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Activities of Daily Living

The section of the ACFI assessment that looks at a person’s need for support in day to day life. The ratings are based on the level of support required with eating, mobility, bathing, getting dressed, and toileting.


An entry into aged care services. People who enter residential aged care or home care are counted as an admission on each entry to that care type. There are two types of admission to residential care: permanent admission and respite admission.

aged care

Personal and/or nursing care that supports older people to stay as independent and healthy as they can. This care is delivered primarily in residential facilities and through care visits to the home.

Aged Care Act 1997

The Commonwealth legislation that sets out the framework for Government funding and service provision of aged care.

Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

A multidisciplinary team of health professionals that determines eligibility for government-subsidised residential aged care, home care packages, and transition care. ACATs assess the type and level of care that people require. An ACAT may include a doctor, nurse, social worker and/or other health professionals. In Victoria, ACAT is known as Aged Care Assessment Services (ACAS).

Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI)

A tool used to assess the care needs of people in permanent residential aged care and allocate subsidies to residential aged care services. As a resource allocation tool, it focuses on those care needs that contribute most to the cost of care. ACFI records are the basis of the care needs information in GEN.

Aged Care Planning Region (ACPR)

Geographic regions used by the Australian Government in the planning process to determine the distribution and types of aged care places to be made available across Australia.


Can refer to either:
  1. Assessment of eligibility for subsidised aged care by an Aged Care Assessment Team.
  2. Assessment of care needs in permanent residential aged care using the Aged Care Funding Instrument.

assessment and information services

Programs funded by the Department of Health to provide the services of Aged Care Assessment Teams and information services for people thinking about using aged care.

average length of stay

The average length of stay for a group of people. It is calculated by adding up all the days of care and dividing by the number of periods of care.


care domain

The three areas of care needs that are assessed in the ACFI record, namely: Activities of Daily Living, Cognition and Behaviour, and Complex Health Care.

care level

Home Care Packages are provided with varying levels of support, namely: Level 1 (for basic needs), Level 2 (low needs), Level 3 (intermediate needs), and Level 4 (high needs).

care need rating

The rating of a person’s need for support in an ACFI assessment. The ratings are: high, medium, low and nil. A rating is produced for each of the 3 care domains.


The national Census of Population and Housing which provides a count of the population on one night. The Census is undertaken each 5 years by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The census informs the target population for aged care services and the service provision ratio. It also informs basic demographic characteristics of people in a particular geography.

Cognition and Behaviour

The section of the ACFI assessment that looks at a person’s care needs in relation to cognitive skills and their behaviours. The ratings are based on assessments of cognitive impairments such as loss of memory, and on people’s behavioural patterns such as wandering away from their suitable place of care.

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP)

Entry-level support services for older people so that they can continue to live independently at home. This program, effective from 1 July 2015, integrates various services previously providing basic home support (including the Commonwealth Home and Community Care program, National Respite for Carers, Day Therapy Centres and Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged). From 1 July 2018, the Home and Community Care program in Western Australia will transition to the CHSP.

Complex Health Care

The section of the ACFI assessment that looks at medical needs. The ratings are based on a person’s usual requirements (not those after a period of specific illness), such as the provision of drugs and other medical procedures.

core activity need for assistance

Self-reported information from the Census (conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) recording whether a person needs help with daily activities, such as eating, moving about, and communicating.

country of birth

The country in which a person was born. In GEN, these countries have been grouped into: Australia; other English-speaking countries (Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, the UK, and the USA); and non-English speaking countries (all other countries).



A group of medical conditions associated with ongoing decline of the brain and its abilities. In GEN, information about people with dementia in permanent residential aged care comes from the ACFI assessment records.


Mental health condition that is recorded in the ACFI assessment if diagnosed by a doctor.  Includes affective (mood) disorders, bipolar disorder, and related conditions.

discharge reason

The reason for an exit from aged care services. The reasons recorded for leaving aged care are: death, going to hospital, transferring to another care facility or another program (depending on which program a person is leaving), returning home, and other reasons.


emergency department (ED) presentation

The presentation of a patient at an emergency department occurs following the arrival of the patient at the emergency department. It is the earliest occasion of being registered clerically, or triaged. The full stay is the period between when a patient presents at an emergency department, and when that person is recorded as having physically departed the emergency department.


A person leaving an aged care service. Also known as ‘discharge’. The discharge reason is recorded. When a person leaves aged care services, the time that they had spent receiving that type of care is added up to calculate the length of stay.


flexible care

An aged care stream that addresses people's needs, in either a residential or home care setting, in ways other than the care provided through the mainstream residential and home care programs. Flexible care programs include Multi-Purpose Services, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program, and Innovative Pool. GEN contains information on the places available in these flexible care programs, but does not currently report on the people using these services. Some publications also include transition care and short-term restorative care under the term ‘flexible care.’


general practitioner (GP)

A medical practitioner who provides comprehensive and continuing care to patients and their families in the community.

government organisation

An organisation type that manages aged care services. This includes state government, territory government, and local government organisations.

GP attendance

A GP attendance is an unreferred patient-doctor encounter (with Medicare funding benefits), such as a visit, consultation and attendance (including a video conference) with a medical practitioner who has been recognised as a general practitioner for the purposes of Medicare benefits.


Home and Community Care (HACC)

A program that provides entry-level support for older people in their homes. This program has been incorporated into the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) in most states and territories, but is operative in Western Australia until 1 July 2018. GEN reports on government spending on the HACC program, but has no data on its services and recipients.

home care

Support and care services given to older people in their own homes. Services are offered in packages of care, which can consist of personal care and domestic support, as well as clinical and allied health services. There are four levels of care to support those with basic (Level 1), low (Level 2), intermediate (Level 3), and high (Level 4) care needs. Home Care Packages were started in 2013, combining previous programs, namely: Community Aged Care Package (CACP), Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH), and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD).

home support

Entry-level support for older people in their homes, consisting of the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), and in Western Australia the Home and Community Care Program (HACC).

hospital separation

Episodes of care for admitted patients start with the formal admission process and end with the formal separation process. Only completed episodes of care for the reference period are reported on GEN. These can be total hospital stays (from admission to discharge, transfer or death), or portions of hospital stays (beginning or ending in a change of care type within the hospital system, for example, from acute care to rehabilitation, rather than entering or leaving the hospital system).


Indigenous status

Aged care recipients who identify as being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin or being of non-Indigenous origin.


length of stay

The time spent in the care service from which a person leaves, calculated when they leave.


mainstream aged care

An aged care stream that includes both types of residential aged care (permanent and respite), as well as Home Care Packages. Mainstream care does not include places in flexible care, namely those within Transition Care, Innovative Care, Multi-Purpose Services (MPS), and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program. Some publications refer to places in mainstream aged care as 'non-flexible places.'


A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of personal medical services for all Australians and aims to help them afford medical care. The Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) is the listing of the Medicare services subsidised by the Australian Government. The schedule is part of the wider Medicare Benefits Scheme.

Multi-Purpose Service

Services in regional, rural and remote areas, providing access to a mix of aged care, health, and community services.

My Aged Care

A program that provides information for people considering using aged care services, made up of the My Aged Care website and My Aged Care contact centre (1800 200 422).


not-for-profit organisation

An organisation type that manages aged care services. This includes charities, religious organisations and community-based organisations.


occupancy rate

Total number of days that all people spent in a type of aged care over a year, divided by the total number of places that were available in that type of care over the year.

older people

Generally defined as all people (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous) aged 65 and over, plus Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64 years. However, for planning and assessing the places in aged care, the population of people aged 70 and over is considered.

organisation type

The category of organisation that manages an aged care service. In GEN, these are classified as not-for-profit, government, and private organisations.

overnight separation

A patient who, following a clinical decision, receives hospital treatment for a minimum of 1 night (that is, who is admitted to and separated from the hospital on different dates).



The places or ‘beds’ in Australian Government-funded aged care services. These services include permanent or respite residential aged care, Home Care Packages, and transition care. When these places are counted they can be either occupied by an approved care recipient, or available to be occupied.

permanent admission

People who enter a residential aged care facility for long-term care, making it their ongoing place of residence.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)

A national, government-funded scheme that subsidises the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical drugs for all Australians to help them afford standard medications. The Schedule of Pharmaceutical Benefits lists all the medicinal products available under the PBS and explains the uses for which they can be subsidised. Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS) provides a range of pharmaceuticals and wound dressings at a concessional rate for the treatment of eligible veterans, war widows/widowers, and their dependants. 

personal care

Services to assist with everyday tasks such as bathing and getting dressed, assistance with eating, going to the toilet, grooming, getting in and out of bed, and moving about.

preferred language

Language that a person using aged care services prefers to communicate in. If a person knows more than one language, their preferred language when receiving care is recorded. In GEN, preferred languages are grouped into English and other languages.

primary care services

These are health care services delivered in many settings, such as general practices, community health centres, Aboriginal health services and allied health practices (for example, physiotherapy, dietetic and chiropractic practices) and come under numerous funding arrangements. The data source used on GEN is limited to Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) claims; specialist services are included as part of ‘primary health care’ here but these may be better described as ‘secondary health care’ (generally people are referred to them by primary health care providers). 

private organisation

An organisation type that manages aged care services. This includes publicly listed companies and organisations that are registered as private companies.

program type

The program under which a place in aged care is funded (home support, home care, residential care, transition care, short-term restorative care, Multi-Purpose Service, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Program, and Innovative pool).



Any person who receives care and support, either in their own home or in a residential aged care facility.


A classification of Australian geography developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. GEN uses 5 categories of remoteness: Major Cities, Inner Regional, Outer Regional, Remote, and Very Remote.

residential aged care service

A facility that provides residential care. The service must meet specified standards in the quality of the built environment, care, and staffing levels in accordance with the Aged Care Act 1997. Some people refer to these services as ‘nursing homes.’

residential care

A program that provides personal and/or nursing care to people in a residential aged care facility. As part of the service, people are also provided with meals and accommodation, including cleaning services, furniture and equipment.


An alternative care arrangement for dependent people living in the community, giving people—or their carers—a short break from their usual care arrangements. Friends, family or the community may provide informal respite. Formal respite services are provided by residential aged care facilities and by the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. Residential respite care requires ACAT approval, and generally is allocated at the rate of 63 days per person per financial year.


same-day separation

A patient who is admitted to hospital and separated on the same date.


A care facility that provides aged care, such as a residential aged care service or an outlet that delivers home care. The Australian government provides funding for those services that it has approved. These services have to follow the standards and Quality of Care Principles set out in the Aged Care Act 1997.

short-term restorative care

An early intervention program that aims to delay admission into residential care or home care. Care is provided for up to 56 days in a coordinated package of services, which can be delivered in a residential setting, the home, or a combination of both. The first 400 places in this program were allocated across Australia in February 2017. GEN reports on the places in this program, but currently has no data on people using short-term restorative care.


A doctor who has completed advanced education and clinical training in a specific area of medicine. In many cases, a formal referral is required for an individual to be able to access the recommended specialist service. Specialists may work in private clinics or within the hospital system or across different settings. 

specialist attendance

A referred patient-doctor encounter (with Medicare funding benefits), such as a visit, consultation and attendance (including a video conference) with a medical practitioner who has been recognised as a specialist or consultant physician for the purposes of Medicare benefits.


target population

The target population for aged care services is all people aged 65 and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64. When places in aged care services are funded and managed, a more general target population is used, which is all people aged 70 and over.

transition care

On discharge from hospital, eligible people can receive rehabilitation care and support services either in a residential aged care facility or at home to assist in their recovery and rehabilitation. To receive transition care, an ACAT must assess a person as otherwise eligible for residential aged care. Generally, care is provided for a maximum of 84 days per person per financial year.


usage rate

The number of people in aged care services for every 1,000 people in a comparable general population. In most cases, this population is the target population for aged care services. Sometimes the target population for calculating a usage rate can be more specific, such as the people of a certain age group in a particular region.


Workforce and service improvement

Programs funded by the Department of Health to monitor and improve the quality of aged care service delivery and the training of aged care staff.