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People leaving aged care

This page is updated with the latest available data at 30 June 2018. You can download data directly from the visualisations by clicking in the graph area and using the 'download' menu.

Once people have finished using an aged care service, they are ‘discharged’, and information on their reasons for leaving care and how long they were in care are recorded. This section reports on such exits from residential care and home care.

2.5 years was the average time that people who left permanent residential care in 2017–18 had stayed for.
26 days was the average time that people who left respite care in 2017–18 had stayed for.
83% of exits from permanent residential care in 2017–18 were due to death.
56% of people who left home care in 2017–18 went to residential care.
In 2017–18:
  • There were almost 199,000 exits from residential aged care, home care and transition care.
  • The majority of exits were people leaving residential aged care (148,500), followed by home care (25,700), and transition care (24,700).
  • People spent an average of almost 2 and a half years in permanent residential aged care, whereas people in respite care stayed for an average of just under 1 month (26 days).
  • People spent an average of just over 2 years in home care.
  • More than 80% of exits from permanent residential care were due to death, compared with 30% from home care.
  • Around 56% of people who left home care entered residential care, and 10% of people who left permanent residential care moved to a different facility.

Why do people leave aged care?

People leave aged care for a number of different reasons, including moving to another service, going to hospital, returning to the community, or death. In each of these cases, they are counted as a discharge (also termed ‘exit’) every time they leave care (excluding short periods of leave, such as for family visits or hospital stays).

The time that people spend in care and the reasons they leave vary by program type, but can be influenced by factors such as age, sex and care needs. Sometimes people leave aged care but return later in the year or after many years.

A pie chart shows exits from permanent residential care by discharge reason and year. Around 70% exits were due to death in 2008–09, rising to around 80% by 2017–18. The chart also shows that at the same time, exits due to moves to other residential care decreased from 19% to 10%.

In the next section, explore more about the reasons people leave residential aged care or home care, their average length of stay in care, and how exits vary by program type.