A new report on the programs that help people who might otherwise go into residential aged care by providing them with help in their own homes, shows that by 30 June 2007 there were almost 22 community care packages for every 1,000 people aged 70 and over.
The Australian Government plans to increase the number of packages to 25 care packages per 1,000 by 2011.
The report, Aged care packages in the community 2006-07, released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, looks at three different aged care packages and the types of clients they serve:
Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) for people eligible for low-level residential aged care, which (as at 30 June 2007) had almost 38,000 operational places.
Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH), for people who need high-level care, which (as at 30 June 2007) had 3,300 places.
EACH Dementia, a more flexible package for people with behavioural problems or psychological symptoms associated with dementia (1,300 places).
Women made up the majority of care recipients for all three programs, particularly for the CACP program (71%). EACH recipients had the youngest age profile, with 7% of recipients aged less than 65 years and only 53% aged 80 years and over, while CACP recipients had the oldest age profile (65% were 80 years and over).
'At the end of June 2007, almost 35,000 people were receiving help from a CACP, almost 3,000 people were getting help from an EACH package and around 870 people from an EACH Dementia package,' said Ann Peut, Head of the AIHW's Ageing and Aged Care Unit.
'However, over the course of the year, higher numbers of people actually received help from these packages,' she said.
Around 50,000 people received a CACP at some time during 2006-07, and around 4,600 people and 1,340 people received help from EACH and EACH Dementia packages, respectively.
This reflects the relatively short periods of assistance used by many people. Around half of CACP recipients and three-quarters of EACH recipients used assistance from their package for less than 12 months.
The majority of those leaving a care package did so to enter residential aged care. EACH Dementia recipients were more likely to enter residential care (63%) than CACP recipients (47%) or EACH recipients (43%).
A higher proportion of EACH recipients no longer received assistance from their package because they died (37%) than EACH Dementia (22%) or CACP recipients (18%).