The choice of aged care services is an important and sensitive decision for many older Australians. There are different services available to support people’s varying needs. When people decide to enter aged care, an individual assessment is made so they get the support they need. People are counted as an ‘entry’ 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. This section reports on such entries to residential and home care.
How do people enter aged care?
Once a person decides they would like to use aged care services, they arrange 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 lets the person know the services they are approved for, and the reasons why. They can choose whether or not they would like to follow the recommendations.
The time between an ACAT approval and starting an aged care service is a rough measure of service access, as low numbers of available places increase waiting times. However, other factors also influence the time between approval and entry into a service. 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.
You can 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.