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ACAT Assessment - aged care assessment questions and answers

We answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the ACAT assessment to help you prepare for this crucial step in accessing aged care services that best suit your specific circumstances.

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Understanding the ACAT assessment
Aged care resident talks to a WMQ staff about ACAT and aged care services

ACAT overview

ACAT stands for Aged Care Assessment Team. It is a team that assesses individuals' care needs to determine eligibility for aged care services.

An ACAT assessment (Aged Care Assessment Team assessment) is a comprehensive evaluation conducted in Australia to determine an individual's eligibility for government-funded aged care services, such as residential aged care, home care packages, respite care, or transition care. The assessment is conducted by a team of health professionals who specialise in aged care. Learn more on 'What is an ACAT Assessment?'

My Aged Care is a government agency designed to assist individuals and their families in navigating the aged care system in Australia. The ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) are specialised teams of healthcare professionals that conduct assessments as part of the My Aged Care process. These assessments determine an individual's eligibility and care needs for government-funded aged care services provided through My Aged Care. 

The purpose of an ACAT assessment is to comprehensively evaluate an individual's care needs and determine their eligibility for government-funded aged care services in Australia. The assessment is person-centred, taking into account their health conditions, mobility, daily living activities, and support requirements. It aims to ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate and tailored care based on their assessed needs, whether it be through Home Care Packages, residential aged care, respite care, or other aged care programs. By identifying the level of care needed, the ACAT assessment helps individuals access the right services and support to maintain their independence, improve their well-being, and enhance their quality of life during their aging journey.

The role of the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) is to assess individuals' care needs and determine their eligibility for government-funded aged care services. ACAT plays a crucial role in ensuring individuals receive appropriate care and support based on their assessed requirements.

To request an ACAT assessment, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. They will guide you through the process and, if eligible, they will refer your request to the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) in your area. If you prefer to request it online, visit My Aged Care’s Assessment Application tool. It takes approximately 15–20 minutes to complete. Alternatively, your social worker, doctor, or other health professionals can organise this for you on your behalf.

Yes, an ACAT assessment is mandatory to access government-funded aged care services in Australia, such as such as residential aged care, home care packages, respite care, or transition care. The assessment determines your care needs and eligibility. For privately funded arrangements, the need for an ACAT assessment may not be mandatory. For CHSP funding, an ACAT assessment is not required to access support. It is advisable to consult with aged care providers or relevant professionals to understand the specific requirements and recommendations based on your specific needs and goals. 

ACAT can assess for various types of aged care services, including but not limited to Home Care Packages (HCP), residential aged care (nursing homes), respite care, transition care, and other government-funded aged care programs. The assessment helps determine the most suitable services based on individual care needs.

Yes, ACAT can assess for residential aged care placement. The assessment helps determine if an individual requires residential care and assesses their care needs to recommend the appropriate level of support. This enables access to government-funded residential aged care services in suitable facilities.

If your care needs change after the ACAT assessment, you have the option to request a review of your current plan. Contact My Aged Care or your local ACAT team to inform them of the changes in your circumstances. They will review your updated care needs and, if required, conduct a new assessment to determine if you require a different level of care or additional support services. A review ensures that your care plan remains aligned with your current requirements, enabling you to access the appropriate level of care and support as your needs evolve over time.

No, the ACAT assessment process is free of charge. It is a government-funded service designed to assess your care needs and determine your eligibility for aged care services without any cost to you.

Yes, ACAT assessments are available for individuals living in rural or remote areas. The Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) are present throughout Australia, including rural and remote regions. These teams are committed to providing equitable access to aged care services, ensuring that people in all areas can receive a comprehensive assessment of their care needs. Whether you reside in a city, regional town, or a remote community, you can reach out to My Aged Care or your local ACAT team to request an assessment and access aged care services.

A RAS assessment is the Regional Assessment Service that determines eligibility for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). It's for lower-level care needs entry-level support services, such as help with household tasks or personal care. ACAT assessment evaluates higher-level care needs for Home Care Packages (HCP) and residential aged care. To determine whether you need a RAS or ACAT assessment, and to initiate the assessment process, contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. They will guide you through the appropriate assessment based on your care requirements.

Yes, after the assessment the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will discuss possible accommodation options that are suitable for the person with dementia. Depending on your circumstances, they may suggest facilities that would be appropriate for providing dementia care. 

The ACAT assessment

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An ACAT assessment typically takes place in the following locations:

  • Over the phone: some assessors may offer this option for individuals who are unable to attend in person due to health or mobility issues, for those living in remote or rural areas, or due to COVID concerns and resources available.
  • At your home: it allows assessors to observe your living environment and daily activities.
  • Healthcare facilities such as hospitals, aged care facilities, or other healthcare settings.

 The assessment location is often chosen based on your preferences, convenience, and individual circumstances. It aims to ensure a comfortable and accessible environment for the assessment process.

To prepare for an ACAT assessment, follow these steps:

  1. Gather Information: collect relevant health information, medical records, and medication details. Include any recent assessments or reports from healthcare professionals.
  2. Consider care needs: reflect on your daily living activities and care requirements. Think about any challenges you face and the type of support you need to maintain your independence.
  3. Be honest and open: During the assessment, be open and honest with the assessors. Share your care needs, challenges, and any concerns you or your family may have.
  4. Involve a support person: If you feel comfortable, have a family member, friend, or carer with you during the assessment. They can provide valuable insights and support.
  5. Prepare questions: think of any questions you have about aged care services, funding, or the assessment process. Write them down to ask the assessors.
  6. Be patient: The assessment may take some time, so be patient throughout the process. The assessors are there to ensure you receive appropriate care.

By preparing for the ACAT assessment, you can contribute to a comprehensive evaluation of your care needs, making it easier for the assessors to recommend the most suitable aged care services for you. 

An ACAT assessment typically takes around 45min to 2 hours. The duration may vary based on individual circumstances and the complexity of care needs. The assessors ensure a thorough evaluation to determine the appropriate level of care and support for the individual.

The ACAT assessment is conducted by a team of qualified health professionals. The team may include nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, or other relevant specialists. They possess the expertise and training to assess aged care needs and determine eligibility for aged care services.

During the ACAT assessment, a team of qualified health professionals will review your health conditions, daily living activities, and support requirements. The assessors may ask questions, conduct interviews, and observe your functional abilities. It is essential to be honest and open during the assessment to ensure accurate evaluation. The outcome will determine the level of care you are eligible for, such as Home Care Packages (HCP) or residential aged care, based on your assessed needs.

 During the ACAT assessment, the following steps typically occur:

  1.  Introductions: the assessors introduce themselves and explain the assessment process.
  2. Information gathering: they collect relevant information about your health, medical history, and care needs.
  3. Daily living activities: they inquire about your ability to manage daily activities and tasks.
  4. Functional assessment: assessors observe your mobility and functional abilities.
  5. Medical records: they may review medical records or reports from healthcare professionals.
  6. Personal preferences: your preferences for care and lifestyle are taken into consideration.
  7. Support network: they may discuss your support network and involvement of family or carers.
  8. Questions: you can ask questions and seek clarifications during the assessment.
  9. Assessment outcome: after the assessment, you will receive a written report with the outcome, recommendations, and reference number
  10. Eligibility determination: the assessment determines your eligibility for aged care services, such as Home Care Packages or residential aged care.
  11. Service recommendations: based on your assessed needs, appropriate aged care services and support options will be recommended.

An ACAT assessor might ask you about:

  • Things you can do for yourself versus things that you find more difficult and need assistance with.
  • Your health, wellbeing, and lifestyle.
  • Your medications, dosage, and how you manage them.
  • Your balance and mobility.
  • Safety concerns or risks related to falls, accidents, or home environment.
  • What you and your family are most concerned about now and for the future.
  • Your social activities, hobbies, and interests.
  • Any emotional or psychological concerns, such as feelings of loneliness or depression.
  • Any formal or informal support you currently receive from family, friends, or community services.
  • Your expectations and goals regarding your future care and support.
  • Any specific preferences or considerations for the type of aged care services you may require.

Yes, you can have a family member, friend, or carer present during the ACAT assessment if you wish. Having a supportive companion with you can provide comfort and help share valuable insights about your care needs. The assessors welcome the presence of a trusted individual during the assessment process.

If health issues are a concern, then yes. This could be a family member, friend, carer, or advocate who can represent the applicant and provide information about their care needs. However, it's essential to inform the ACAT team beforehand and ensure they have the necessary authority or consent to act as a representative during the assessment process. The proxy will be required to provide their Medicare and contact details as well.
Your eligibility for aged care services is determined during the assessment through a thorough evaluation of your care needs. The assessors consider various factors, including your health conditions, mobility, daily living activities, and support requirements. They review medical records, conduct interviews, and observe your functional abilities. Based on this information, they assess whether you meet the criteria for accessing government-funded aged care services, such as Home Care Packages or residential aged care. The assessment is person-centred, ensuring your unique care needs and preferences are taken into account to determine the most suitable level of care and support.

No. During the ACAT assessment, the focus is on evaluating your care needs to determine your eligibility for aged care services. The income and assets assessment will be conducted at a later stage to determine the level of government subsidy you may be eligible for and the fees you may need to pay for the aged care services you receive.

While you may discuss your financial circumstances with the ACAT assessors during the assessment, you do not need to present a detailed income and assets list on the day of the assessment.

After the assessment

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Yes, you will receive a copy of the ACAT assessment outcome and recommendations. The assessors provide a written report that outlines the assessment findings, your eligibility for aged care services and the level of care recommended. This report helps you understand the outcome of the assessment and guides your access to appropriate aged care services.

The timing of receiving your ACAT assessment report can vary based on several factors, including the complexity of your assessment and the workload of the ACAT team. In general, you can expect to receive your ACAT assessment report within a few weeks after the assessment takes place. The report will be sent to you by mail or email, depending on your preferences and the practices of the ACAT team in your area. If there are any delays or if you have not received the report within a reasonable timeframe, you can contact the ACAT team or My Aged Care for an update on the status of your assessment report.

Once deemed eligible through an ACAT assessment, you will be placed on the government’s national waiting list until you are assigned a package. To find information on your place on the national waitlist and your expected wait time:

For most people, the expected wait times for approved Home Care Package levels are as follows: 

  • Level 1: 3-6 months
  • Level 2, 3 or 4: twelve months or longer.

If you are not eligible for a Home Care Package (HCP), there are other support options available to meet your care needs. You can consider the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP), which offers basic and entry-level support services to help you maintain independence and stay at home. Additionally, you can explore community-based programs, social support groups, and private care services that provide various levels of assistance tailored to your requirements. Self-funded respite care is another option that offers short-term support for you and your carer, providing them with a break while ensuring you receive the care you need. By exploring these alternative options, you can find suitable support services that address your specific circumstances and preferences.

After the assessment, finding and choosing an aged care service provider is made easy through My Aged Care. Their website offers a provider finder tool that allows you to search for approved service providers in your area. You can browse through the list, compare the services they offer, read reviews from other clients, and find providers that match your specific care needs and preferences. Once you've identified potential providers, you can contact them directly to discuss your requirements, ask questions, and arrange visits to their facilities if needed. Taking the time to research and communicate with different providers will help you make an informed decision and choose the one that best meets your care and lifestyle needs.

Yes, you can request a review or appeal of the ACAT assessment outcome if you disagree with the decision. Contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to initiate the review process, and they will guide you through the steps to ensure your concerns are considered and addressed.

You can provide feedback or raise concerns about the ACAT assessment process through My Aged by calling 1800 200 422. They offer channels to express your feedback, discuss any issues, or seek clarification. Your input is valuable and helps improve the assessment experience for others. They will guide you on how to express your concerns and provide necessary support and assistance.

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