A RECORD total of $17.1 billion was spent on aged care in 2016-17.
This was a 5.7 per cent increase on the previous year with almost 70 per cent of funding for residential care, despite 75 per cent of people receiving aged care and support assistance in their own homes.
The figures are included in the 2016-17 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 recently tabled in Parliament.
"The report shows that the majority of people using aged care services are accessing home care," said Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt.
"Our aim is customer engagement through personalisation, with improved services and access to allow more people to stay in their own homes as they age, putting downward pressure on growing residential aged care requirements."
At June 30, 15 per cent of Australia's population, or 3.8 million people, were aged 65 years and over and two 2 per cent, or 499,000 people, were 85 or over, said the report.
Mr Wyatt said some of the 2016-17 aged care milestones included:
- The commitment of $5.5 billion to the Commonwealth Home Support Program, to provide services for senior Australians to continue living in their own homes.
- A new Viability Supplement scheme to improve funding for remote residential care services and to eligible home care recipients, from 1 January 2017.
The Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms, introduced on February 27, giving customers control over who provided their home-based aged care services. During 2016-17, the number of approved home care providers grew by 41.5 per cent.
- The allocation of almost 10,000 new residential aged care places, nearly 500 restorative care beds and $64 million in capital grant funding to develop new or redevelop existing aged care services.
- A revamp of the the My Aged Care website and service finder tool.
- An additional 6,000 Level 3 and 4 home care packages made available to support people in need of higher care.
- The GEN Aged Care Data website launched in August 2017.
- The Legislated Review of Aged Care 2017 was received, making 38 recommendations for future aged care reform which are currently being considered by the Government.
- The introduction of unannounced residential aged care quality assessment visits, one of 10 recommendations of the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes.
- A special taskforce working to prepare an aged care workforce strategy, to ensure the right mix of professional nurses, carers and other qualified staff, to provide for older Australians in care.
- The new $25.7 million national Older Persons Advocacy Network.