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'Ageing in place', i.e. allowing low-care residents of former hostels to remain in the facility as their dependency increased, was one of the specific objectives of the reforms. Under the previous system such residents were required to move to a nursing home.

The study of former hostels in the aged care system, Ageing in place: before and after the 1997 aged care reforms (2002), showed that there has been a substantial trend toward 'ageing in place' in the Australian residential aged care system following the introduction of the Commonwealth Aged Care Act in 1997, which brought together hostels and nursing homes in one system.

The study gives a 'before and after' picture of the consequences of the 1997 legislative reforms. It shows that 23% of residents of former hostels are now classified as 'high care'. While some were admitted as high care residents, two-thirds have remained in the same facility or 'aged in place'.

There has been a dramatic reduction in the proportion of hostel residents leaving to transfer to another aged care service-from 42.2% in 1994-95 down to 16.3% in 2000-01. 'Over the same period, the proportion of residents who died in former hostels rather than being discharged to another type of service before dying had increased from about 30% in 1994-95 to 55% in 2000-01.

A further consequence of ageing in place had been a rise in dependency in the residential aged care sector as a whole. Since 1997 the proportion of high dependency residents in the residential aged care system has increased from 56% to 63%.

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