Report Highlights Increasing Demand in Aged Care
7 August 2014 at 11:00 am
A new report has found more older Australians are accessing aged-care services, with the greatest increase in services delivered to people in their homes and in the community.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report, Patterns in use of aged care: 2002-03 to 2010-11, found 29 per cent of people aged 65 years and over accessed aged care services in 2010-11, up from 26 per cent in 2002-03.
The greatest increase was in community care programs, which were used by 79 per cent of all aged-care clients in 2010-11, up from 76 per cent in 2002-03, with the vast majority of these people receiving Home and Community Care (HACC) services.
“The report shows that over the study period, the number of people aged 65 and over using aged-care services in a year rose by more than one-third, from 642,000 to 874,000,” AIHW spokesperson Dr Pamela Kinnear said.
“The growth in client numbers was greater than the growth in the population, which means it did not just result from the growing numbers of very old people. Rather, much of the increase was due to greater use of community care programs.
“Over the nine-year period, on a standard day roughly 1 in 6 people aged 65 and older were using aged-care services, with around 5 per cent living in residential aged care (RAC).
“As expected, service use is increasingly common with increasing age, with the oldest age groups more likely to be using services on a particular day. On 30 September 2010, 58 per cent of people aged 85 and over were accessing care services. Almost one quarter of this very old age group were in permanent RAC.
“The report also shows that more people are using aged-care services in their last year of life. In particular, 70 per cent of older people who died in 2003-04 used a service in their last year of life, compared to almost 75 per cent of people who died in 2010-11. In 2010-11, just over two thirds of the women and half of the men aged 85 and over who died used permanent RAC in their last year of life.
“In order to access RAC, care packages and transition care, an approval must be obtained through the Aged Care Assessment Program (ACAP). However, approval to use a program does not necessarily mean that the service will be used.
“For example, even among people with both a recommendation and approval to live in residential care, only 64 per cent went into permanent care within 12 months, while 18 per cent did not access any aged-care programs.
“Whether a person takes up approved care depends on a range of factors, and varies with the characteristics, health profile and personal circumstances of the individual involved.”
The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide regular information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.
“The report shows Australian Government aged care programmes over the last 10 years are assisting greater numbers of older Australians, and confirms the Government’s focus on increasing support to help people stay in their homes and communities for longer is well-targeted,” Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews said.
“The Government is increasing the number of aged-care places available per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over the years to 2021-22. We are also increasing the number of home care packages by 80,000 over the next 10 years. There will also be a shift towards consumer-directed care for aged care in the home, allowing older Australians to decide for themselves how their care needs are met.”