Expected length of stay at residential aged care facilities in Australia: current and future

Jinhui Zhang*, Yanlin Shi, Guogui Huang

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study explores the changing patterns of the length of stay (LOS) at Australian residential aged care facilities during 2008–2018 and likely trends up to 2040. The expected LOS was estimated via the hazard function of exiting from such a facility and its heterogeneity by residents’ sociodemographic characteristics using an improved Cox regression model. Data were sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. In-sample modelling results reveal that the estimated LOS differed by age (in general, shorter for older groups), marital status (longer for the widowed) and sex (longer for females). In addition, the estimated LOS increased slowly from 2008–2009 to 2016–2017 but declined steadily thereafter. Out-of-sample predictions suggest that the declining trend of the estimated LOS will continue until 2040 and that the longest LOS (approximately 37 months) will be observed among widowed females aged 50–79 years. Relative uncertainty measures are provided. The results portray the current changing landscape and the future trend of residential aged care use in Australia, which can inform the development of optimised residential aged care policies to support ageing Australians more effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Population Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Ageing population
  • Aged care
  • Expected length of stay
  • Hazard function


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