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A guide to preparing for your ACAT assessment

Health visitor and a senior man during home visit. A female nurse or a doctor showing test results on a tablet.

An 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 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, friend or your existing supports by your side throughout the assessment. Your assessor may need to also speak to these people to get a better understanding of your existing supports.

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.

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 rights:

  • you have the right to be treated with respect and dignity,
  • to 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, there are ways you can receive cost-effective support while you wait – click here to discover them.

If you want to learn about registering for an ACAT assessment on behalf of an ageing parent or family, click here.

Wondering how you can find support after you’ve received a home care package? The Mable platform has Australia’s largest 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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