Perhaps you’ve heard the term “Aged Care Assessment” being bandied around, and have been wondering what it means.
An Aged Care Assessment is undertaken when a person is no longer able to manage their daily living activities at home, to determine the individual’s functional ability and the type of services/care needed.
What Does an Aged Care Assessment Involve?
An Aged Care Assessment is usually conducted in the individual’s home, and involves:
- A structured interview;
- Approval for Commonwealth government subsidised care services;
- Providing information about the type of services available; and,
- Names and contact details of relevant service providers.
The assessment and provision of services/care is designed to assist individuals in undertaking their day-to-day living activities. There are two levels of assessment: home support (also known as home and community care services); and comprehensive.
Home support is assessed under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and may include assistance with home maintenance, home modification, domestic help, personal care, nursing care, respite care, meal provision, transport and social support.
A comprehensive assessment may be provided if the person wishes to access:
- Government funded services for any level of home care package;
- Respite care services;
- Transition care services; or,
- Moving into an aged care facility (also known as a nursing home).
Eligibility criteria for being able to access these services requires:
- Being 65 years or older; or 50 years or older and identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person;
- Residing in your own home; and
- Needing assistance to continue living independently or wanting to move into an aged care facility.
Suitability for any of these services requires an assessment by an Aged Care Assessment Team (or Aged Care Assessment Service in Victoria). The term “Aged Care Assessment Team” is commonly referred to as ACAT (or ACAS in Victoria). This assessment is free.
ACATs provide services within the Aged Care Assessment Programme which is administered by the Department of Social Services. This programme is a cooperative working arrangement between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments of Australia.
While ACAT services are intended to provide assessment of people over the age of 65 years (or 50 years or older and identify as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person), it is possible for people under this age to be assessed for services.
In Queensland, if a person under the age of 65 years (or under 50 years for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person) requests an assessment, they must provide a letter to the ACAT from the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services stating that they do not have services available to meet their client’s needs.
Managing Transitional Change
Change is usually a daunting task at any time in our lives, but when it is coupled with the need to navigate a complex aged care system to determine “what is right for me”, it can seem insurmountable! Understanding the process will help to provide a smoother transition, enabling you to be a part of the decision making process while maintaining control within your life. It will also be less stressful for your family and loved ones!
I am a registered psychologist with many years’ of experience working in the aged care field, and would be happy to assist you in navigating the aged care system, as well as provide counselling and support to you and your family throughout the process.
Author: Psychologist Leonie Sanders