Current long term care system for elderly
Current long term care is provided by informal carers, government subsidised community care and residential aged care for people aged 65 years and over. The federal government provides around 70 per cent of total funding for aged care. The greatest aged care expenditure is in residential aged care.
Program and nature of coverage
Community care1 is currently provided through four packages. Home and Community Care (HACC) is a low care package funded by the federal government in all states and territories except Western Australia and Victoria. The Community Aged Care Package (CACP) also provides low care but delivers additional types of services compared to HACC.
The Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) package is a high care package, while EACH-D is a high care package specifically designed for people with dementia. Around 84% of community care packages are delivered by religious, charitable and community based providers. Residential care services are provided to permanent residents located within residential care facilities. Providers are owned by for-profit and not-for-profit organisations, and a small number are owned by state and territory governments.
Nature of benefit coverage
The Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) and residential care places providing high-level care are available on need-based planning benchmarks. In 2011, the national planning benchmark was 88 residential care places per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over, and 25 community-based packages per 1,000 people aged 70 years and over.
Source of funding
Residential and community care is funded by the federal government, state and territory governments, care recipients, and charitable organisations. The federal government provides over two thirds of funding for aged care.
Reforms initiated/ future direction2
The federal government released a large package of reforms for the aged care sector in April 2012. The reforms aim to shift some care from residential care facilities into the community due to the preference of people to receive care at home for as long as possible. The federal government plans to subsidise an additional 64,200 community care packages by 2012-22 and offer two additional types of community care packages. The reforms also aim to increase the level of information provided to care recipients and better coordinate care between the health and aged care sectors through the establishment of a central aged care gateway and linking service. Other changes aim to improve pricing of accommodation, implement new means testing arrangements, standardise assessment processes for care, and attract new investment into residential aged care by increasing accommodation subsidies for providers that significantly refurbish their facilities or build a new facility.
1Aged care, Department of Health and Aging, Australia
Accessed 1 May 2012.
2National Health Reform: Progress and Delivery (PDF 8.6 MB), Australian Government, September 2011
Accessed 4 June 2012.