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New data on residential aged care facilities shows a continuing trend to higher dependency levels among residents, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia 1998-1999 shows that at the end of June 1999, 61% of residents were classified as 'high care', and 39% 'low care', with less than 3% in the lowest level of care category. In the previous year, 58% of residents were 'high care', with 42% of residents in the low care category with 5% needing the lowest level of care.
Head of the AIHW's aged care unit, Diane Gibson, said the dependency profile of new permanent residents gave a useful indication of the most recent trends.
'Prior to the introduction of the new system, dependency levels were rising among both nursing home and hostel residents. In recent years, available residential care places have been targeted to a more dependent group of people,' Dr Gibson said.
'During this time, we've also seen a 27% increase in the supply of community care packages aimed at helping people-who might otherwise be eligible for low levels of residential care-to remain in their homes.'
There were 2,496 residential places and 4,275 community care packages allocated in 1999. Of these, 36% of residential places and 38% of community care packages were allocated to providers in regional, rural and remote locations. During 2000-2001, 7,889 residential aged care places and 6,483 community care packages will be made available.
Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia 1998-1999: A Statistical Overview also shows that:
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