Everything you need to know about the ACAT assessment

Everything you need to know about the ACAT assessment

As you age, it may become more difficult to live at home alone. The Australian government can assist, including help at home and extra support for elderly relatives.

Applying for an assessment with the Aged Care Assessment Team (often referred to as an ACAT assessment) is the first step in accessing government-funded services. Although the idea of being assessed may seem daunting, don’t be afraid. It is not your goal to “test” you. It is your goal to understand your situation and provide the best assistance.

This information will help you to understand the ACAT assessment process.

What’s an ACAT assessment?
How can I schedule an ACAT assessment?
How do I prepare for an ACAT exam?
What happens during an ACAT assessment?
What are the questions asked during an ACAT assessment?
I have had my ACAT evaluation. What next?

FAQs regarding ACAT

What’s the difference between ACAT and RAS assessments?
What should I do if my ACAT assessment results are not satisfactory?
How much does an ACAT assessment cost?
Who is on ACAT?
What is the average time it takes to receive an ACAT assessment after I submit my application?
What’s an income and asset assessment?

What’s an ACAT assessment?

The Aged Care Assessment Teams are your link to government-funded aged care services. They are known as the Aged Care Assessment Services in Victoria (ACAS), but they provide the same service as ACAT.

A member of ACAT or ACAS (typically a nurse, or another healthcare professional) will visit you to assess your ability to live independently at home. They will discuss your situation and look at factors like:

  • Your medical history – your health
  • Your physical requirements – How well you can perform daily activities
  • Your psychological needs – How you feel and go mentally
  • Who is there to support you in meeting your social needs?
  • All special needs that you may have, including language and cultural issues or sexual preferences, when it comes to care

This assessment will help you and your family determine the type of care you require. This assessment will also help you determine the type of service that you might be eligible for.

Assessments of ACAT are free. You will be allowed to express your opinions and to listen during the assessment. This is an important part. You don’t have to make decisions and can always have a friend/family member along with you. If you require an interpreter, you can request one.

How can I schedule an ACAT assessment?

You have two options to arrange for an ACAT assessment: one for you or your loved one.

  • You can reach My Aged care by calling 1800 244 422 or Apply Online.
  • An assessment can be arranged by your doctor, another medical professional, social worker, or family member. They will need your consent to conduct this assessment on your behalf and to share your personal information.

The entire application process takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes. If you’re applying for Medicare, be sure to have your Medicare card on hand. Details about you will be required, including:

  • You can tell us about your aged care needs, and the services you are currently receiving.
  • Your health concerns
  • All medical evaluations and referrals that you have had
  • What are you currently doing at home?

After your details are registered with My Aged Care you will be referred directly to your local ACAT for an assessment. Within 3 weeks of your application, a member of the team will call you to schedule a visit. You may be asked permission to speak to your doctor about your medical history before your assessment.

Do you need assistance to complete an ACAT assessment application? HomeCaring can help you or your loved ones navigate the ACAT assessment process. This is especially true if English is not your first language. Call to schedule a consultation about your specific needs.

How do I prepare for an ACAT exam?

The assessment can be done with someone, so consider whether you’d like a friend or family member to support you. These are the things you will need to bring with you

  • Your Medicare card
  • You may also need another form of identification such as your passport, driver’s license, DVA card, or healthcare card
  • Copy of all referrals from your doctor
  • Contact information for your doctor or other health professionals that you see regularly
  • All relevant medical and care information
  • Information about the support you are currently receiving

You have the opportunity to find out about your care options and how they work with ACAT. It is a good idea to make a list of questions for the assessor to include:

  • What are the services available in my locality?
  • What is the average wait time?
  • Is there a service provider that suits my cultural background or speaks my language?
  • What can I do if I have any questions about my assessment?
  • What is the average time it takes to receive a report?
  • What should I do if I am unhappy with my assessment results?

What happens during an ACAT assessment?

It is normal to be nervous about being assessed. It’s normal to feel nervous about getting assessed. The goal is not to ‘test you’ but to learn more about you so that you can get the help you need.

ACAT will contact you once you apply for the assessment. ACAT will usually only send one member to your home for the assessment. After the assessment, they will make recommendations and consult with other members of the team.

A loved one can accompany you on this visit to support you. It can be very helpful as they can help with information and answer any questions that you might have forgotten. An assessment usually takes between 45 and 75 minutes, but it is possible to take longer.

What are the questions asked during an ACAT assessment?

Your ACAT assessment will ask you if you would like to apply to aged care services. If you consent, you will be asked for permission to sign the application form. The assessor might ask permission to speak to family members or other people who are currently supporting you.

The assessor will ask you a variety of questions to help determine your care needs. You may be asked questions about:

  • Your health: Any medical issues, cognitive and physical health, memory problems, etc.
  • What safety improvements can be made to your home?
  • Your physical needs – How you manage daily activities like washing, dressing, moving about, cleaning, and shopping
  • Your psychological needs – How you feel if you have ever suffered from any mental illness. If you have had depression, how you cope mentally
  • Social needs – Who are your friends and family? What hobbies do you enjoy? Are you able to take part in any activities you like?
  • Concerns and special needs – e.g. Recognition of your sexuality, religious beliefs, cultural practices, languages are spoken, and recognition of cultural practices
  • All aged care support that you are currently receiving

You will be provided with information by the assessor about the services you have access to, their costs, and where you can find information about aged care. The assessor will be available to answer any questions you may have and share any concerns about your care. They will talk with you about your desire to live in your home and the possibilities of that.

The assessor will explain what happens next after your assessment is complete. The assessor will pass your information to other members of ACAT so that they can determine the type of care you are eligible for. All information regarding your medical and personal details will be kept confidential.

You have the right to dignity and respect. You can complain about the ACAT assessment.

I have had my ACAT evaluation. What next?

Your team will review the data collected during your face-to-face assessment and create a report. This can take up to two weeks.

This report will include information about the services that you have approved for government funding, the reasons behind this decision, and any conditions. A support plan will be provided to you if you have been approved for residential aged care. Your letter will indicate whether you are eligible to receive a Home Care Package. These levels range from basic care to high-level support.

The final decision on whether to accept or decline an ACAT assessment recommendation is yours.

Approved for a Home Care Package

Once you have been approved to receive a Home Care Package you will be provided with a unique referral code and 56 days to choose your provider. This referral code is required to sign a Home Care Agreement.

It can take up to 12 months to make a Home Care Package available. You may be eligible for government funding to help you with your aged care needs while you wait on the waiting list.

What’s the difference between ACAT and RAS assessments?

ACAT and RAS assessments are terms you may have heard of but are not sure what they mean. ACAT stands for Aged Care Assessment Team and RAS for Regional Assessment Service. Both teams conduct face-to-face assessments of aged care services funded by the government, but at different levels.

My Aged Care will assess your needs quickly when you contact them. If you feel that you require low levels of support for managing your home, they will recommend a RAS assessment. This allows you to apply to the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

They may recommend a more thorough ACAT assessment if it seems like your care requirements are more complex. This will determine whether you are eligible to receive a Home Care Package or aged care home funding.

An ACAT assessment is required to determine if you are eligible for a Homecare Package or other government-funded services that will allow you to be placed in an aged care facility.

What should I do if my ACAT assessment results are not satisfactory?

You can talk to your ACAT assessor if you are unhappy with the ACAT recommendation.

You can appeal the ACAT decision to have it re-examined if you are unable to reach a solution. You must write to the Secretary of Australia’s Government Department of Health within 28 calendar days of receiving the assessment report. Within 90 days, the request will be processed and a decision made. You can find more information on the My Aged Care Website.

How much does an ACAT assessment cost?

No, the ACAT assessment face-to-face is completely free.

Who is on ACAT?

ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria, is an aged care assessment team that consists of medical and allied professionals. They assess your needs and determine the best level of support. A nurse, an occupational therapist or physiotherapist, and a social worker are the most common members of these teams.

ACATs can be found in most Australian hospitals and community health services centers.

What is the average time it takes to receive an ACAT assessment after I submit my application?

Depending on the urgency of your situation, it can take up to 6 months to receive an ACAT assessment. An ACAT assessment may be requested if your situation is urgent due to danger or crisis.

After you have completed the face-to-face assessment, it will take approximately 2 weeks for the assessors to prepare a report.

What’s an income and asset assessment?

You may also need an ACAT assessment. This assessment will determine whether you are eligible to receive government assistance with the cost of aged-care services.

This assessment, also known as an income or asset assessment, is performed by the Department of Human Services. If you are a veteran, the Department of Veteran Affairs. This determines the amount you can contribute to your aged care costs. You will not be charged for the maximum amount for residential or service.

The forms required for your assessment can take some time. It may take up to six weeks for you to get confirmation that you are eligible for government assistance.

What happens if I have an urgent need and cannot wait?

There are options for those who are unable to wait for a Homecare Package but still need immediate assistance.

  • An interim package may allow you to access help faster than the Home Care Package. You will be able to access care services while your package is being allocated. This option will be discussed with you by your ACAT assessor.
  • The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) can help. It provides basic services that will help you around your home. At the discretion of the assessor, an ACAT assessment could cover you for the CHSP or a Home Care Package.
  • You can also look into service providers that aren’t funded by the government. This means you will have to pay for all the costs of your care.

Are you looking for ACAT assessments but don’t know where to begin? HomeCaring can assist you in the application process and provide services once you are approved. We put you first, so you can always control your care. Get in touch for more information.

Get a Free Quote!