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4430.0 - Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2012 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2013   
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EXPLANATORY NOTES

On this page:
1. Survey Overview
2. Survey Design and Operation
3. Data Quality
4. Interpreting the Results
5. Survey Output and Dissemination


1. SURVEY OVERVIEW

INTRODUCTION

1
This publication presents first results from the 2012 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) conducted throughout Australia from 5 August 2012 to 2 March 2013. This is the seventh comprehensive national survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to measure disability, following similar surveys in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003 and 2009.

2
The aims of the survey were to:

  • measure the prevalence of disability in Australia
  • measure the need for support of older people and those with disability
  • provide a demographic and socio-economic profile of people with disability, older people and carers compared with the general population
  • estimate the number of and provide information about people who provide care to people with disability, long-term health conditions and older people.
3 The main concepts relating to disability are each defined separately within the Glossary. These are:
  • disability
  • long-term health condition
  • specific limitation or restriction
  • core activity limitation and levels of restriction
  • need for assistance.
4 The survey collected information from three target populations:
  • people with disability
  • older people (i.e. those aged 65 years and over)
  • people who care for persons with disability, long-term health conditions or older people
5 A description of the type of information collected from each of the three target populations is provided in the Survey Design and Operation chapter.

6
The survey also collected a small amount of information about people not in the target populations, allowing for comparison of demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the target populations with the general population.


SCOPE OF THE SURVEY

7
The scope of SDAC was persons in both urban and rural areas in all states and territories, living in both private and non-private dwellings (including persons in cared-accommodation), but excluding:
  • diplomatic personnel of overseas governments
  • persons whose usual residence was outside Australia
  • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependents) stationed in Australia
  • persons living in very remote areas, and
  • households in Indigenous Community Frame (ICF) Collection Districts (CDs)
8 This is the first time the survey has excluded households in ICF CDs from its estimates, namely in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. This exclusion has minimal impact on Australia level estimates. However, it could have an impact on Northern Territory estimates, as around 10% of Northern Territory households that were previously included are now excluded. Most of the ICF CDs are located in very remote areas of Australia.


COVERAGE

9
The coverage of SDAC was the same as the scope except that the following (small) populations were not enumerated for operational reasons:
  • persons living in boarding schools
  • persons living in gaols or correctional institutions.
10 Rules were applied to maximise the likelihood that each person in coverage was associated with only one dwelling and thus had one chance of selection.

11
Usual residents of selected private dwellings and non-private dwellings (excluding persons in cared-accommodation) were included in the survey unless they were away on the night of enumeration and were likely to be away for the remainder of the enumeration period. This was designed to avoid multiple selection of a person who might be spending time, for instance, in a short-term caravan park, and be eligible for selection there and at their usual residence.

12
Visitors to private dwellings were excluded from coverage as the expectation was that most would have their chance of selection at their usual residence.

13
Occupants of cared-accommodation establishments in the scope of the survey were enumerated if they had been, or were expected to be, a usual resident of an establishment for three months or more.

2. SURVEY DESIGN AND OPERATION

SURVEY DESIGN

1
Multi-stage sampling techniques were used to select the sample for the survey. After sample loss, the household sample included approximately 27,400 private dwellings and 500 non-private dwellings, while the cared-accommodation sample included approximately 1,000 health establishments.

Table 1.1 HOUSEHOLD COMPONENT (Private dwellings), Response rates

Number
%
Fully responding or adequately responding
Fully responding
19 327
63.3
Adequately responding
8 083
26.5
Total
27 410
89.8
Non response
Full refusal
512
1.7
Full non-contact
1 426
4.7
Other
1 176
3.9
Total
3 114
10.2
Total
30 524
100.0

Table 1.2 HOUSEHOLD COMPONENT (Non-private dwellings), Response rates

Number
%
Fully responding or adequately responding
Fully responding
402
62.4
Adequately responding
116
18.0
Total
518
80.4
Non response
Full refusal
14
2.2
Full non-contact
66
10.2
Other
46
7.1
Total
126
19.6
Total
644
100.0

Table 1.3 CARED-ACCOMMODATION COMPONENT, Response rates

Number
%
Responding establishments
999
87.5
Non-responding establishments
143
12.5
Total
1 142
100.0


2
After exclusions due to scope and coverage, the final combined sample was 79,164 persons, comprised of 68,802 persons from the household component and 10,362 persons from the cared-accommodation component.


SELECTION PROCEDURES

Households

3
The private dwelling sample was chosen using an area based selection methodology, to ensure that all sections of the population living within the geographic scope of the survey were represented. The following steps were undertaken to determine the sample:
  • Each state and territory was divided into geographically contiguous areas called strata. Strata are formed by initially dividing Australia into regions, within state or territory boundaries, which basically correspond to the statistical division or subdivision levels of the Australian Standard Geographical Classification.
  • These regions are then divided into Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) in state capital city statistical divisions (metropolitan regions), and into major urban centres as well as minor urban and rural parts in non-metropolitan regions.
  • These smaller regions are then placed into different groups (within the division or subdivision) based on dwelling density to form strata.
  • Each stratum contains a number of Population Census Collection Districts (CDs) containing on average about 250 dwellings.
  • The sample was selected to ensure that each dwelling within the same stratum had the same probability of selection.
4 The sample of non-private dwellings (excluding cared-accommodation establishments) was chosen separately from the sample of private dwellings, based on a list containing all non-private dwellings in Australia.

5
Similar to the private dwelling selection process, the list of non-private dwellings was first amended to meet the scope and coverage requirements of the survey. The sample was then chosen from a list, which excluded dwellings in very remote areas, collection districts containing a discrete Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community, boarding schools, gaols and correctional institutions.

6
Where a non-private dwelling formed part of a group of dwellings, such as within a caravan park, each dwelling was given an equal chance of selection. This was achieved through ordering the dwellings within the group and applying a random selection technique.

Cared-accommodation component

7
The sample of non-private dwellings within cared-accommodation establishments was chosen separately from the sample of households. A frame was developed, including all Australian businesses who may provide adequate facilities to support long-term cared-accommodation.

8
A census was then conducted on the frame to determine in-scope businesses; those establishments who provide long-term cared-accommodation. This process is explained further in Data Collection for the cared-accommodation component.

9 Each in-scope establishment was given a chance of selection proportional to the average number of persons it accommodated. In order to identify the occupants to be included in the survey, they were ordered by the respondent (a representative of the business) and a random selection technique was applied.


DATA COLLECTION

10
Similar to the 2003 and 2009 surveys, the 2012 survey collected information about people living in households as well as those in cared-accommodation to ensure the survey represented a comprehensive picture of disability in Australia. This was achieved by conducting the survey in two separate parts: the household component and the cared-accommodation component, using different methods for data collection and processing.

11
The household component covered persons in:
  • private dwellings such as houses, flats, home units and townhouses
  • non-private dwellings such as hotels, motels, boarding houses, short-term caravan parks, and self-care components of retirement villages.
12 Smaller disability homes (with fewer than six persons) were considered to be private dwellings.

13
In this publication, persons in the household component of the survey are referred to as 'living in households'.

14
The cared-accommodation component covered residents of hospitals, nursing homes, hostels and other homes, who had been, or were expected to be, living there or in another health establishment for three months or more.

Household component

15
Data for the household component of the survey were collected by trained interviewers, who conducted computer-assisted personal interviews.

16
Households containing people with disability or those aged 65 years and over, were determined through a series of screening questions asked of a responsible adult in the selected household.

17
Households containing people who were carers of persons with a core activity limitation, living either in the same household or elsewhere, or who provided any care to persons living elsewhere, were identified using two methods:
  • through a series of screening questions asked of a responsible adult in the household and, when applicable,
  • through information provided by recipients of care during their personal interview.
18 Where possible, a personal interview was conducted with people identified in the above populations. Proxy interviews were conducted for:
  • children aged less than 15 years
  • those aged 15 to 17 years whose parent or guardian did not consent to them being personally interviewed
  • those incapable of answering for themselves due to illness, impairment, injury or language problems.
19 People with disability were asked questions relating to:
  • help and assistance needed and received for mobility, self-care, communication, cognitive or emotional tasks, health care, household chores, property maintenance, meal preparation, reading and writing tasks, and transport activities
  • use of aids and equipment
  • schooling restrictions, for those aged 5 to 20 years
  • employment restrictions, for those aged 15 to 64 years
  • satisfaction with the quality of services received and range of services available
  • computer and internet use
  • self-perception of health and wellbeing
  • access and barriers to health care
  • social, community and civic participation
  • feelings of safety
  • experience of homelessness.
20 People aged 65 years and over with disability were asked questions relating to:
  • help and assistance needed and received for household chores, property maintenance, meal preparation, reading and writing tasks, and transport activities
  • satisfaction with the quality of services received and range of services available
  • computer and internet use
  • access and barriers to health care
  • social, community and civic participation
  • feelings of safety
  • experience of homelessness.
21 People who confirmed they were the primary carer of a person with disability were asked questions relating to:
  • the type of care they provide
  • the support available to them
  • self-perception of health and wellbeing
  • access and barriers to health care
  • social, community and civic participation
  • the effect that the caring role has on their lives, relating to their own health, wellbeing and work force participation
  • their attitudes to, and experience of, their caring role, collected via a self-enumeration form.
22 Basic demographic and socio-economic information was collected for all people in the household. This information was generally provided by a responsible adult in the household, or if preferred, by personal interview of each respondent.

Cared-accommodation component

23
The cared-accommodation component was enumerated in two stages using a mail-based methodology directed to administrators of selected health establishments.

24
The first stage involved a census of all known health establishments in Australia. These businesses were sent an approach letter from the ABS, detailing their selection and the requirement for a suitable employee of their establishment to complete a web-based Contact Information Form. This form collected the name and role of a contact officer for the establishment, whether the establishment offered cared-accommodation to occupants on a long-term basis (i.e. for a period of three months or more), the current number of occupants within the cared-accommodation component, and the type of establishment.

25
The second stage was based on a sample of the health establishments that indicated their ability to provide long-term cared-accommodation in stage one. Each establishment was given a likelihood of selection relative to the number of long-term occupants they had reported. If a health establishment was selected, the nominated contact officer was required to select a sample of occupants in their establishment, following the instructions provided. The contact officer then completed a separate questionnaire for each selected occupant.

26
The range of data collected in the cared-accommodation component was narrower than in the household component as some topics were not suitable for collection through a proxy or were irrelevant to those residing in cared-accommodation.

3. DATA QUALITY

PROCESSING PROCEDURES

Collection

1
A number of editing techniques were implemented within the computer-assisted survey instrument to assist with processing data collected by the personal interviews, such as:
  • the programming of 'edits' relating to the range and consistency of answers, which would prompt interviewers to check the correctness of responses and would not allow implausible results to be accepted
  • the inclusion of pick lists and coders, resulting in a high proportion of coding being automated at the time of data collection.
Coding of Long-term Health Conditions

2
The majority of reported long-term health conditions were automatically coded to a list of approximately 1000 health conditions, within the computer-assisted personal interview. Those conditions that could not be automatically coded at the time of data collection were reviewed on a case by case basis by ABS employees during post-collection editing.

3
The code list used for the 2012 SDAC was similar to that used in previous surveys, with some minor updates. Conditions classified at the full level of detail are not generally available for output from the survey, however, they can be regrouped in various ways for output. The output classification, developed for the SDAC, is based on the International Classification of Diseases: 10th Revision (ICD-10). For a concordance of codes used in the 2012 SDAC with the ICD-10 please refer to the Long-term Health Conditions spreadsheet available in the the Downloads tab.

Editing

4
An extensive range of edits and quality checks were performed on the aggregated data file, after the completion of data collection. These included:
  • ensuring there were no contradictory responses and that relationships between items were within acceptable limits
  • identifying cases which, although not necessarily errors, were sufficiently unusual or close to specified limits as to warrant examination
  • a review of incomplete data and responses that could not be automatically coded at the time of collection, to determine if these responses could be coded or categorised appropriately.

WEIGHTING, BENCHMARKING AND ESTIMATION

Weighting

5
Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each enumerated person. The weight is a value which indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

6
The first step in calculating weights for each person is to assign an initial weight, which is equal to the inverse of the probability of being selected in the survey. For example, if the probability of a person being selected in the survey was 1 in 300, then the person would have an initial weight of 300 (that is, they represent 300 people).

7
The responses from persons in the cared-accommodation component and persons in the private dwelling and non-private dwelling (other than cared-accommodation) components of the survey were weighted together in order to represent the entire in-scope population.

Benchmarking

8
The weights were calibrated to align with independent estimates of the population, referred to as benchmarks, in designated categories of sex by age by area of usual residence. Weights calibrated against population benchmarks ensure that the survey estimates conform to the distribution of the population rather than to the distribution within the sample itself. Calibration to population benchmarks helps to compensate for over or under-enumeration of particular categories of persons which may occur due to either the random nature of sampling or non-response.

9
The survey was benchmarked to the estimated resident population (ERP) in each state and territory, excluding those living in very remote areas of Australia and those living in a collection district in a non-very remote area containing one or more discrete Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities, at 30 October 2012. The SDAC estimates do not (and are not intended to) match estimates for the total Australian population obtained from other sources (which may include persons living in very remote parts of Australia and persons living in collection districts that contain one or more discrete Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities).

Estimation

10
Survey estimates of counts of persons are obtained by summing the weights of persons with the characteristic of interest. Estimates of non-person counts (e.g. days away from work) are obtained by multiplying the characteristic of interest with the weight of the reporting person and aggregating.

Age standardisation

11
Totals presented in Tables 1 and 2 comparing rates over time are shown as age-standardised percentages. Age standardisation has been undertaken using the direct method (see Technical Note). An age-standardised rate removes the effects of different age structures when comparing population groups or changes over time. A standard age composition is used, in this case the age composition of the 30 June 2001 ERP. The standardised rate is that which would have prevailed if the actual population had the standard age composition. Age-specific disability rates are multiplied by the standard population for each age group. The results are added and the sum calculated as a percentage of the standard population total to give the age-standardised rate. The standardised rates should only be used to identify differences between population groups and changes over time.


CONFIDENTIALITY


12 In accordance with the Census and Statistics Act, 1905, all published estimates are subjected to a confidentiality process before release. This process is undertaken to minimise the risk of identifying particular individuals, families, households or dwellings in aggregate statistics, through analysis of published data.

13
To minimise the risk of identifying individuals in aggregate statistics, a technique is used to randomly adjust cell values. This technique is called perturbation. Perturbation involves small random adjustment of the statistics and is considered the most satisfactory technique for avoiding the release of identifiable statistics while maximising the range of information that can be released. These adjustments have a negligible impact on the underlying pattern of the statistics.

14 After perturbation, a given published cell value will be consistent across all tables. However, adding up cell values to derive a total will not necessarily give the same result as published totals. The introduction of perturbation in publications ensures that these statistics are consistent with statistics released via services such as TableBuilder. Refer to paragraphs 14 and 15 of the Interpreting the Results chapter for a further illustration of how perturbed estimates will be published.


RELIABILITY OF ESTIMATES

15
All sample surveys are subject to sampling and non-sampling error.

16
Sampling error is a measure of the variability that occurs by chance because a sample, rather than the entire population, is surveyed. Since the estimates in this publication are based on information obtained from occupants of a sample of dwellings they are subject to sampling variability; that is they may differ from the figures that would have been produced if all dwellings had been included in the survey. For more information refer to the Technical Note.

17
Non-sampling error may occur in any data collection, whether it is based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Non-sampling errors occur when survey processes work less effectively than intended. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or in recording of answers by interviewers, and occasional errors in coding and processing data.

18
Non-response occurs when people cannot or will not cooperate, or cannot be contacted. Non-response can affect the reliability of results and can introduce a bias. The magnitude of any bias depends on the rate of non-response and the extent of the difference between the characteristics of those people who responded to the survey and those who did not.

19
The following methods were adopted to reduce the level and impact of non-response:
  • face-to-face interviews with respondents
  • the use of interviewers, where possible, who could speak languages other than English
  • follow-up of respondents if there was initially no response
  • weighting to population benchmarks to reduce non-response bias.
20 By careful design and testing of the questionnaire, training of interviewers, and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data collection and processing, other non-sampling error has been minimised. However, the information recorded in the survey is essentially 'as reported' by respondents, and hence may differ from information available from other sources, or collected using different methodology.


THE OUTPUT FILE

21
To produce tabular estimates and other outputs from the collected data, information from the survey was stored on an output file in the form of data items. In some cases, items were formed directly from information recorded in individual survey questions, in others, data items were derived from answers to several questions (e.g. the item ‘disability status’ is derived from responses to approximately 80 questions).

22
In designing the output data file, the aim was to create a file that was similar to the 2009 data file. The result is a ten level hierarchical output file, the structure of which is as follows:
  • household level, containing information about the household size and structure and household income details
  • family level, containing information about the family size and structure, including whether there is a carer and/or a person with disability in the family
  • income unit level, containing information about the income unit size and whether there is a primary carer in the income unit
  • person level, which is the main level, containing all demographic and socio-economic characteristics of the survey respondents, and most of the health and related information they provided
  • all conditions level, containing detailed information about the long-term health conditions reported in the survey
  • restrictions level, containing detailed information about the restrictions reported in the survey
  • specific activities level, containing detailed information about how much support people need to perform specific activities, such as moving about their place of residence
  • recipient level, containing detailed information on respondents who need help or supervision with everyday activities because of their age or disability, including the types of assistance they need
  • broad activities level, containing detailed information about how much support people need to perform tasks at the broad activity level (e.g. mobility, communication)
  • assistance providers level, containing detailed information on people providing assistance to others because of age or disability, including the types of assistance they provide.
23 The first four levels are in a hierarchical relationship: a person is a member of an income unit, which is a member of a family, which is a member of a household. Levels five to nine are in a hierarchical relationship with the person level and level ten is in a hierarchical relationship with level nine. All person and lower level records link to a household, family and income unit record, however, lower level records only exist where the person is in the relevant population.

24
Data about households and families are contained as individual characteristics on person records. A full listing of output data items available from the survey can be accessed on the ABS web site, under the Downloads tab of this release.

4. INTERPRETING THE RESULTS

INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS

Measuring disability

1 Disability is a difficult concept to measure because it depends on a respondent's perception of their ability to perform a range of activities associated with daily living. Factors discussed below should also be considered when interpreting the estimates contained in this publication.

2
Information in the survey was based, wherever possible, on the personal response given by the respondent. However, in cases where information was provided by another person, some answers may differ from those the selected person would have provided. In particular, interpretation of the concepts of 'need' and 'difficulty' may be affected by the proxy-interview method.

3
A number of people may not have reported certain conditions because of:
  • the sensitive nature of the condition (e.g. alcohol and drug-related conditions, schizophrenia, other mental health conditions)
  • the episodic or seasonal nature of the condition (e.g. asthma, epilepsy)
  • a lack of awareness of the presence of the condition on the part of the person reporting (e.g. mild diabetes) or a lack of knowledge or understanding of the correct medical terminology for the condition
  • the lack of comprehensive medical information kept by their cared-accommodation establishment.
4 As certain conditions may not have been reported, data collected from the survey may have underestimated the number of people with one or more disabilities.

5
The need for help may have been underestimated as some people may not have admitted needing help because of such things as a desire to remain independent, or may not have realised help was needed with a task because help had always been received with that task.

6
The criteria by which people assessed whether they had difficulty performing tasks may have varied. Comparisons may have been made with the ability of others of a similar age, or with the respondent's own ability when younger.

7
The criteria used to identify disability and disability status has not changed between 2009 and 2012.

8
The different collection methods used (personal interview for households, and administrator completed forms for cared-accommodation) may have had some effect on the reporting of need for assistance with core activities. As a result there may have been some impact on measures such as disability status. If so, this would have more impact on the older age groups because of their increased likelihood of being in cared-accommodation.

Primary carer completion of the self-enumeration form

9 In this survey, persons who confirmed they were the primary carer of a person with disability were also asked to complete a self-enumeration form which asked questions relating to their attitudes to, and experience of, their caring role. Self-enumeration is seen as the most appropriate method of achieving response to these topics, due to the personal nature of the questions.

10 Some data items in this publication, which relate to primary carers, are derived from questions answered in the self-enumeration form. In 2012, these forms had moderately high levels of non-response, described as the 'not stated' population. This represented approximately 25% of the estimated population of primary carers.

11 Non-response introduces the potential for bias if those who did respond were inherently different to the total population of primary carers. However, analysis of 2012 data showed there were no substantial differences between the characteristics of primary carers who responded and all primary carers. For further information on survey non-response see paragraphs 15 to 20 in the Data Quality chapter of the Explanatory Notes.

12 In this publication, 'not stated' responses have been excluded from both the numerator and the denominator for items derived from the primary carers' self enumeration form. Proportions have been calculated excluding these 'not stated' responses. Users should take this into consideration when reviewing output derived from the self-enumeration form.

Northern Territory estimates

13 Changes to the scope of this survey from 2009 to 2012 will impact estimates for the Northern Territory. The amended scope is described in the Survey Overview chapter of the Explanatory Notes (paragraphs 7 and 8). Households in excluded ICF CDs contribute to around 10% of Northern Territory households, as such, estimates in the 2012 publication are not comparable to the 2009 survey. Estimates displayed as proportions are comparable with previous surveys.

Adjustment of estimates

14 The random adjustment of estimates, by perturbation, for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality, may result in the sum of components not equalling the total, or subtotal. In these cases, the difference between the sum of components and its total will be small and will not impact the overall information value of the estimate for the total or any individual component. Where a footnote is not included on an estimated total, it should be assumed that any discrepancy between the total and the sum of its components is due to the effects of rounding or perturbation.

15 In some instances it is expected that a published total will not equal the sum of its components. For example:
  • When the total includes units that represent a component that has not been published. In these cases the total will include a footnote detailing the inclusion of these units, for example:
    "This total includes 'Time spent caring' not stated"
  • When a unit can contribute to more than one component. This is commonly referred to as 'multiple response output' and in these cases the total will include a footnote detailing the nature of the output, for example:
    "Total may be less than the sum of the components as persons may have both a core activity limitation and a schooling or employment restriction".

CLASSIFICATIONS


16
Long-term health conditions described in this publication were categorised to an output classification developed for the SDAC, based on the International Classification of Diseases: 10th Revision (ICD-10). For a concordance of codes used in the 2012 SDAC with the ICD-10 please refer to the Long-term Health Conditions spreadsheet on the Downloads tab. This classification, with some minor amendments, has been used for the 2003, 2009 and 2012 surveys.

17
Country of birth was classified according to the Standard Australian Classification of Countries, Second edition, 2008 (cat. no. 1269.0).

18
Main language spoken at home was classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Languages, 2005-06 (cat. no. 1267.0).

19
Education data were classified according to the Australian Standard Classification of Education (ASCED), 2001 (cat. no. 1272.0).

20
Similar to previous collections of the SDAC, remoteness areas were classified according to the Statistical Geography: Volume 1 - Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC), 2006 (cat. no. 1216.0).

21
For the 2012 survey, an approximate concordance is available to the more recent Australian Statistical Geography Standard (ASGS): Volume 1 - Main Structure and Greater Capital City Statistical Areas, 2011 (cat. no. 1270.0.55.001).

Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA)

22
Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA) is a suite of four summary measures that have been created from 2011 Census information. Each index summarises a different aspect of the socio-economic conditions of people living in an area. The indexes provide more general measures of socio-economic status than is given by measures such as income or unemployment alone.

23
SEIFA uses a broad definition of relative socio-economic disadvantage in terms of people's access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society. While SEIFA represents an average of all people living in an area, it does not represent the individual situation of each person. Larger areas are more likely to have greater diversity of people and households.

24
For more detail, see the Census of Population and Housing: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFA), Australia, 2011 (cat. no. 2033.0.55.001).


ROUNDING

25
Following the adjustment of estimates through perturbation, the estimates presented in this publication have been rounded. As a result, sums of components may not add exactly to totals.

26
Proportions presented in this publication are based on unrounded figures. Calculations using rounded figures may differ from those published.


MAKING COMPARISONS BETWEEN SURVEYS OVER TIME

27
Much of the content of the seven disability surveys conducted by the ABS in 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2009 and 2012 is comparable. There are differences, however, as later surveys have attempted to obtain better coverage of disability and of specific tasks and activities previously considered too sensitive for a population survey. A full listing of output data items available from the 2012 survey can be accessed on the ABS web site, under the Downloads tab of this release.

Changes between surveys


Identification of the primary carer population


28
Prior to determining a primary carer, this survey identifies those people who provide the most informal assistance to someone else, based on responses provided by either the responsible adult responding for the household or the recipient of care. These people are known as 'possible primary carers'. Possible primary carers are only confirmed as primary carers if they complete an interview, in person or by proxy, and meet the following criteria:
  • have been providing help, or are likely to provide help, for at least six months
  • provide help with one or more tasks associated with the core activities of mobility, self-care and communication, and
  • feel they provide the most care to the recipient for those activities.
29 In 2009, the survey instrument allowed for some instances where a possible primary carer was not identified and, therefore, could not be confirmed as a primary carer. This occurred when a recipient identified an informal carer as providing assistance for one or more core activities, but in each activity this person was considered to be a secondary provider, behind the same formal carer.

30 In 2012, the identification process for possible primary carers changed to only require a carer to provide the most informal assistance for core activities overall, regardless of whether they were the secondary provider of this assistance. This change was found to increase the number of possible primary carers identified, however the overall number of primary carers identified was not affected.

Older persons aged 65 years and over


31
In 2012, the definition of an older person changed to 65 years and over, from 60 years and over in the 2009 survey. The increase of age for older persons was driven by social factors such as increases in life expectancy and changes to aged care policy and the retirement age.

Updated items

32
In 2012, some existing data items were updated to improve output quality, consistency with other ABS surveys and to reflect changes in survey design. The following modules changed significantly between the 2009 and 2012 surveys. In some instances, these changes may impact upon the comparability of data items across previous surveys.
  • Social, community and civic participation
  • Where possible, social and community participation related data items were updated to align with those output from the 2010 General Social Survey (cat. no. 4159.0), allowing comparison between the social, community and civic inclusion of the general population and that of persons with disability, older persons and primary carers.
  • In 2009, primary carers that were not aged and did not have a disability (i.e. those aged between 15 and 59 years of age, without disability) were not asked about their social and community participation without the person they cared for. The 2012 survey was developed to collect this information, allowing for a comparison of participation, without the recipient of care, across the whole primary carer population.
  • Aids used to communicate with others
  • Terminology relating to communication aids was updated to reflect technological advances. In particular, the category 'Fax machine' has been replaced with 'Email or internet'.
  • Income
  • A number of minor changes were made to income data items in order to align this survey with the standard outputs from the Labour Force Survey (cat. no. 6202.0).
  • Transport
  • Data items relating to transport within the previous fortnight and a person's most recent journey were only asked of people aged 15 years and over in 2012, compared with 5 years and over in 2009.
New items

33
In 2012, a number of new questions and survey modules were included in the household questionnaire. The new output items produced from these questions are detailed by topic, as follows.

Computer and internet use
  • Data items that align with the Multipurpose Household Survey (MPHS) topic Household Use of Information Technology, 2010-11 (cat. no. 8146.0).
  • Whether used the Internet at home in the last 12 months
  • Whether the Internet accessed at other sites in the last 12 months
  • Activities performed using the Internet at home in the last 12 month
Social, community and civic participation
  • Data items that more closely align with those output from the 2010 General Social Survey (cat. no. 4159.0).
  • Whether usually attended main cultural, sport, social or support activity alone
  • Whether actively involved in community support groups in last 12 months
  • Whether actively involved in civic or governance groups in last 12 months
  • Active involvement in group(s) in the last 12 months by type of organisation: community
  • Active involvement in group(s) in the last 12 months by type of organisation: governance / civic
  • Non-visit forms of contact used with family / friends not living in same household in last three months
  • Whether had online phone contact with family / friends not living in same household in last three months
  • Whether wants more contact with family / friends not living in same household
Access and barriers to health services
  • Data items regarding access and barriers to health services that, where possible, align with the MPHS topic Patient Experience, 2012-13 (cat. no. 4839.0).
  • Private Health
    • Whether has private health insurance
    • Type of private health cover
    • Type of government concession cards
  • General practitioner (GP) Services
    • Whether seen a GP for own health in last 12 months
    • Whether waited longer than felt acceptable to get an appointment with a GP in last 12 months
    • Unmet need for GP services in last 12 months
    • All reasons did not see GP when needed to
    • Main reason did not see GP when needed to
    • Whether delayed seeing or did not see GP in last 12 months because of the cost
    • Whether saw GP for urgent medical care for own health in last 12 months
    • Length of time between making appointment and seeing GP for most recent urgent medical care
  • Medical Specialist
    • Whether seen a medical specialist for own health in last 12 months
    • Unmet need for services of a medical specialist in the last 12 months
    • All reasons did not see medical specialist when needed to
    • Main reason did not see medical specialist when needed to
    • Whether waited longer than felt acceptable to get appointment with medical specialist
    • Whether received a written referral to a specialist by a GP in last 12 months
    • Whether needed to see a medical specialist for own health in the last 12 months
  • Three or more (3+) health professionals (HPs)
    • Whether seen three or more health professionals for the same condition in last 12 months
    • Whether health professional helped coordinate care when saw 3+ HPs for one condition in last 12 months
    • Health professional who helped coordinate care most when saw 3+ HPs for one condition in last 12 months
    • Extent coordination of care helped for time saw 3+ HPs in last 12 months
    • Issues caused by lack of communication between HPs for any time saw 3+ HPs in last 12 months
  • Emergency
    • Whether been to hospital emergency department for own health in last 12 months
    • Number of times been to hospital emergency department for own health in last 12 months
    • Whether felt GP could have provided care for most recent time went to emergency department
    • All reasons went to hospital emergency department instead of GP on most recent occasion
    • Main reason went to hospital emergency department instead of GP on most recent occasion
  • Hospital
    • Whether been admitted to hospital in last 12 months
    • Number of times admitted to hospital in last 12 months
    • Unmet need for hospital admission in the last 12 months
    • All reasons did not go to hospital when needed to
    • Main reason did not go to hospital when needed to
    • Whether delayed going or did not go to hospital because of cost in last 12 months
  • Dental
    • Whether seen dentist, dental hygienist or dental specialist for own health in last 12 months
    • Number of times visited dental professional for own health in last 12 months
    • Type of clinic visited for most recent time saw a dental professional
    • Whether delayed seeing or did not see a dental professional because of cost in last 12 months
    • Unmet need for dental services in the last 12 months
    • All reasons did not see dental professional when needed to
    • Main reason did not see dental professional when needed to
    • Whether been on a public dental waiting list in last 12 months
    • Length of time on public dental waiting list before receiving dental care
Experience of homelessness
  • Data items relating to experience of being without a permanent place to live and homelessness, some of which align with equivalent items from the 2010 General Social Survey (cat. no. 4159.0).
  • Whether ever experienced being without a permanent place to live
  • All situations ever experienced because did not have a permanent place to live
  • All situations experienced when most recently without a permanent place to live
  • Number of times without a permanent place to live
  • Times since last without a permanent place to live
  • All reasons for ever being without a permanent place to live
  • All reasons for most recent experience without a permanent place to live
  • Length of time most recently been without a permanent place to live
  • Whether sought assist from service organisation during most recent experience being without a permanent place to live
  • Type of service organisation contacted during most recent experience being without permanent place to live
  • All reasons did not seek assist from a service organisation during most recent experience being without permanent place to live
  • Whether service organisation was of assistance during most recent experience being without permanent place to live
  • Whether ever experienced homelessness
  • Whether most recent experience without a permanent place to live was homelessness
  • Whether experienced homelessness within the last ten years

Feelings of safety
  • Data items regarding a person's feelings of safety in different situations were included and, where possible, will be comparable with data items for the 2010 General Social Survey (cat. no. 4159.0).
  • Feelings of safety home alone during the day
  • Feelings of safety home alone after dark
  • Feelings of safety walking alone in local area after dark

Satisfaction with the range of disability service options and the quality of support received
  • Data items assessing a person's level of satisfaction with assistance received from organised services were included. These outputs measure satisfaction with the quality of assistance received and the range of service options available, from organised services, for persons with disability, for each of the broad activities, excluding communication. Data about communication assistance is only collected by proxy, which thereby precludes the collection of any attitudinal data about communication assistance. In addition, data items were included to assess primary carer satisfaction with the quality of assistance received and the range of service options available, from organised services, to aid in their caring role.
  • Assistance needed
    • Satisfaction with quality of assistance received for activities from organised services in last six months
    • Satisfaction with the range of organised services available for assistance with activities
  • Assistance needed - Mobility
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: mobility
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with mobility tasks
  • Assistance needed - Self-care
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: self-care
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with self-care tasks
  • Assistance needed - Cognitive/emotional
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: cognitive/emotional
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with cognitive/emotional tasks
  • Assistance needed - Health care
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: health care
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with health care tasks
  • Assistance needed - Household chores
    • Satisfaction with quality or organised services received in last six months: household chores
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with household chores
  • Assistance needed - Meal preparation
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: meal preparation
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with meal preparation
  • Assistance needed - Property maintenance
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: property maintenance
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with property maintenance
  • Assistance needed - Reading and writing
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: reading and writing
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with reading and writing
  • Assistance needed - Transport
    • Satisfaction with quality of organised services received in last six months: transport
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to assist with transport
  • Primary carer - Support access
    • Satisfaction with quality of assistance received from organised services to primary carer in last six months
    • Satisfaction with range of organised services available to primary carers
    • Satisfaction with quality of respite care in the last three months

5. SURVEY OUTPUT AND DISSEMINATION

DATA AVAILABILITY


1 It is planned that results from the 2012 SDAC will be available in the form of:
  • the Summary of Findings publication, including a set of data cubes (spreadsheet format) containing a broad selection of national estimates
  • a set of data cubes containing a broad selection of estimates for each state and territory
  • a Confidentialised Unit Record File (CURF)
  • a TableBuilder product
  • a number of supplementary themed publications, and
  • tables produced on request to meet specific information requirements from the survey.
Results for states

2 A sub-set of tables in a spreadsheet format similar to those in this publication will be produced for each state and territory (subject to standard error and confidentiality constraints and excluding time series tables). These tables will be available from the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au> from March 2014 under the Disability, Ageing and Carers: Summary of Findings, 2012 publication (cat. no. 4430.0).

Microdata


3
It is expected that a basic confidentialised unit record file (CURF) and Table Builder will be produced from the SDAC, subject to the approval of the Australian Statistician. The basic CURF will be available via CD ROM or Remote Access Data Laboratory (RADL) and the Table Builder will be accessible via the ABS website, using a secure log-on portal.

Supplementary publications

4 A set of themed publications will be released progressively from February 2014, using data from the 2012 SDAC.

Special tabulations


5
As well as releasing publications and standard products, the ABS can make available special tabulations, on request and with an associated fee.

Other products


6
The Summary of Findings, these Explanatory Notes and the media release are available free of charge on the ABS website <www.abs.gov.au>.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


7
ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated; without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act, 1905.

RELATED PUBLICATIONS


8 Previous ABS publications relating to disability, ageing and carers:

Disability, Ageing and Carers: User Guide, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4431.0.55.001)
Disability, Ageing and Carers, Australia: Summary of Findings, 2009 (cat. no. 4430.0)
Disability, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4446.0)
Profiles of Disability, Australia, 2009 (cat. no. 4429.0)
Caring in the Community, 2009 (cat. no. 4436.0)
A Profile of Carers in Australia, 2008 (cat. no. 4448.0)
People with a Need for Assistance - A Snapshot, 2006 (cat. no. 4445.0)

9 Other ABS publications which may be of interest include:

Australian Social Trends (cat. no. 4102.0)
Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0)
Australian Health Survey: Updated Results, 2011-2012 (cat. no. 4364.0.55.003)
Household Income and Income Distribution, Australia, 2011-2012 (cat. no. 6523.0)
Private Hospitals, Australia, 2011-2012 (cat. no. 4390.0)
General Social Survey: Summary Results, Australia, 2010 (cat. no. 4159.0)
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey, 2008 (cat. no. 4714.0)
Census of Population and Housing, 2011


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Commonwealth of Australia 2014

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