Before a resident is able to enter a Commonwealth regulated and funded aged care home, the person is required to have a care assessment to determine their eligibility for funding. The ACAT will perform the assessment in the family home or during the hospital stay and will, based upon the information that the person provides, and also provided by care professionals, determine the level of residential care (if any) that the care recipient is eligible for.
In this section of our complete guide to aged care placement, we will cover all the most important areas that you need to be aware of relating to the care assessment
The Commonwealth has recently announced major changes that they are considering for the current assessment processes and which will apply from 2021.
ACAT are a local team of health professionals engaged by the Commonwealth to carry out care assessments. The purpose of an ACAT and the general structure and operastion is uniform across all States and Territories.
However, in Victoria the team is called an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) but this is functionally the same so we will use ACAT throughout our guide.
The ACAT should be independent and impartial to the assessment process - this enables an independent assessment and also allows the person to choose the residential aged care provider of their choice later in the process.
Firstly you need to contact "My Aged Care"
It can take six to 12 weeks from your initial contact with My Aged Care to the date of the ACAT assessment meeting. In most cases, the assessment will take place in the home. You can have a family member, friend or carer attend the assessment for support and to help you with the questions.
The result of your ACAT assessment will determine your eligibility for a Residential Care and the level of support you receive. As Residential Care Homes are asset and income tested , it’s a good idea to organise an income and assets assessment in the time you’re waiting to meet with the ACAT assessor.
To do this, contact the Department of Human Services 1800 227 475. If you receive a Service Pension, you’ll need to contact the Department of Veterans’ Affairs on 133 254. This determines any additional daily income-tested fee contributions towards your home care.
When answering questions, it’s really important to think about the future as well as the present. Talk about tasks and activities that are starting to become difficult and that you can see you may require more help with in the future.
How long will the assessment take? Typically, an assessment will take 60 to 90 minutes. During that time, the assessor will work with you to develop a support plan to help identify your strengths and your areas of difficulty, your goals and what you would like to achieve. The plan will help you and the assessor identify the types of support that will best suit you.
Within two weeks of the assessment, you’ll receive a letter from My Aged Care with the outcome of your assessment. This will set out the level of Home Care Package you have been approved to receive. If you’re unhappy with the outcome, you can register your concern with the manager of the assessment.
You’ll also be placed on a national priority ‘queue’ for Home Care Packages and will be contacted when a suitable package becomes available and assigned to you. This, unfortunately, can take up to 12 – 18 months.
While you wait to be assigned your Home Care Package, it’s a good idea to research potential home care providers. You can find providers in your area by contacting My Aged Care or visiting the My Aged Care website.
When you reach the top of the national list, My Aged Care will send you a letter with your referral code and Home Care Package level so you can start organising your services.
You then have 56 days to activate your services by choosing and engaging an approved provider of Home Care Packages.