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Spending on aged care services was around $11 billion in 2009-10, up from $10.1 billion in 2008-09, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

The report, Residential aged care in Australia 2009-10, shows the majority of expenditure was on residential aged care services (estimated $7.3 billion) and the Australian government was the dominant funder (estimated $7.1 billion).

The number of residential aged care places continues to rise, with over 182,850 operational residential places in June 2010 compared to around 178,300 places in 2009.

The provision ratio for residential care at 30 June 2010 was 86.8 operational places per 1,000 people aged 70 years or more.  The current planning ratio target for residential aged care is 88 places per 1,000.

Over half of residential aged care residents were aged over 85 years, and women outnumbered men by more than two to one.  Seven out of ten permanent residents had high care needs related to behaviours, activities of daily living or complex health care issues.

A second report, also released today, found that supply of community aged care packages is also increasing.

‘These packages provide an alternative form of care to residential aged care and are provided to recipients in their own homes,’ AIHW spokesperson, Mr. Brent Diverty said.

The report, Aged care packages in the community 2009-10, shows that between 2009 and 2010, there was a 5% increase in Community Aged Care Packages (CACP) clients, a 26% increase in Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) clients, and a 23% increase in Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) clients.

The provision ratio for CACP, EACH and EACHD was 24.4 operational places per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over. The current planning ratio target for community aged care is 25 places per 1,000.

Indigenous Australians tended to use both mainstream residential aged care services and community aged care at younger ages (60-64 years) than non-Indigenous Australians.

Most EACH and EACHD (high-care) care recipients had carers to assist with their daily needs, the majority of whom were living with the care recipient.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare. At a time of major reform in Australia’s aged care sector, AIHW reports are a valuable source of information to support community discussion and policy development

Canberra, 31 August 2011

Further information: Mr Brent Diverty, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5096, mob. 0418 271 395

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer (02) 6244 1032

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