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More drugs and less GPs in aged care homes

Aged care residents are less likely to see doctors and more likely to be prescribed anti-psychotic medication than those receiving assistance at home.

Troubling data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has been released as a royal commission investigates the scandal-prone aged care sector.

The institute found the median amount of days on antipsychotics for Australian aged care residents was 180 days in a year, despite the World Health Organisation's recommending it for 36 days.

Older Australians in aged care were also more likely to be hospitalised for fall-related injuries, but less likely to be taken to the emergency department.

The data comes after the Aged Care Royal Commission handed down a scathing interim report earlier this month, saying the sector was diminishing Australia as a nation.

It made three recommendations, including reducing the use of chemical restraints to control behaviour by residents.

Of the nearly 900,000 people aged 50 and over using aged care, the majority - more than 500,000 - used home care services.

Nearly 178,000 people aged 50 and over used permanent residential care, which also had the highest proportion - nearly 60 per cent - of users aged 85 and over.

Up to 8 per cent of people using a form of home based support were being prescribed at least one antipsychotic.

But this jumped to 28 per cent when it came to permanent aged care residents, the institute has found.

The royal commission recommended the government force aged care homes to publish their use of both chemical and physical restraints.

The institute said permanent aged care residents averaged one GP visit per fortnight but were less likely to have at least one GP visit than home care users - 92 per cent compared to up 98 per cent.

One in 10 people in home care were hospitalised for fall-related injuries, compared to six per cent getting home support, or two per cent for those not using aged care services.

People aged 85 and over in permanent care made up the largest proportion of residents over 50 hospitalised for falls.

© AAP 2019