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Case study 3: Protecting older Australians from harm

Our challenge

Identifying gaps in aged care data

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was established on 8 October 2018. Although the AIHW has a strong track record of developing, analysing and reporting ageing and aged care statistics, there are data gaps that need to be filled.

Our response

Contributing to vital data

We made major contributions to the Royal Commission in November 2018. Our expertise was sought at a statistical roundtable, along with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), to provide Commissioner Lynelle Briggs, AO with an understanding of the relevant data sources and headline data gaps.

The AIHW was called on as an expert witness in the opening set of hearings in February 2019 which ‘set the scene’ for subsequent hearings and associated activities. The evidence provided by our staff drew heavily on material that Counsel Assisting the Royal Commission obtained from our GEN—Aged Care Data website and our witness statement comprised around 30 pages of statements and nearly 1,000 pages of attachments.

We provided data and advice to the Office of the Royal Commission to support its research. For example, we analysed the 2016 National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey and presented information on:

  • a detailed breakdown on culturally and linguistically diverse care workers
  • the driving distance between the location where a person was assessed for aged careservices and the location where they first took up permanent residential aged care.

We are building and analysing a large linked data set covering all aged care programs, MBS, PBS, and deaths—all national—plus public and private hospital activity (admitted patient and emergency department) for Victoria and Queensland. This data set is designed to enable a comprehensive view of the interaction between the aged care and health systems. With the funding support from the Department of Health, we will publish a series of reports over the next 2 years on various aspects of this interaction.

Throughout our involvement with the Royal Commission we have collaborated closely with the Attorney-General's Department, the Department of Health, the ABS, the Office of the Royal Commission, and solicitors assisting the Australian Government.

Our results

Adding value to social policy

Our involvement with the Royal Commission has provided us with the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate the value of our work for informing core social policy.

We continue to provide data, information and statistical advice to support the work of the Office of the Royal Commission.