The cost for families when a loved one experiences a stroke in Australia

The cost for families when a loved one experiences a stroke in Australia

As with any aging population the incidence of stroke is also likely to rise. This places an increased strain on the patient’s family, the local healthcare system as well as community resources available. While acute hospitalization along with nursing home care are touted as the biggest cost factors of the process, stroke patients also have to incur various other expenses that add to the cost of caring for an individual with a stroke.

In Australia the health system costs for stroke are partly borne by the Australian government, some by the state, territory and local governments and the remaining is contributed by individuals and others in society. According to a 2012 report by the AIHW 42.7% of the total expenditure is paid for by the federal government, another 26.4% by the state or territory governments with individuals paying 18.3% and others in society funding the remaining 12.6% of the expenses.

In terms of Australian dollars, this total comes to 881 million with 376 million contributed by the federal government, and another 233 million given by the state or territory governments. Based on figures given by the same report individuals put in 161 million from their own pockets while others in society submitted the remaining 111 million.

For many stroke patients most of the expenses are faced during the first year after the stroke when individuals need acute hospitalization, inpatient rehabilitation and sometimes nursing home care. Remaining expenses are spread out for treatment and informal health care for the rest of their lives.

Due to their condition stroke patients may not be able to work full time.

As a result productivity losses are also incurred. These losses will be incurred by different persons such as the employer for contributions to compensation payouts or premiums for replacement workers, the patient themselves with reduced income for working fewer hours or disability compensation, the government for higher welfare payments and the society as a whole for compensation payments.

Survey results revealed that for people who suffered from stroke and were also in the working age bracket, productivity losses due to reduced employment were estimated at $975 million in 2012. For others who faced higher absenteeism from work due to their condition, the productivity losses came to about $1.05 billion while for stroke sufferers who catered lower productivity while at work, also known as presenteeism, the cost was estimated at $0.7 billion.

Stroke suffers who faced premature death in the same year, caused lost productivity losses estimates to reach $0.2 billion. With the issue of premature death, the issue of searching for new recruits and replacement workers also arises, the cost of which was estimated at $0.43 million.

In addition, carers who are needed to look after the individuals may also have to cut down hours or completely forego their own career to stay at home and provide informal care. 2012 figures reveal this loss at $222 million for Australia. Some patients may be in need of assistive aids or home modifications, the cost of which will need to be paid mostly out of their own pockets. For the same year these associated costs were estimated at $388 million.


1) The economic impact of stroke in Australia:

2) Cost of a critical illness:

3) Out of pocket costs to stroke patients during the first year after stroke – results from the North East Melbourne stroke incidence study:

4) Cost of Stroke in Australia From a Societal Perspective- Results From the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS):