3414.0 - Guide to Migrant Statistical Sources, 2011 (Edition 2)  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/03/2011   
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System for the Payment of Aged Residential Care (SPARC)


The System for the Payment of Aged Residential Care (SPARC) is an administrative collection managed by the Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). The collection contains information on residents of aged care facilities, their care requirements, and their admission and discharge dates.

Residential aged care was restructured in 1997-98. The two separate categories of residential aged care, nursing homes and hostels, were combined into a single program from 1st October 1997. As a result, the two previous data collection systems (the Nursing Home Payment System and the Commonwealth Hostel Information Payment System) were replaced by SPARC.

The data are collected as part of the administration of payments to providers of residential aged care. Primary users of the data are DoHA, its state and territory offices, Medicare Australia and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). The AIHW has published data on residential aged care places since 1998-99.


The scope of the collection is all persons who:

  • were living in a nursing home or hostel (now known only as residential care) at 1st October 1997 or who have since been admitted to residential care
  • have applied for admittance to residential care and at 1st October 1997 had a valid Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment , or
  • have previously been living in residential care and have since 'discharged', i.e. have left residential care.

Note: Data on care facilities receiving flexible funding under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aged Care Strategy are not available as their recipients are not included in the current national database.


Information is obtained from the 'Aged Care Client Record' which is completed by an ACAT delegate, in consultation with the applicant and signed by the applicant or someone on behalf of the applicant.

Data items include:
  • Residents of aged care facilities and their characteristics
  • sex
  • date of birth
  • marital status
  • pension status
  • Indigenous status
  • country of birth
  • preferred language
  • applicant's condition (dependency level)
  • additional care considerations (carer information)
  • resident's usual residence (prior to admission)
  • resident's living arrangements (prior to admission)
  • Providers of residential aged care and their characteristics
  • location (from Statistical Local Area level)
  • number and type of residents
  • date of admission, and admission type
  • date of discharge and discharge type
  • resident absences (hospital and social leave)

  • State/territory
  • Statistical Division
  • Statistical Subdivision
  • Statistical Local Area
  • Local Government Area

The data are disseminated on the basis of the location of the residential aged care facility. The facility's address is geocoded to a Statistical Local Area (SLA).

Note: The person's area of usual residence immediately prior to admission to residential aged care is not collected. The Aged Care Client Record includes address information for where the persons may be contacted at the time of their ACAT assessment, which may not be the same as their place of usual residence.


The data are included in DoHA's Annual Report and in a yearly AIHW publication, 'Residential aged care in Australia'. In 2003, the AIHW produced a report 'Client characteristics meta-data in residential aged care', which is also available online.


The website for the Department of Health and Ageing can be found at www.health.gov.au and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is found at www.aihw.gov.au.