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Explore admissions into 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.

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.

Admissions to home care have continued to increase

Home care packages are available at 4 levels of care, 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 2017–18, there were around 54,000 entries into home care.
  • While only 10% were admissions to basic care, around 65% entered for low care, 13% for intermediate and 13% for high care.
  • In general, entries to home care have continued to increase over the last decade, rising by 130% between 2008–09 and 2017–18. This trend of increasing entries largely 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 23,000 in 2008–09 to 54,000 in 2017–18, with most of the increase coming from higher levels of care. Admissions for level 1 care increased from 3% of overall admissions in 2013–14 to 10% in 2017–18, and admissions for level 3 increased from 3% to 13%. Level 2 and 4 accounted for the highest proportion of admissions in each year.

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

Nationally, in 2017–18:

  • The majority of people entering permanent residential aged care were aged 75 years and over (85%), and just under 4% of entries were people aged under 65 years.
  • Overall, the majority of people entering permanent residential care were women (59%), and this proportion increased with age, reflecting the longer average life expectancy for women.
  • However, the majority of people entering permanent residential care at younger ages were men, representing 55% of entries among people aged under 70 years.
  • 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 (79%)—just under 3% of entries were people aged under 65 years.


Over the last 10 years, entry 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 2017–18, this proportion had increased to 53%.
  • Age at entry into home care has also slightly increased over the last 10 years. The age group with the highest proportion of entries to home care in 2008–09 was the 80–84 age group, representing 26% of both males and females. In 2017–18, the 85–89 age group was the most common age for admission, accounting for 24% of both male and female admissions.
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 (25% of admissions for men and 28% of admissions for women in this age group). 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).

Entries to aged care services have increased in line with growth of the population

While admissions into aged care have increased over recent years (see Admissions into aged care ), the size of the older population has also increased.

  • In 2017–18, there were 17.9 admissions into permanent residential 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 respite residential care was 19.7 admissions per 1,000 people, for home care 13.3, and for transition care 6.2.
  • Between 2011–12 and 2017–18, the rate of admissions for home care increased from 9.3 to 13.3 admissions per 1,000 people in the target population. The rate of admissions for transition care decreased slightly from 6.6 to 6.2.
  • Between 2011–12 and 2017–18, the rate of admissions for permanent residential aged care decreased slightly (from 21.0 to 17.9 per 1,000 target population).

Rates of entry to aged care services vary between the states and territories:

  • In 2017–18 , Victoria had the highest rate of admissions to permanent residential aged care, with 19.2 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 5.4 per 1,000.
  • South Australia had the highest rate of respite entry at 27.8 per 1,000 of the target population, whereas Western Australia had the lowest rate at 10.4 per 1,000.
  • Queensland had the highest rate of entry to home care services (16.3 per 1,000), while the Northern Territory had the lowest rate (7.1 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 (4.4 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 was steady between 2010–11 and 2017–18, but varied between states.

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

Admissions are the number of entries into a type of aged care over a specified period, rather than the number of people entering aged care. A person can be counted multiple times if they enter into a type of aged care more than once; however, a first admission can only be counted once for each person entering a type of aged care over their lifetime. Hence this subset is useful for looking at the characteristics of individuals who first enter a type of care.

Around 62,200 people were admitted to permanent residential aged care for the first time in 2017–18, and 43,300 people were first admitted to home care.

  • The most common age group for people entering permanent residential care for the first time was 85–89 years, accounting for over one-quarter of first admissions. Over half of people entering permanent residential aged care for the first time were aged 85 years and over (53%), compared with nearly 4 in 10 people entering home care for the first time.
  • The majority of people entering aged care for the first time in 2017–18 were women, for both permanent residential care (59%) and home care (61%).
  • Over two-thirds of people entering home care for the first time in 2017–18 entered for low care (level 2) (69%).
  • The number of people entering permanent residential care for the first time has remained relatively steady over the past five years, from 61,600 in 2013–14 to 62,200 in 2017–18.
  • The number of people entering home care for the first time has increased by 64% over the past 5 years, from 26,500 in 2013–14 to 43,300 in 2017–18.
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 2017–18, however the number of first admissions into home care have risen, from 26,500 in 2013–14 to 43,300 in 2017–18.

Do people access aged care differently in different areas?

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).

  • The rate of admissions to permanent residential care is higher in urban areas of Australia, whereas the rates of admissions to home care are more evenly spread across the country.
  • Admissions of younger people into aged care occur at higher rates in rural and regional areas of Australia. With increasing age, the rate of admissions becomes higher in more urban areas.
  • The number of admissions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people per 1,000 of the target population is higher in the north and west of Australia.
  • 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. However, some remote regions also have high rates of admissions of people who speak languages other than English.
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 2017–18, however the number of first admissions into home care have risen, from 26,500 in 2013–14 to 43,300 in 2017–18.