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Understanding the ACAT assessment

The ACAT assessment facilitates access to government-funded aged care services, such as Home Care Packages, residential aged care homes, short-term accommodation and respite care. This comprehensive evaluation process helps tailor personalized care plans best suited to individuals' unique circumstances.

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What is an ACAT assessment?

The ACAT assessment is a comprehensive evaluation conducted by the Australian government organisation 'My Aged Care' to determine an individual's eligibility for government-funded aged care services. It aims to ensure that individuals receive the most appropriate and tailored care based on their assessed needs.


The assessment takes into account the senior's:


General health and
medical history

Mental Health and
psychological needs

Social needs and
current support network

Mobility and physical requirements
(tasks carried out well and which are becoming a struggle)

Any special needs or concerns
(for instance, cultural beliefs, sexual orientations and language barriers).

The ACAT process

To check your eligibility for an assessment, you (or your carer) can:

If eligible for subsidised aged care, My Aged Care website will prompt you to apply online for an assessment.

What if I’m not eligible for aged care government funding?
Explore community-based programs, social support groups, respite care centres (including overnight care) or pay privately for home care via our Fee for Service options. You can also apply to pay privately to live at one of our residential aged care homes. Without government funding, the amount you pay will be higher.

To apply for an assessment:

With your permission, a family member, friend, or carer can complete your application online or talk on your behalf. If you have previously registered with My Aged Care, you cannot apply for an assessment online and will need to call My Aged Care. 

Have these at hand when applying:

  • Your Medicare card
  • Your contact details (address, telephone, and email address)
  • If you wish to set up a support person or someone to act on your behalf (optional), you will need their Medicare card number and contact details. If you want an organisation to support you, My Aged Care will have access to your organisation's details.
Depending on your care needs, My Aged Care will refer you to one of the two assessment teams below. Assessments are done over the phone, at your home or a healthcare facility. Consider having a support person such as a family member or your carer with you.

  • RAS (Regional Assessment Service) - It determines eligibility for the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) funding. It's for lower-level care and entry-level support services, such as help with household tasks or personal care. For CHSP, you’re usually told at the end of your assessment if approved for the funding. You will be given a referral code to start contacting service providers straight away.

  • ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) - It evaluates higher-level care needs for Home Care Packages, short-term care and residential aged care. Funding outcomes can take longer. You will need an income and assets assessment 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. 

For RAS assessment, you’re usually told at the end of your assessment if approved for the CHSP funding.

For ACAT assessments, you will receive a copy of the assessment outcome and recommendations within a few weeks after the assessment takes place. The assessors provide a written report that outlines:

  • The assessment findings.
  • Government-funded aged care services you’re approved for, with level of care recommended.
  • Your support plan.

Once deemed eligible through an assessment:

  • You will be placed on the government’s national waiting list until you are assigned a package.
  • This is prioritised based on the assessed care needs.
  • Higher-level care needs receive priority.
  • You will receive another letter when you are assigned a package. It outlines things like costs and fees, and how your services will be provided.
  • The letter will also include a unique referral code to be used to book services.

If you need services while you wait, contact us for help (online via the form below or call 1800 448 448). There are many ways to fund services while you wait for your Home Care Package

You’ll only have 56 days to choose a service provider once you’re assigned a package. Call us on 1800 448 448 once you receive your ACAT assessment report to discuss how we can support you and visit our facilities if applicable.

You will need to undergo an income test if you are eligible for:

  • Home Care Packages (Level 1, 2, 3 or 4)
  • Entry into a residential aged care facility

The income and assets assessment calculates the level of government subsidy you may be eligible for and the maximum fees you can be asked to pay towards the cost of your aged care services.

Once your assessment is complete, Services Australia will send you a Pre-commencement Letter that tells you if you need to pay a means tested care fee and/or accommodation costs. Take this letter with you to any discussions that you have with potential aged care homes to help you understand the cost of living in their home.

Note: You can get your means assessed at any time, even before you enter care. However, the outcome is only valid for 3 months. If you don’t enter care during this time, you will need to complete another assessment.

Completing your means assessment - Services Australia manages payments for a number of Australian government agencies, including My Aged Care. Services Australia can guide you on how and when to complete the income test. You can call them on 1800 227 475 or visit a service centre.

Whether you decide to choose Wesley Mission Queensland as your provider or if you prefer to explore approved services through My Aged Care website, make sure you:

  • Take the time to research. Communicating with different providers will help you make an informed decision and choose the one that best meets your care and lifestyle needs.
  • Contact the chosen service provider directly to discuss care arrangements, ask questions, arrange visits to their facilities if needed, and book the services you needs.

Remember, you will only have 56 days to choose a service provider once you are assigned a package. So don't wait, call us today on 1800 448 448 to discuss your needs and explore our services.  

Invoices and service reviews when you choose Wesley Mission Queensland as your provider

  • Each month we will send you a statement of activity from the previous month
  • You will also receive ongoing support and advice from your dedicated WMQ Care Team Leader
  • If your needs increase, your Care Team Leader will talk to you about your options.

Why choose Wesley Mission Queensland

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Care is at our heart

Be part of a warm community that supports your physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing. We will get to know you, and over time, build important bonds of trust.

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Our Eden approach to care

We are the only provider in QLD with aged care communities fully registered with The Eden Alternative™ philosophy of care.
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Support every step of the way

Our team is here to guide you and your family. If your needs increase, your Care Coordinator will talk to you about your options.

How to prepare for your ACAT assessment

Understanding how to prepare for a face-to-face ACAT assessment can help streamline the process and ensure you get the most out of this crucial process.

Compile a list of relevant information and documents you will need to take with you:

  • A form of ID (ID card, passport, driver’s licence or healthcare card)
  • Veteran Card (DVA card), if you have one
  • Your Medicare card (if you have someone representing you, their Medicare and other ID Card)
  • Personal details, such as address and contact details (if you have someone representing you, their personal details)
  • Referral from GP (general practitioner)
  • Medical history from GP and other specialists (such as chronic conditions, allergies and therapies you are undertaking)
  • List of medications you are taking (ask your GP)
  • Contact details from your GP and any other health professionals involved in your care.
  • Emergency contact details 
  • List of all existing support services you receive, such as home care or respite care.
  • List of daily activities with which you need assistance with, such as dressing and mobility.
  • Any preferences you might have on the type of care you would like to receive or specific services of interest.
  • Your research. If you’ve done a bit of your own research, share this with your assessor. For example, you might have already shortlisted a few home care service providers or residential aged care homes.

What aspects of your life would you like to improve? Maybe you wish to maintain or improve your independence, remain in your home for as long as possible, address particular health concerns, address difficulties with daily living activities and mobility at home and in the community, strengthen social connections or seek new activities within your community.

Involving close friends, family and carers in the aged care planning process can be beneficial. They may offer valuable insights to facilitate informed decisions about your individual care needs, as well as emotional support and encouragement.

Questions for the ACAT Assessor might include eligibility for specific services, funding, out-of-pocket costs, how to access services and any other concerns you may have.

During the assessment, don't hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification if something is unclear. The assessor is there to assist you. 

Once the ACAT Assessment is complete, it can take up to two weeks for assessors to complete their report, which will be posted to you. If you’re assessed as eligible, you will also receive an approval letter, a support plan and a unique referral code to book services.

Do you need a translator or Auslan interpreter?

Contact your assessor and they can make arrangements for you. You can also book a sign language and Auslan interpreter via our Sign Language and Interpreting Services.

Sign language and interpreting booking services

Frequently asked question

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 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.

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 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.

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.
View all ACAT FAQs

Learn more

What is a RAS assessment?

Nov 1, 2023, 00:00 AM by Carolina Meehan Meehan
If you have been referred to an assessment by My Aged Care, you will be visited by either the ACAT or the RAS team. Learn how these teams determine the level of care and support you require as you navigate the aged care system.

If you have been referred to an assessment by My Aged Care, you will be visited by either the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or the Regional Assessment Service (RAS). Both assessments determine eligibility for government-funded aged care services.

The RAS assessment primarily focuses on entry-level care services and eligibility for lower-level home care packages, while the ACAT assessment covers a broader range of aged care services, including residential care and all levels of home care packages. The specific assessment required depends on the level of care and support an individual needs based on their unique circumstances.

 

What is an RAS Assessment?

The RAS assessment is for individuals seeking entry-level support services via the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). It addresses the needs of individuals who can remain living independently at home.

The RAS assessment is conducted over the phone or in-person by a trained assessor from the Regional Assessment Service. It focuses on gathering information about an individual's functional abilities, daily living tasks, and entry-level care and support requirements.


How the RAS differs from the ACAT Assessment

The ACAT assessment is for individuals seeking aged care services, such as residential aged care (nursing homes), Home Care Packages (HCP) (Level 1, 2, 3 and 4), transition care, and respite care.

It addresses the needs of individuals requiring more intensive care, medical supervision, or specialised support.

The ACAT assessment involves a more comprehensive evaluation by a team of health professionals, including nurses, social workers, and occupational therapists. The assessment covers a broader range of aspects, including medical conditions, personal care needs, mobility, and other relevant factors to determine the appropriate level of aged care services.

It may take place in the individual's home or at a designated assessment centre.


From RAS to ACAT

If an individual initially undergoes a RAS assessment and their care needs change or become more complex over time, they may be referred for an ACAT assessment to reassess their eligibility for a Home Care Package.

 

Ageing well with WMQ

Our compassionate approach is what makes us extra special!

Experienced aged care at home and in our facilities. Compassionate, respectful, and cherished moments for your loved ones.

 

 

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