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Explore admissions into aged care

This page is updated with the latest available data at 30 June 2017. You can download data directly from the visualisations by clicking in the graph area and using the 'download' menu.

On this page you can explore more information, facts and figures about people entering residential aged care and home care services. You can filter the information in the graphs below to look at different aspects.

Average time between assessment and entry to residential care has increased

The average time between approval and entry into permanent residential aged care has been increasing over the last 4 years. A range of factors may be influencing this, including the 2013–14 reforms that removed the expiry of assessment approvals. Conversely, the average time between approval and entry to home care has remained steady, except for a slight increase in 2015–16. More information on home care are available in the home care data reports.

A bar chart shows the median elapsed time in days between approval for residential care or home care and entry into that care type, by state and year. Elapsed times have increased for residential care from 45 days in 2013–14 to 105 in 2016–17, and remained steady for home care at 67 days in both years. The chart shows that the patterns were similar for most states.

Admissions to home care have continued to increase

Home care packages are available at 4 levels of care, offering increasing support to those with basic (Level 1), low (Level 2), intermediate (Level 3), or high (Level 4) care needs. This system was introduced in 2013–14 to incorporate existing community-based aged care programs into home care packages. For more information on the types of care, see Services and places in aged care.

  • In 2016–17, there were more than 42,000 entries into home care.
  • While only 2% were admissions to basic care, around 63% entered for low care, 14% for intermediate and 22% for high care.
  • In general, entries to home care have continued to increase over the last decade, rising by 72% between 2007–08 and 2016–17. This trend of increasing entries partly reflects the increased number of home care packages available.
A stacked bar chart shows the number of admissions into home care by level (1–4) and year for the past 10 years. The overall number of admissions have increased from 25,000 in 2007–08 to 42,000 in 2016–17, with most of the increase coming from higher levels of care. Admissions for level 1 care remained steady at 2–3% of overall admissions between 2013–14 and 2016–17, while admissions for level 3 increased from 3% to 14%. Level 2 and 4 accounted for the highest proportion of admissions in each year. The chart also shows that admissions for level 4 care almost doubled in 10 years.

Does entry to aged care services vary by age and sex?

Nationally, in 2016–17:

  • The majority of people entering permanent residential aged care were aged 75 years and over (86%), and just under 4% of entries were people aged under 65 years.

  • Overall the majority of people entering residential care were women (59%), and this proportion increased with age, reflecting the longer average life expectancy for women.

  • However, the majority of people entering residential care at younger ages were male, with men representing 56% of entries among people aged under 70 years.

  • In general, people entered home care at a younger age than permanent residential care, but the majority of people entering home care were still aged 75 years and over (79%)—just over 3% of entries were people aged under 65 years.

Over the last 10 years, entry to aged care has tended to take place later in life.

  • In 2007–08, people aged 85 years and over made up 49% of entries to permanent residential care. In 2016–17, this proportion had increased to 53%.

  • The age group with the highest proportion of entries to home care in 2007–08 was the 80–84 age group, representing 25% of male admissions and 27% of female admissions. In 2016–17, the 85–89 age group was the most common age for admission, with 25% of male admissions and 24% of female admissions.

A pyramid chart shows the proportion of admissions for permanent residential care and home care, by sex, 5-year age group and year. In each year, people aged 85–89 represented the largest proportion of admissions into permanent residential aged care for both sexes (around 1 in 4 admissions for men and under 1 in 3 for women were in this age group). The chart also shows that for home care, the pyramid is flatter—the age groups 80–84 and 85–89 represented the largest proportions of admissions in each year (in all, 1 in 2 admissions for both men and women were by people in these age groups).

Entries to aged care services have increased in line with growth of the population

While admissions into aged care have increased over recent years (see Admissions into aged care), the older population has also increased.

  • In 2016–17, there were 18.8 admissions into permanent residential care per 1,000 people in the target population (all people aged 65 and over, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64). The rate for respite residential care was 19.3 admissions per 1,000 people, for home care 10.9, and for transition care 6.4.

  • Between 2010–11 and 2016–17, the rate of admissions for home care increased from 9.0 to 10.9 admissions per 1,000 people in the target population. The rate of admissions for transition care similarly increased from 5.7 to 6.4.

  • Between 2010–11 and 2016–17, the rate of admissions for both permanent and residential aged care decreased slightly (from 22.0 to 18.8 for permanent care, and from 19.6 to 19.3 for respite care).

Rates of entry to aged care services vary between the states and territories:

  • In 2016–17, the Australian Capital Territory had the highest rate of admissions to permanent residential aged care, with 20.1 people per 1,000 of the target population (all people aged 65 years and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64 years), whereas the Northern Territory had the lowest rate at 5.1 per 1,000.

  • South Australia had the highest rate of respite entry at 26.7 per 1,000 of the target population, whereas Western Australia had the lowest rate at 10.1 per 1,000. The Australian Capital Territory had the highest rate of entry to home care services (15.0 per 1,000 people), while Victoria and Tasmania had the lowest rate (8.9 per 1,000 people).

  • Rates of admission to transition care varied less, with the highest being South Australia (7.3 per 1,000 people) and the lowest the Northern Territory (4.9 per 1,000 people).

A bar chart shows the rate of admissions into permanent residential care, respite residential care, home care or transition care by 1,000 people in the aged care target population, by state and year. The overall rate of admissions into each care type was steady between 2007–08 and 2016–17, but varied between states.

Do people access aged care differently in different areas?

The rate at which older people enter aged care varies across Australia. The map below shows the rate of entries to aged care per 1,000 people in the target population (all people aged 65 years and over, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64 years) by Aged Care Planning Region (ACPR) or Primary Health Network (PHN).

  • The rate of admissions to permanent residential care is higher in urban areas of Australia, whereas the rates of admissions to home care are more evenly spread across the country.

  • Admissions of younger people into aged care occur at higher rates in rural and regional areas of Australia. With increasing age, the rate of admissions becomes higher in more urban areas.

  • The number of admissions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people per 1,000 of the target population is higher in the north and west of Australia.

  • Admissions of people who prefer to speak languages other than English and who were born in non-English speaking countries are generally more prevalent in urban areas. However, some remote regions also have high rates of admissions of people who speak languages other than English.

A map of Australia shows the rate of admissions into permanent residential care or home care for 2016–17 per 1,000 people in the aged care target population. The map allows the user to filter the data by characteristics such as level of geography, aged care service type, age group, sex, Indigenous status, preferred language and country of birth.