ACAT – the Gateway to Age Care Services
Providing aged care services, including residential aged care accommodation, home care and transition and respite care, are expensive to maintain, and the Federal government requires that any individuals accessing these services are assessed to ensure that they qualify for these services, and that the services are tailored to their particular circumstances. Note that an assessment is not required if individuals are utilising services, for example those provided by charities or volunteers, that are not subsidised by the Federal government.
This assessment is carried out by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), who are generally made up of a range of health professionals with experience in aged care, such as nurses and social workers. Any ACAT assessments are funded by the Government, and do not cost you anything.
Arranging an ACAT Assessment
Your doctor or other health professional may suggest that you consider an ACAT assessment, but you may initiate the process yourself by simply:
- Calling 1800 200 422, or
- Using the ACAT finder on the MyAgedCare website or ask your doctor
Depending on your location, arranging an ACAT assessment may take several months, depending on the urgency of your case.
The ACAT member will visit you in your home, or hospital if required, and discuss how well you are managing in your day-to-day life. It is entirely appropriate, and we think advantageous in many cases, to have a friend or carer with you during the assessment.
ACAT assessments invlove a comprehensive assessment of an individual's physical, medical, psychological and social needs, and they identify whether individuals have activity limitations in 10 specific activities; self-care, movement, moving around, communication, health care tasks, transport, social or community participation, domestic duties, meal preparation and home maintenance.
The intention is to arrange the best care for your particular circumstances, and therefore you should aim to be as open and transparent with the team member as possible, including providing access to your medical records and history prior to any meeting, if that is requested and is acceptable to you.
You can expect that the ACAT member will, during the course of any assessment, cover the following ground
- ask you if you wish to apply for approval to receive certain aged care services - they will explain the range of service options to you and, if you do want to apply, ask you to complete and sign an application form
- ask you questions about your day-to-day living activities and if you need help with all or some of them - they will also discuss your general health and any specific health conditions; to assist in determining what assistance you require, and what type.
- discuss whether they believe more support at home is the preferred approach, or whether they think you might be better supported in an aged care home
- provide you with general information about support services that may be available in your local area.
When you undertake an ACAT Assessment is going to be very dependent upon your personal circumstances and the advice of health professionals. However, to provide some indication of when assessments and ACAT approvals are provided, in terms of certain age groups see the chart below and note this includes Assessments resulting in approval for residential aged care only. The mean age is over 80 years of age and the single largest age group are individuals aged over 85.