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Explore admissions into aged care

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

Average time between assessment and entry to aged care has increased over the last 2 years

ACAT reassessments were common before 2014 because assessments were often limited by time or level of care. Following reforms in 2013–14, approvals for care generally no longer expire. This has reduced the number of assessments conducted and impacted the average time for entry to aged care.

Over the last two years, the number of assessments has reduced. Over the same period, the average time between assessment and entry to care has increased by 87% for residential care, and 9% for home care. This can be seen in the graph below on a national or state/territory basis.

Entries to home care have increased by 89% over the last 7 years

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 other community care programs into home care packages. For more information on the types of care, see Services and places in aged care.

  • In 2015–16, more than 44,000 aged care entries were for home care, representing 21% of all aged care entries.

  • While only 2% received basic care, around 61% entered for low care, 10% for intermediate and 27% for high.

  • Entries have increased by 89% over the last 7 years, partly reflecting the increased number of home care packages.

Does entry to home care vary by age and sex?

Nationally, in 2015–16:

  • The average age of entry to home care was 82 years.

  • The number of entries for people aged 85 years and over has almost doubled over the last six years.

  • The majority of people entering home care were aged 75 years and over (80%)—just over 3% of entries were people aged under 65 years.

  • The majority of people entering home care were women (64%), and this proportion increased with age, reflecting the longer average life expectancy for women.   

Entries to residential aged care have increased by 11% over the last 5 years

There are two types of care provided in residential aged care facilities: long-term permanent residential care, and short-term respite care. For more information on the types of care, see Services and places in aged care.

  • More than 145,000 aged care entries in 2015–16 were for residential aged care, representing 68% of all entries to aged care in that year.

  • Entries were evenly spread between permanent and respite care.

  • The Australian Capital Territory had the highest rate of entry to permanent residential aged care with 23 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 7 per 1,000.

  • South Australia had the highest rate of respite entry at 26 per 1,000 of the target population, whereas Western Australia had the lowest rate at 11 per 1,000.

  • Over the last 5 years, entries for respite care have increased by 19%, and permanent residential aged care entries have increased by 4%.

Does entry to residential care vary by age and sex?

Nationally, in 2015–16:

  • The average age of entry to permanent care was 84 years, and 83 years for respite care.

  • The majority of people entering residential care were aged 75 years and over (85%), and just under 4% of entries were people aged under 65 years.

  • The number of people aged 85 years and over entering residential aged care increased by 14% over the last 8 years.

  • The majority of people entering residential aged care were women (60%), and this proportion increased with age, reflecting the longer average life expectancy for women.

  • Men, however, represented the majority of entries (54%) of people aged under 70 years. 

Transition care represented 11% of all aged care entries in 2015–16

Transition care aims to return people to independent life at home following a hospital stay, and is normally provided for up to 84 days per year. For more information on the types of care see Services and places in aged care.

In 2015–16:

  • There were more than 24,000 entries to transition care, which represented 11% of aged care entries that year.

  • The rate of entry was 6 per 1,000 of the target population, and this has remained relatively steady over the last five years.

  • Victoria had the highest rate of entries at 7 per 1,000 of the target population.

Do people access aged care differently in different areas?

Key findings on aged care entries:

  • Major cities had the highest rate of entries for people from a non-English speaking country of birth.

  • Around 33% of home care entries in remote and very remote areas were for people who spoke a language other than English at home.

  • Less than 1% of entries for residential care were for people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, compared with 3% of people whose Indigenous status was recorded for admissions to home care.

  • In remote and very remote areas, Indigenous people represent half of all entries to home care, and 31% of entries for permanent residential care.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on average entered aged care more than 10 years earlier than non-Indigenous people, reflecting the younger age structure of the Indigenous population.