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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.

2. 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 don’t always take up approved care

While assessments for aged care are often undertaken because people need more assistance, people don’t always follow the assessment recommendations. PIAC can be used to understand the different factors associated with these decisions.
  • Almost half (49%) of the people who were approved for permanent residential care in 2009–10 took it up within 12 months of the assessment. However, 1 in 5 (21%) did not use any aged care in the year after their assessment, while a similar proportion took up one of the community-based programs (12% used home support and 10% home care).
  • Among those approved for permanent residential care, people with dementia or people who had received an assessment while in hospital had a higher likelihood of following through with the approval (56% and 66% took up permanent care, respectively).
  • Of those approved for home care, 37% took it up. Again, 1 in 5 (20%) did not use any aged care service, while 19% accessed home support and 12% took up permanent residential care.
  • Among those approved for transition care, just over two-thirds (69%) took it up. Only 16% of people whose highest level of approved care was respite residential care took up that care type—almost two-thirds either took up home support (30%) or no aged care service (33%) instead.

Select a characteristic below to see the interactions between these. The chart shows the care people were approved for and the care they took up within the following 12 months.

A horizontal bar chart shows the types of care that people who were approved for aged care during 2009–10 used within 12 months of approval. People are grouped by the highest level of care included in their approval. Of the people whose highest level of approval was for permanent residential care, almost half used that program within 12 months of the approval. Approximately one third of people whose highest levels of approval were for home care (37%) or respite residential care (30%) used those programs within 12 months of approval. More than two thirds of people whose highest approval was for transition care used transition care within 12 months. The data can also be filtered by social characteristics. This shows differences between some groups of people, such as how those who have a co-resident carer are less likely to have used aged care programs within 12 months of approval, compared with those who have no carer or do not live with a carer.

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 unique 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.
A horizontal 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.