An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment is a vital step in the path to receiving the right in home care and support. Properly preparing yourself for this assessment will ensure you can communicate your needs to your assessor and begin receiving support in the form of a home care package, residential care or respite care.
What is an ACAT assessment?
An ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessment is a comprehensive assessment that is usually carried out by a nurse, social worker or other health care professional from your local area.
The purpose of an ACAT assessment is to determine your eligibility to begin receiving a range of types of care and support via a home care package, residential respite care, short-term restorative care or transition care. Assessors will ask wide-ranging questions about your current lifestyle, wellbeing, community participation, your health and living goals and may even request to see relevant medical documents.
How do I get an ACAT assessment?
To arrange an ACAT assessment you need to contact the customer service centre of My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or fill out the online form.
To apply for the online ACAT assessment, there are three parts:
- Checking you are eligible
- Capturing your details
- Confirming who the assessor should call to arrange the assessment. You will need your Medicare card and enough time to complete it.
Your social worker, doctor, or other health professionals can organise this for you on your behalf. They, or any person with a legitimate interest in your health, can make a referral for you.
How to get ready for your ACAT assessment?
According to My Aged Care, there are a couple things you may want to have with you during your assessment, including:
- your Medicare number
- copies of any referrals from your GP
- contact details of your GP or health professional
- and information about any current support you receive.
Once you have registered to be assessed via My Aged Care, it may take up to 12 weeks to receive the date of your ACAT assessment. Your ACAT assessment will most likely take place in your own home, meaning you can have a family member or friend by your side throughout the assessment. Your assessor may need to also speak to these people to get a better understanding of your existing support.
During your assessment, make sure you voice any questions you might have, such as what services might suit you, what support your carer or support worker has access to, which service providers can represent you culturally or religiously and how you can contact the assessor for any further questions.
What happens at the ACAT assessment?
The assessor will confirm you agree to have the assessment and may ask for your permission to talk to people who support you, such as family, or your carer. Following this, there may be forms you need to fill (if you’re undergoing a comprehensive assessment), you will have a conversation with the assessor about your support needs and finally, they will work with you to develop your support plan. The support plan includes information about your strengths, areas where you need support, goals you want to achieve, etc.
Check your rights
An ACAT assessment may seem overwhelming and invasive as you discuss your ongoing personal needs. It’s important to remember that throughout your assessment, you have the right to:
- be treated with respect and dignity
- be notified of assessment process and what is happening and why
- discuss your concerns, ideas and views
- have your information be treated in confidence
- have an interpreter, relative, friend or carer with you during the assessment
- and to speak to be an independent advocate who can provide advice or talk on behalf of you.
Once your assessment is complete, your assessor will make a formal decision about your needs and notify you of your eligibility to receive a home care package, residential care or other services you might need.
If you become approved for a home care package following your ACAT assessment, you’ll most likely go on a national waitlist, meaning you won’t immediately receive funding. Luckily, in the meantime, you can find and pay privately for support through Mable. While you’re on the waiting list, you can also search for and choose a home care package provider.
Wondering how you can find support after you’ve received a home care package? Mable has a large community of independent support workers and could help you find tailored support and schedule personalised support sessions. Head to Mable to search for support workers in your local area today.
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