The latest data on how long it takes to get a Home Care Package

It is the policy of the Australian Government and the wish of most people to remain in their home for as long as possible. 

To assist people who need care as they age, the government provides Home Care Packages, which it subsidises subject to a means-test. Before receiving in-home care, including a Home Care Package, a person needs to take an assessment to find out if they are eligible to receive a Home Care Package and the level of a package. 

Tim Hicks, Bolton Clarke's Executive General Manager Policy and Advocacy, has looked at answers given to Opposition Minister for Aged Care, Anne Ruston, by the Department of Health and Aged Care and the latest data from the Productivity Commission.  

He said it is "a bit over six months for most people and around 10+ months for the outliers" to get home care. 

He said the median wait (the middle value in a set of data) to be assessed for a Home Care Package is 17 days, an improvement on FY23 when the the average was 36 days. 

"We don't have trends for assessment wait times. We can see trends in the rate of assessments per person 65+ and this is pretty stable. The average age of the 65+ cohort is increasing so the rate of assessments should really be going up to keep pace with demand,” said Tim.

"17 days seems reasonable as a median. But the issue here is really about the outliers. Some states have longer waits than others. But I suspect the variance would get even bigger if it could be broken down region by region."

The mean wait time after being assessed for a Home Care Package to be assigned a package is 132 days, with the 90th percentile 182 days in FY23.

"This is a much shorter wait than in previous years, which had median wait times to be assigned a package of up to 405 days in FY21. However, wait times are increasing again in FY24 as the release of new packages has slowed,” Tim said.

The median wait time to get services after being assigned a Home Care Package is 38 days, with the 90th percentile 76 days.

"Both the median and 90th percentile results have been pretty stable over time. Maybe up a little bit, but only by a few days. This runs counter to anecdotal feedback that it's getting hard to find a provider,” he adds.

Put the information together and the median wait time to receive a Home Care Package is slightly over six months. For some regions it appears wait times are at least 298 days or almost 10 months.

"That's clearly still too long and getting longer. Although the extra time to get assessed and commence services is less than many anecdotal reports have suggested," Tim said.

The Australian Government has said it will introduce the Support at Home program to replace Home Care Packages and the Short-Term Restorative Care Programme from 1 July 2025.

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A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.