Nursing Homes in Australia 1996-97: A Statistical Overview will be released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on Friday.
The latest report shows a continuation of the trend towards people with high dependency levels being admitted to nursing homes - 56% in 1997 required 23.5 hours or more per week of care. This compares with 52% in 1996.
The trend towards greater use of nursing homes for respite care also continued - in 1996-97 respite care accounted for around 28% of admissions, compared with 24% in 1995-96.
The report also shows respite residents have different characteristics from permanent residents. Head of the Institute's Welfare Division, Dr Ching Choi said 'they tend to be drawn from different populations. For example, when they're admitted, respite residents are more likely to be living in the community with carers, and to be married, than people admitted as permanent resident. They also tend to be younger.'
Dr Choi said the report shows slightly higher usage of nursing homes by overseas-born people. 'Among those admitted to nursing homes in 1996-97 there was a higher proportion of overseas born people (26%) than in the current nursing home population (20%).'
Other findings in the report include:
The age and sex profiles, as well as dependency pattern, are consistent among the States and Territories, with women continuing to dominate the nursing home population.
The occupancy rate of nursing home beds remained high and was, on average, 97%.
Death was the reason for separation of about 90% of permanent nursing home residents.