with disabilities who have been cared for their entire lives by their parents will need alternative accommodation as their parents leave the family home requiring care for themselves."

The report was launched on Wednesday by federal parliamentary secretary for disabilities and children's services Bill Shorten, who said "this government is very much committed to looking for ways to ease the burden and improve the quality of life of our most marginalised members of society".


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