Historical Trends and Future Projections of Demand for Permanent Residential Aged Care for Older People in Australia, 2008–2052

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Objectives: To examine the historical trends and predict the future rates and total volumes of permanent residential aged care (PRAC) service utilization in Australia. Design: A population-based repeated cross-sectional and projection study of non-indigenous older people (≥65 years) accessing PRAC in Australia was conducted. Setting and Participants: Publicly available aged care admissions from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and population estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics were used. Methods: Historical incidence rates (per 1000 people), incidence rate ratios (IRRs) and 95% CIs of PRAC admission from 2008–2009 to 2020–2021 were estimated using negative binomial regression models. The future incidence and prediction intervals (PIs) of PRAC admission between 2021–2022 and 2051–2052 were projected using a generalized additive model-negative binomial regression. All estimates were adjusted or standardized by sex and age. Results: Between 2008–2009 and 2020–2021, the adjusted admission to PRAC decreased (from 23.6/1000 people to 15.7/1000 people with an IRR = 0.97/year, 95% CI 0.97–0.98). The projected PRAC admission rate will decrease to 12.1/1000 (95%PI 10.8–13.3) by 2037–2038 and 9.0/1000 (95%PI 7.6–10.4) by 2051–2052. The projected volume of PRAC admission will be 73,988 (95%PI 65,960–81,425) at its highest point in 2037–2038 and 64,579 (95%PI 54,258–74,543) in 2051–2052. Conclusions and Implications: The utilization of PRAC has decreased in the past decade, and a predicted decrease in PRAC use in future years is estimated. However, the volume of PRAC utilization will still increase for the next 15 years (until 2037–2038) due to our increasingly older population. These findings can inform service planning of PRAC access in Australia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Aged care
  • long-term care
  • projection
  • utilization rate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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