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What is the ACAT and how do I get one?

An ACAT is short for an assessment completed by the Aged Care Assessment Team and an assessment must be completed for anyone to enter a government-funded aged care home.

Receiving an ACAT assessment involves these five steps:

  1. Apply for an assessment (online or over the phone)
  2. Attend an in-person assessment at your home
  3. Find out the ACAT assessment outcome
  4. Find a provider
  5. Begin receiving services

1. Apply for an assessment (online or over the phone)

Have your Medicare card ready and apply for an assessment online via the My Aged Care website or call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. My Aged Care is a service for older people run by the Australian Government.

This initial application will take at least 10 minutes and will provide a member of the My Aged Care contact centre an understanding of your health, how you’re being supported at home and what additional support you need now or may need in the future. You’re welcome to have a family member, friend or carer help guide you through the application or speak on your behalf.

If you require an interpreter, please contact the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) on 131 450 and follow the prompts.

It will then be determined whether you require an assessment, which is conducted in-person at your home.

2. Attend your in-person assessment at your home

Depending on the information you provide in the initial application, you will get one of two assessment types:

  • An assessment with the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) which will provide you with support to stay at home.
  • A comprehensive assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT), if you need more support than what you can receive at home.

Both assessments will be conducted at your home.

RAS assessment

This assessment will focus on what you need to stay at home, with support provided through the Commonwealth Health Support Programme.

Please note the rest of this article will focus only on ACAT assessments.

ACAT assessment

This assessment will determine whether you need support in the form of:

For a RAS assessment or an ACAT assessment, you'll need:

  • Medicare card and another form of identification (e.g. Department of Veterans’ Affairs card, driver’s license, healthcare card, passport)
  • A copy of referrals from your doctor (if applicable)
  • A support person (if you feel you need one)
  • Information you already have about aged care services and any further questions
  • The contact details of your doctor and other health professionals
  • Special communication assistance e.g. translator or Auslan interpreter (if applicable)

During the assessment, your assessor will:

  • ask you (and any support person you have present) if you agree to the assessment.
  • ask you to complete an Application for Care Form.
  • ask you some questions about the information you provided in your initial application to help them understand the level of care you need.
  • work with you to write your support plan. The plan will outline your strengths, difficulties, goals and preferences.

Your assessor may also provide you with information about aged care services in your area.

3. Find out the ACAT assessment outcome

Your assessor will review all the information collected and you will be informed of the outcome by letter. You can also see the outcome by creating an online account with My Aged Care and linking your myGov account to your new My Aged Care account. Instructions on how to do this are available on the My Aged Care website.

You may be eligible for one of five types of services:

  1. A Home Care Package
  2. Short-term restorative care
  3. Residential respite care
  4. Transition care (if you are in hospital)
  5. Residential aged care

The letter will contain:

  • the assessment outcome
  • the level of care for which you have been approved
  • the reasons and evidence behind the decision
  • your support plan.

4. Find a provider

The next step is to find a provider that offers the right aged care services in the location that works best for you (and your family).

Depending on availability, Eldercare can assist with short-term restorative care, residential respite care, transition care and residential aged care services.

Browse our 12 locations to see if there is one suitable for you or call our experienced residential admissions team on 1300 925 414 to ask about availability.

Alternatively, you can use the find a provider tool on My Aged Care to look for locations that are in the suburb you prefer and are available now.

Are there waiting times?

There may be waiting times, depending on which service you have been approved for.

The wait times for Home Care Packages are the longest. Check My Aged Care for the most up-to-date information.

The wait times for the other services will all depend on the provider you choose and their availability.

5. Begin receiving services

Once you’ve picked a provider, their team will help you through the process to begin receiving services.

Navigating the aged care system can be confusing. Eldercare’s friendly residential admissions team have a combined 25 years of experience providing support to older people and their families. Give them a call on 1300 925 414 during business hours or email and they will be in touch.

Information is current as at 15 April 2024 and is subject to change without notice.

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