More people able to receive aged care in their own homes

More frail or disabled older people are able to receive care at home and remain living in their own homes for longer, as the provision of community aged care continues to grow, says a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

The report, Community aged care packages in Australia 2004-05, looks at two Australian Government funded programs designed to help people stay at home who might otherwise need to move to residential aged care.

Ms Ann Peut, Head of the Institute's Ageing and Aged Care Unit, said a small but rapidly growing community aged care program is the Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) program.

'The EACH program is designed to provide the equivalent of high-level residential care to people in the community, while the larger Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) are designed to assist people who would otherwise be eligible for low-level residential aged care,' Ms Peut said.

The number of EACH packages available at 30 June 2005 was 1,673. This was almost double the number available twelve months previously. The number of CACPs rose from 29,063 to 30,973 over the same twelve-month period.

'These increases mean that the combined number of CACPs and EACH packages rose to 17.2 places for every 1,000 people aged 70 years and over, compared to 16.1 a year earlier', Ms Peut explained.

'The report shows that a high proportion of EACH recipients lived with family (71%), probably reflecting the importance of family care arrangements in supporting a high-care recipient at home. Only 39% of CACP recipients lived with family, while 49% lived alone,' Ms Peut said.

'The main known reason people left a CACP was to enter residential aged care (49%). Deaths accounted for 19% and a further 6% were people who left the program when they were admitted to hospital.' she said.

Similarly EACH recipients mostly leave the program to enter residential aged care (43%), but deaths account for a higher proportion of separations (36% for EACH compared with 19% for CACP). Ten percent of EACH recipients leave the program to go to hospital.

At 30 June 2005, there were 973 CACP mainstream service outlets with 56% of outlets operated by the religious or charitable sector. There were 105 EACH services,, predominately operating in major cities and inner regional areas.

30 June 2006

Further information: Ms Ann Peut, AIHW, mob. 0419 296 053 or tel. 02 6244 1108

For media copies of the report: Publications Officer, AIHW, tel 61 2 6244 1032.