The number of people receiving Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) rose by 40 per cent between 2002 and 2008.

The results of the Department of Health and Ageing’s 2008 Community Care Census show that 35,278 Australians were receiving CACPs in 2008, compared to just 25,410 in 2002.

Surprisingly, the 2008 census also showed a slight increase in the average number of care hours provided to CACP recipients.

The 2002 CACP Census, conducted by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), showed that CACP recipients received an average of 6.1 care hours but by 2008, the average care hours had increased to 6.5.

However, the 2008 report warned that any comparisons between the two figures needed to be “interpreted with caution”.

It said that a single question covered case management and care coordination in the 2002 Census but 10 different types of specified activity were used to record these areas in 2008.

“The change in question design may result in different responses which arise solely from the form of the question,” the report said.

According to the 2008 census, Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) clients received an average of 16.2 care hours per week and Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia (EACHD) clients received an average of 17.5 care hours per week.

Most CACP clients required assistance with activities like housework and shopping while EACH and EACHD clients also needed assistance in areas such as transport and medication.

Almost half of the National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP) clients received assistance from other programs.

Forty-three per cent were receiving services through the Home and Community Care (HACC) program and 22 per cent were receiving packaged care.

The Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler said the new data comes at an important time.

“The release of this publication is opportune, as its findings can assist the Productivity Commission in conducting the most comprehensive inquiry into aged care in decades,” he said.

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