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Explore people leaving 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 leaving aged care services. You can filter the information in the graphs below to see more details on reasons for leaving and the characteristics of people leaving aged care.

Why do people leave residential care?

The reasons people leave residential care depend on the type of care they received. Permanent care is long-term care, whereas respite care is short-term care that gives people (or their carers) a temporary break from their usual care arrangements.

  • There were more than 151,100 exits from residential care in 2018–19.
  • Around half (55%) of these people were leaving respite care.
  • The most common reason for leaving permanent residential care was death (83%), whereas just over half of those in respite care returned home (58%).
  • The proportion of exits from permanent residential care that were due to death increased from 74% in 2009–10 to 83% in 2018–19 , and the proportion that moved to another residential care facility decreased over the same period (from 17% to 9%).
  • The proportion of exits from respite care where people moved to another residential care facility has remained relatively steady, from 6% in 2014–15 to 5% in 2018–19. (Note this data is not comparable with years prior to 2014–15 due to changes in the way discharge reasons have been coded since 2014–15).
A stacked bar chart shows the proportion of exits from permanent or respite residential care that were due to death, moves to other residential care, home or community, hospital or other reasons, by sex and year over the past 10 years. The proportion of exits from permanent residential care that were due to death increased from 74% in 2009–10 to 83% in 2018–19 , and the proportion that moved to another residential care facility decreased over the same period (from 17% to 9%). The chart also shows that the proportion of exits from respite care where people moved to another residential care facility has remained relatively steady, from 6% in 2014–15 to 5% in 2018–19. (Note this data is not comparable with years prior to 2014–15 due to changes in the way discharge reasons have been coded since 2014–15).

How long do people stay in residential care?

Reflecting differences in the nature of care provided, the average length of stay and the reasons for leaving were different for people in long-term permanent care and short-term respite care.

  • The average length of stay for permanent residential aged care was almost 30 months, (or around 2 years and 6 months), but around 1 month (26 days) for respite care.
  • People who died in permanent residential care had the longest average length of stay at just over 32 months (or 2 years and 8 months).
  • Women stayed longer in permanent residential care than men, but this trend was not reflected in respite care.
  • The average time people spent in residential care has remained relatively steady over the last 10 years.
A bar chart shows the average lengths of stay in permanent or respite residential care, by discharge reason, sex and year over the past 10 years. In each year, exits from permanent care that were due to death had the longest length of stay for both sexes. The chart also shows that the lengths of stay in permanent care were longer for women regardless of discharge reason, but particularly so when discharge reason was death: in 2018–19, on average women stayed 37 months, or about 3 years, before leaving permanent care due to death. This compared with 26 months, or about 2 years, for men. The chart further shows that in each year, moves to other residential care occurred after an average respite stay of between 30 to 36 days.

Residential aged care is used for longer periods of time than home care

  • Average lengths of stay in permanent residential care are almost 5 months longer than in home care. The average length of stay for people leaving permanent residential care in 2018–19 was around 2 years and 6 months, and for home care just over 2 years.
  • In general, the older people are when they leave, the longer they are likely to have used aged care. People aged over 100 years recorded the longest average lengths of stay across all aged care types and sex, except for male home care clients, those aged 0–49 years had the longest average length of stay.
  • Women stayed longer than men in both permanent residential care (2 years and 10 months for women, compared with just under 2 years for men) and home care (2 years and 3 months, compared with just under 1 year and 10 months).
A horizontal bar chart shows the average lengths of stay in permanent residential care or home care in 2018–19, by 5-year age group and sex. In permanent care, the oldest age groups had the longest average lengths of stay, particularly women. Women aged over 100 years had an average length of stay of 57 months, compared with 38 for men of the same age. Overall, lengths of stay in permanent care showed less variation among men regardless of age group. The chart shows a similar pattern for home care—although the average stays were shorter than in permanent care—with older age groups staying in care for longer, and women staying in care for longer on average than men in older age groups.

Do exits from permanent residential aged care vary by region?

The map below shows the rate of exits from permanent residential aged care services, 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 number of people leaving permanent residential care is higher in regions along the east coast of Australia, relative to the number of people in the target population. However, the average time people spend in care tends to be higher in regions away from urban centres.
  • Exits from permanent residential care due to death are also higher in regions along the east coast, and, across regions, the average lengths of stay tend to be longer where discharge reason is death.
  • The number of exits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people per 1,000 of the target population is higher in regions in north west and central Australia.
  • Exits of people who prefer to speak languages other than English and who were born in non-English speaking countries are generally higher in urban areas. However, central Australia has higher rates of exits for people born in Australia who speak languages other than English.
A map of Australia shows the rate of exits per 1,000 people in permanent residential care the target population and the average length of stay for people who left aged care in 2018–19. 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. The data is also broken down by the reason for leaving aged care.