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Admissions into aged care

This page has been updated with the latest data available at 30 June 2019. You can download data directly from the visualisations by clicking in the graph area and using the 'download' menu.

The choice of aged care services is an important and sensitive decision for many older Australians. There are a range of services available to support people’s varying personal and health circumstances. People are counted as an ‘’admission’ to aged care when they start using a service, and if a person leaves care (excluding short periods of leave), they are counted again if they return.

Note that data for Home Care Packages admissions for the years 2009–10 to 2017–18 have been revised from previous releases due to data quality improvement.
Over half of admissions into residential care in 2018–19 were for respite stays.
Almost 70,000 admissions into permanent residential care in 2018–19.
Almost 44,000 admissions into home care in 2018–19.
Just over 24,000 admissions into transition care in 2018–19.
59% of people entering permanent residential aged care for the first time in 2018–19 were female.

In 2018–19:

  • Almost 221,200 people entered aged care services, a 31% increase over the last decade.
  • More than two-thirds of these were an admission into residential care—this was split between permanent (almost 70,000) and respite care (over 83,500).
  • Of all people entering aged care, around 1 in 5 people were admitted to home care (almost 43,800) and 1 in 10 were admitted to transition care (over 24,000).
  • Almost 60,800 people were admitted to permanent residential aged care for the first time in 2018–19.

How do people enter aged care?

To access aged care services, a person must undergo an assessment to determine what care would be best for them. A member of their local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) does the assessment looking at their physical, medical, psychological and social needs. After the assessment, the ACAT advises the person of the services they are approved for, and the reasons why. The person can choose whether to follow the recommendations made and when they wish to do so. A number of factors may influence this decision, for example, some people:

  • wish to remain at home for as long as possible, going into approved care at a later date or not at all
  • delay entry into care due to personal circumstances, such as selling their home
  • choose informal care, where family, friends or the community provide support
  • reject an offer due to the cost or location.

More people are entering home care

Increasing numbers of people are entering aged care services. In 2009–10, around 169,000 people entered residential aged care, home care or transition care. In 2018–19, this figure had increased to almost 221,200 people, representing an increase of 31% in admissions over the decade. While the number of admissions to permanent residential aged care rose by less than 1%, they increased by 40% for respite residential care, 62% for transition care, and 74% for home care over the 10 years between 2009–10 and 2018–19.

A stacked bar chart shows the number of admissions into aged care by year and the type of aged care service. The number of admissions into each type (transition care, home care, respite residential care and permanent residential care) have increased over the past 10 years from 169,030 admissions across all care types in 2009–10 to 221,167 in 2018–19 (an increase of 31%). There largest increase was for admissions to home care (74%), followed by transition care (62%) and respite care (40%), while permanent care increased by less than 1%.

Explore more about entries to aged care services in the next section, including initial assessments and how entries vary by program, state/territory and demographics.