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Explore admissions into aged care

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

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

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.

Does entry to aged care services vary by age and sex?

Nationally, in 2018–19:

  • The majority (85%) of people entering permanent residential aged care were aged 75 years and over, and just over 3% of entries were people aged under 65 years.
  • Overall, nearly two-thirds (59%) of people entering permanent residential care were women, and this proportion increased with age, reflecting the longer average life expectancy for women.
  • Just over half (55%) of people entering permanent residential care aged under 70 years were men.
  • In general, people entered home care at a younger age than permanent residential care, but the majority of people entering home care were still aged 75 years and over (80%)—just over 2% of entries were people aged under 65 years.
Over the last 10 years, admissions to permanent residential aged care has tended to take place later in life. In 2008–09, people aged 85 years and over made up 49% of entries to permanent residential care. In 2018–19, this proportion had increased to 53%.
A pyramid chart shows the proportion of admissions for permanent residential care and home care, by sex, 5-year age group and year. In each year, people aged 85–89 represented the largest proportion of admissions into permanent residential aged care for both sexes (24% of admissions for men and 27% of admissions for women in this age group in 2018–19). The chart also shows that for home care, the pyramid is flatter—the age groups 80–84 and 85–89 represented the largest proportions of admissions in each year (in all, around 1 in 2 admissions for both men and women were by people in these age groups).

Admissions to home care have increased over the last decade

Home care packages are available at 4 levels, 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 existing community-based aged care programs into home care packages. For more information on the types of care, see Services and places in aged care.

  • In 2018–19, there were almost 43,800 admissions into home care, a decrease from just under 47,600 admissions in 2017–18. This decline may be due to recent increased policy focus on supporting people to remain in home care longer through care level changes, resulting in an increase in the number of people continuing to recieve a Home Care Package, but no overall increases in admissions. 
  • Just under 20% of admissions were for basic care (level 1), just over 50% were for low care (level 2), around 19% were for intermediate care (level 3) and 10% were for high care (level 4).
  • Entries to home care have increased over the last decade, with the number of admissions increasing by 74% from almost 25,200 in 2009–10 to almost 43,800 in 2018–19. This trend of increasing entries reflects the increased number of home care packages available.
A stacked bar chart shows the number of admissions into home care by level (1–4) and year for the past 10 years. The overall number of admissions have increased from 25,132 in 2009–10 to 43,761 in 2018–19, with most of the increase coming from higher levels of care. Entries to home care have increased over the last decade, with the number of admissions almost doubling between 2009–10 and 2018–19. This trend of increasing entries largely reflects the increased number of home care packages available.

The rate of home care admissions have also increased over time

While admissions into aged care have increased over recent years (31% increase in admissions over the last decade), the size of the older population has also increased.

  • In 2018–19, there were 10.5 admissions into home care per 1,000 people in the target population (all people aged 65 and over, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64). The rate for permanent residential care was 16.8 admissions per 1,000 people, for respite residential care 20.1, and for transition care 5.8 .
  • Between 2012–13 and 2018–19, the rate of admissions for home care increased from 8.4 to 10.5 admissions per 1,000 people in the target population and the rate for respite residential aged care also increased, from 19.1 to 20.1. The rate for permanent residential aged care and transition care both decreased in this time (from 20.9 to 16.8 admissions per 1,000 target population for permanent care and from 6.9 to 5.8 for transition care).

The rate of admissions vary between the states and territories

In 2018–19, rates of admissions to aged care services vary between the states and territories:
  • Victoria had the highest rate of admissions to permanent residential aged care, with 18.2 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 6.8 per 1,000.
  • South Australia had the highest rate of admissions to respite residential care at 28.3 per 1,000 of the target population, while Western Australia had the lowest rate at 11.2 per 1,000.
  • Queensland had the highest rate of admissions to home care services (11.6 per 1,000), while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate (4.9 per 1,000).
  • Rates of admission to transition care varied less, with the highest being South Australia (7.3 per 1,000 of the target population) and the lowest the Northern Territory (4.2 per 1,000).
A bar chart shows the rate of admissions into permanent residential care, respite residential care, home care or transition care by 1,000 people in the aged care target population, by state and year. The overall rate of admissions into each care type varied slightly between 2011–12 and 2018–19, across all states.

What are the characteristics of people entering aged care for the first time?

Admissions are the number of entries into an aged care service over a specified period, rather than the number of people who entered the service. A person can be counted multiple times if they enter care more than once. A first admission is counted only once for each person entering an aged care service over their lifetime. This subset is useful for looking at the characteristics of individuals who enter aged care for the first time.
 
Almost 60,800 people were admitted to permanent residential aged care for the first time in 2018–19, and over 40,000 people were first admitted to home care.

  • Over half (54%) of people entering permanent residential aged care for the first time were aged 85 years and over—with people aged 85–89 years accounting for 26%. Nearly 4 in 10 (39%) people entering home care for the first time were aged 85 years and over.
  • Nearly two-thirds of people entering aged care for the first time in 2018–19 were women, for both permanent residential care (59%) and home care (62%).
  • Just over half (51%) of people entering home care for the first time in 2018–19 entered for low care (level 2).
  • The number of people entering permanent residential care for the first time has remained relatively steady over the past 5 years, from around 56,500 in 2014–15 to almost 60,800 in 2018–19.
  • The number of people entering home care for the first time has been increasing steadily over the past 5 years, from over 23,200 in 2014–15 to over 40,000 in 2018–19.
You can learn more about people entering aged care for the first time and their care needs at entry into permanent residential care in the Care needs of people in aged care topic.
A bar chart shows the number of first ever admissions into permanent residential care and home care over the last five years. The number of first admissions into permanent residential care has remained steady between 2013–14 and 2018–19, however the number of first admissions into home care have risen, from 26,471 in 2013–14 to 40,009 in 2018–19.

Do people access aged care differently depending on where they live?

The rate at which older people enter aged care varies across Australia. The map below shows the rate of entries to aged care per 1,000 people in the target population (all people aged 65 years and over, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50–64 years) by Aged Care Planning Region (ACPR) or Primary Health Network (PHN).
In 2018–19:

  • The ACPR with the highest rate of Indigenous Australians in permanent residential care is in central Australia (Alice Springs with a rate of 10.9), compared with 2017–18 where the ACPR with the highest rate was in the north-west of Australia (Kimberly with a rate of 7.2).
  • Permanent residential care admissions of people who prefer to speak languages other than English and who were born in non-English speaking countries are generally more prevalent in urban areas, with the highest rate per 1,000 people being in the Northern Metro ACPR in Victoria and the Inner West ACPR in New South Wales, the same trend as in 2017–18.
A map of Australia shows the rate of admissions into permanent residential care or home care for 2017–18 per 1,000 people in the aged care target population. The map allows the user to filter the data by characteristics such as level of geography, aged care service type, age group, sex, Indigenous status, preferred language and country of birth.