Older Australians now waiting nearly three years for Level 4 Home Care packages – and five months for residential care: Productivity Commission report

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The median wait time for a Level 1 HCP is now around seven months, 15 months for a Level 2, 30 months for a Level 3 and up to 34 months for a Level 4, according to the annual report on aged care services from the Government’s main review and advisory body.

There are currently about 112,000 on the national home care prioritisation queue – a decline from the high of 130,000 in mid-2019, but a sign that supply is still not meeting demand.

Residential waiting times are also blowing out, the data shows.

The median “elapsed time” between getting approval from an ACAT and entering an aged care home was 152 days in 2018-19 – up from 121 days in 2017-18 and 105 days in 2016-17.

Overall, only around 42% of people entered a home within three months of ACAT approval – almost 60% entered within nine months.

However, we know residential occupancy is at 89.4% – at its lowest point for 10 years – so is it reluctance from families to make the final commitment to residential care – and the Royal Commission – and delays in selling the family home that is slowing the numbers rather than the system itself?

One thing is clear from the report – there is still a lot of need out there. In 2018, 34% of older people living at home in need of assistance reported that their needs were not being met.

You can download the report HERE.