Measures of service use
Percentage of people who used a service
‘Percentage’ is the proportion of people in the dementia cohort with at least one service recorded in the linked data in 2019. This is also referred to as a rate of service use.
Rate ratios are a method for comparing service use between regions. Rates for people living in Major cities were used as the reference population to compare with other remoteness areas. Rates for people living in the highest socioeconomic areas were used as the reference population to compare with other socioeconomic areas (‘Quintile 5 – highest’ for the total cohort, ‘Major cities – quintile 5 – highest’ for analysis within and Outside Major cities).
- A rate ratio of 1 indicates that the rate for the region is the same as the rate in the reference population.
- A rate ratio greater than 1 indicates that the rate for the region is higher than the rate in the reference population.
- A rate ratio less than 1 indicates that the rate for the region is lower than the rate in the reference population.
Age-standardised rates were calculated where possible, to enhance the comparability between populations that may have different age structures. This is particularly important when comparing rates between men and women living in residential aged care, because women are more likely to be older (see Figure 1.1). Rates were age-standardised to the Australian Estimated Resident Population 2001, using the direct method (AIHW 2011), with age groups modified for the dementia study cohort: 30–69, 70–74, 75–79, 80–84, 85–89, 90 and over.
Average number of services per person
The average number of services per person was calculated for:
- people in the dementia study cohort who used the service at least once in 2019, referred to in the figures as “Mean (service users)”
- all people in the dementia study cohort, regardless of whether they used the service in 2019, referred to in the figures as “Mean (cohort)”.
These measures reflect different aspects of access to services. For example, for people living in residential aged care in 2019, the average number of Medicare-subsided allied health attendances per person in the cohort decreased with increasing remoteness, from 2.5 in Major cities to 1.2 in Remote and very remote areas (see Figure 2.3). However, among people who used the service, there was little difference in the average number of attendances: 3.3 in Major cities and 3.2 in Remote and very remote areas. This suggests that while overall access was lower in Remote and very remote areas, the number of visits provided to people who used the service was similar to that in Major cities.
AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) (2011) Principles on the use of direct age-standardisation in administrative data collections: for measuring the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 15 August 2023.