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Explore pathways in aged care

On this page you can explore the Pathways in Aged Care (PIAC) link map in more detail, with data drawn from our previous publications.

People enter permanent residential care through different pathways

People commonly use a mix of different aged care programs over time. As a person-level link map, PIAC can be used to show how people navigate through the aged care system before they reached a particular point in time or used a particular service.
  • Around 61,300 people entered permanent residential aged care for the first time between July 2013 and June 2014.
  • More than four-fifths (87%) of these admissions were through one of the 20 most common combinations of aged care service use, or 'pathways'.
  • People's pattern of use before the ‘last-used’ program varied: 85% (17,800 people) of those who had last used respite residential aged care had used another aged care service beforehand.
  • The opposite was true among those who entered permanent residential aged care from home support—just 2,400 people (or 13%) had used another aged care service beforehand.

Choose a pathway below to find out more, starting with the program people used last before permanent residential aged care.

1. An interactive visualisations displays the 20 most common paths to permanent residential care for people who entered permanent residential care for the first time in 2013–14. The most common of all of these paths was to use respite residential care before permanent residential care, and home support before that.
Learn more about pathways in this report.

People move between regions to access permanent care

Overall, 1 in 4 people (25%) entered permanent residential care in the same immediate area where they had their assessment. This varied between aged care planning regions (ACPR): fewer than 15% of people in some metropolitan ACPRs did not move between assessment and entry, compared with 50% and over in some outer regional ACPRs.

2. An interactive map displays the distance people moved for first admission into permanent residential aged care in 2013–14, by Age Care Planning Region (ACPR).
The distance people moved between assessment and entry into permanent residential care was also influenced by whether they were already receiving care and their type of living arrangements:
  • Those who last used respite residential aged care before permanent residential care were more likely not to have moved at all (27%), while those who had not previously used aged care and those who had used home care packages were most likely to have moved more than 100 kilometres (both 6.4%).
  • People with carers were more likely to have moved less than 10 kilometres than not to have moved at all (38% compared to 24%).
  • Those who were living in retirement villages at the time of assessment were more likely not to have moved at all (40%) than those living in other accommodation settings.
  • Of people who moved for residential care, the average distance moved by people living in major cities was 39 kilometres, 86 kilometres for people living in regional areas near a town of 5–50,000 people, and over 400 kilometres for people living in remote or very remote areas.
  • More than half (56%) of people living in regional areas near towns of 5,000–50,000 did not move for permanent residential care, while 2 in 5 (40%) people living in remote/very remote areas moved more than 100 kilometres.
3. A horizontal, stacked bar chart shows the proportion of people who first entered permanent residential aged care in 2013–14 by past care type used, carer status, remoteness and previous accommodation. People who used respite residential care were most likely to not have moved outside of their immediate area for permanent residential care (27%).

Learn more about the patterns of use in aged care.

People’s use of community-based aged care has increased over time

By combining information from different aged care programs at the person level, PIAC can be used to identify individuals using aged care. This makes it possible to examine broad patterns of use in a way that is not possible through the aged care data sets in isolation. For example, between 2002–03 and 2010–11:
  • Around 1 in 10 men (and 1 in 7 women) aged 65–74 years used aged care services in any given year, rising to 1 in 3 men (and 2 in 5 women) aged 75–84.
  • For both sexes, the highest proportion of aged care service use was among the oldest people, with around 2 in 3 men and 4 in 5 women aged 85 years and over using aged care services in any given year.
  • The proportion of older people in residential aged care decreased. This can be seen for all of the age groups shown in the graph below.
  • At the same time, the proportion of the older population using any of the community-based services increased.
4. A horizontal, stacked bar chart shows the proportion of the older population using aged care for the years between 2002–03 and 2010–11. In general, the proportion of the population who are not using some form of aged care has decreased over this period. This is particularly pronounced among those aged 85 and over. In 2002–03, 30% of people aged 85 and over were not using aged care, but by 2010–11 this had decreased to 24%. Home support is the most commonly-used service, providing for 20% of all people aged 65 and over in 2010–11. The proportion of the population using aged care increases with increasing age. Across all age groups, a higher proportion of women use aged care compared with men.

 Read the report for more information.