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Unmet needs in aged care: How long did Australians wait for aged care services?

August 2023
12 pp
Internet only
Unmet needs in aged care: How long did Australians wait for aged care services?

Australia’s aged care system comprises a range of services from basic supports to enable people to remain independent at home, through to living in a residential aged care facility with access to full‍-‍time care. Over one million people received support from aged care services in Australia in 2019‍–‍20. The majority of aged care is provided to people in their homes (or elsewhere in a community setting), reflecting people’s preferences to remain living in their community for as long as possible.

While Australian aged care services and programs have been regularly reformed to meet the care needs of the population, there are areas where needs may not be met. One source of unmet need, documented in the Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report (2021), is the amount of time people wait to access care.

This analysis used the Pathways in Aged Care (PIAC) 2020 link map including comprehensive aged care eligibility assessment data from the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF). We examined the outcomes after approval for a home care package or permanent residential aged care (or both) for everyone approved for care in the 2017‍–‍18 financial year.

23/04/2024 – A calculation error has been identified in the data that affects Figures 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 of this report. We are in the process of reviewing and updating our analysis for this content.

A larger number of people who had their first comprehensive assessment in 2017–18 had received their approved care service by the end of the study period. The published and updated figures are presented in the corrected Table below.

 Approval group Published report Corrected figures
 Home care packages only (n = 20,321)  7,382  12,339
 Permanent residential aged care only (n = 22,560)  15,632  15,632
 Home care package and permanent residential aged care (n = 60,536)  32,510  43,059

We are currently updating our analysis to correct figures related to time to receipt of an approved aged care service (Figures 4, 5, 6 and 7).

If you require further details about the update to this analysis please contact [email protected].