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Preparing for an ACAT/S assessment

To determine if you need a Home Care Package (HCP), before accessing respite care in a nursing home or a permanent move into a Government funded aged care home, you'll need an aged care assessment. This will be done by someone from an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) or if you live in Victoria, by the Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS).

Last updated: July 4th 2022
Older man and woman sitting at kitchen counter going through paperwork (Source: iStock)
Your assessor will best be able to help you if you provide lots of information about yourself and what tasks you struggle with. (Source: iStock)

Key points:

  • You will need to prepare a number of documents for your ACAT/ACAS assessment
  • Be open and transparent with your assessor about your needs, wishes, and goals
  • If your situation is urgent, you will likely hear back sooner with confirmation of your approval for aged care

You can book an ACAT/S assessment by filling out an online form on the My Aged Care website or by calling 1800 200 422.

The aged care assessment will help decide what level of support you require. Your assessor will best be able to help you if you provide lots of information about yourself and what day to day tasks you struggle with.



What should you prepare?

Some of the documents and information you should collect before your assessment include:

  • Medicare card and a form of identification, for instance, Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) card, driver's licence, passport, or healthcare card
  • Notes or referrals from your doctor
  • Information about previous home, community or aged care services you have received
  • Details about support you receive from family, friends, or the community
  • Prepared questions and information about aged care that you wish to discuss with the assessor so you have a better understanding about services
  • Contact details for your doctor and any other health professionals you see regularly
  • Have a translator or Auslan interpreter arranged if you require one
  • Ask a support person to be present for the assessment if you want one

During a face-to-face assessment, an ACAT/S assessor will visit you in your home to get to know you and your circumstances and determine the types of support you need.

The assessment will be done by a social worker, nurse, doctor or other health professional and can take an hour or so.

They will ask you a number of questions about any support you receive, your current lifestyle, any health concerns or chronic illnesses, and any activities you engage in with family or in the community. They might also ask your permission to talk with your doctor or specialist about the impact of any health conditions on your day-to-day life.

Be open and transparent about your wishes and what you believe will be of assistance for your wellbeing.

If you have a family member, friend or carer with you, the assessor may ask you for permission to talk to them about any support they believe you might benefit from.

Once you have been approved for aged care services you can start looking for a home that suits your needs.

If you don't want to receive Government funded home care or go into Government funded aged care, then that is perfectly fine. There are private providers that don't require any assessment to receive care or enter their facilities. However, you cannot receive Government funding to pay for your stay in a private nursing home.

How long does it take?

The ACAT/S assessment will take around an hour and at the end of the meeting the assessor will discuss the results of the assessment with you. They will review the information you have provided to determine what support option best suits you.

You will receive a letter within two weeks of your assessment to let you know if you have been found eligible for aged care services. This letter will also detail the types of services you will be able to access and any further information about how to access these supports.

If your situation is urgent, it may only take a couple of days before you get confirmation of approval for aged care.

You'll be given a referral code linked to the type of service you are eligible to access. The aged care home of your choice will need this referral code to access your information with My Aged Care and manage the referral. They’ll also be able to access the funding allocated to you.

When you're ready to start looking for providers to deliver the support services you have been found eligible for, you can use our online directory at AgedCareGuide.com.au for a comprehensive overview of the care options and care providers available near you.

Related content:

What is an aged care assessment and how does it work
Choosing a home care provider
How to apply for a nursing home

  1. Your Journey:
  2. Preparing for an ACAT/S assessment

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