Service use patterns: five year total view
Clients of SHS may receive multiple support periods in a single financial year, or may receive more than one support period over a number of years. Analysing older SHS clients data over a longer time period than a single financial year provides important insights into patterns of service use among these clients.
In this section of the report, SHS client data for the total period 2013–14 to 2017–18 was analysed. Clients aged 55 or older (on 30 June 2018) who received SHS services during this period were included. Therefore, some clients included may have been under 55 when they had their first or only support period prior to the 30 June 2018 cut-off.
The analyses presented are based on four groups, that is:
- 1 year only group—a client received support in one financial year period only.
- 2 consecutive years group—a client received support in two consecutive years only, for example, 2014–15 and 2015–16.
- 2 non-consecutive years group—a client receive support in two non-consecutive years only, for example 2015–16 and 2017–18.
- 3, 4 or 5 years group—a client received support in any three, four or all five financial years.
These service use intensity groups have been examined in combination with additional client characteristics to explore the patterns of service use of older SHS clients. Service use intensity has also been explored for clients reporting selected vulnerabilities (see Box 1) (family and domestic violence, mental health issues, problematic drug and/or alcohol use as well as for clients with disability (see Box 2).
There are methodological differences in this longitudinal data and the annual data provided in the report, and therefore comparisons are not valid. See Explanatory notes in data tables for further information.
Box 1: Assessing vulnerabilities—‘ever' flags
In this analysis, vulnerability is determined by whether a client ever reported experiencing family and domestic violence, a mental health issue and/or problematic drug and/or alcohol use. In terms of the SHSC, an ‘ever’ flag is generated if a particular reason, need or service is ever reported.
‘Ever’ reported family and domestic violence
Clients are counted as experiencing family and domestic violence if during any support period within the study period they nominated ‘family and domestic violence’ as a reason for seeking assistance, or if during any support period they required and/or were either provided with or referred for family and domestic violence assistance.
‘Ever’ reported a mental health issue
Clients are identified as having a current mental health issue if they provided any of the following information:
- at the beginning of a support period they were receiving assistance for mental health issues
- the referral source to SHS was a mental health service
- they reported mental health issues as a reason for seeking assistance
- their dwelling type prior to presenting to an agency for assistance was a psychiatric hospital or unit they had been in a psychiatric hospital or unit in the past 12 months
- at some stage during their support period a need for mental health services was identified.
‘Ever’ reported problematic drug and/or alcohol use
Clients are identified as having problematic drug and/or alcohol use if they provided any of the following information at the beginning of support or in any support period during the reporting period:
- their dwelling type was rehabilitation
- formal referral source to SHS was a drug and alcohol service
- during support they required drug/alcohol counselling
- they had been in a rehabilitation facility/institution in the last 12 months
- they had reported ‘problematic drug or substance abuse’ or ‘problematic alcohol use’ as a reason for seeking assistance or main reason for seeking assistance (AIHW 2019).
Box 2: Measuring disability
The measure of disability in the SHS collection identifies those who always or sometimes need help or supervision with one or more core activities (self–care, mobility and communication) due to a long–term health condition or disability. This subgroup of those living with a disability includes older clients with severe or profound core activity limitation. The analysis of the availability and appropriateness of homelessness services for this group of clients contributes to information about older people with disability across a range of government services (AIHW 2019).