Older Australians are waiting longer to enter residential aged care, with most waiting about five months after being approved for a spot by a health professional.
The median waiting time was 152 days for 2018/19, an increase from 121 days from the year before, a Productivity Commission report released on Wednesday.
The wait period has steadily increased in recent years, with a 105-day wait in 2016/17 and 84 days in 2015/16.
About 42 per cent of older people entered residential aged care within three months of being approved, the report on government services found.
A higher proportion is desirable, the commission says.
Older Australians deemed to have the highest levels of need are waiting nearly three years on average for home care packages after being approved.
The federal government spent more than $20 billion on aged care services over the last financial year, with the majority going towards residential care services.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has since pumped an extra $537 million to the sector after a damning interim report from the royal commission into the centre.
The extra boost has been earmarked to increase home care packages, reduce the use of chemical restraints and get younger people out of residential aged care.
Labor’s ageing and seniors spokeswoman Julie Collins says the long wait times show the government must do more to ensure older Australians can get the help they need, when they need it.
“Behind these shocking figures are the terrible stories of older Australians and their loved ones desperately trying to get care,” she said.
Data on physical restraints is not yet included in the Productivity Commission report as it’s not considered “mature” enough.
Data relating to the safety of aged care residents shows the rate of reportable assaults was 1.6 per cent, while the rate of missing residents was 0.6 per cent.
As at June 2019, there were more than 213,000 places in residential care services and more than 106,000 level one to four home care packages.