How to prepare for an ACAT assessment
What is ACAT and how do I arrange an assessment?
An ACAT assessment is an assessment that takes place with the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) member. The ACAT member is a skilled health professional in this area. The assessment is independent and client focused, and is intended to be a holistic assessment. The ACAT assessment will take place to determine the level of care that best meets your current needs. If you feel that you’re requiring support in the home, or that you’re not managing at home, make an appointment with your G.P. to discuss this. You can also call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 to arrange an assessment at no cost to you.
Getting ready for the ACAT assessment
After the referral to My Aged Care, a team member will be in contact with you to arrange a suitable meeting time, typically taking place at your home. Unfortunately, this can take some weeks to arrange, therefore do your best to get in contact with My Aged Care as soon as you feel that your care needs have changed.
When you agree on a time to have the assessment and develop a support plan, make sure that you allow approximately 60 to 90 minutes for the assessment. Choose a comfortable spot to sit in your home during the assessment, such as the lounge room.
To prepare for your ACAT meeting you’ll need your Medicare card number. It’s also a good idea to have the details of your G.P. and any other health professionals whose care you’re under. Also make a list of any support that you currently have in place, such as “Meals on Wheels,” or cleaning services.
What to expect during the ACAT assessment
The purpose of an ACAT assessment is to develop a support plan with the assessor. This support plan will be the record of your meeting and will include much information regarding your health and wellbeing.
The support plan will include your strengths, your difficulties and needs, your goals and much more. It will also address any preferences that you may have for services/ care. To determine the services that best meet your current status, the assessor will enquire about your current health status as well as your health history and medical history. They will ask you about your current needs that you need support for, including your social needs. Remember, it’s a holistic assessment. The assessor will want to know any physical limitations that you may have, and what your current mental health status is too. Be sure to bring up any other current needs that you may require support for too. For example, you may be struggling to manage your finances, or you may have recently relinquished your driver’s licence. There is no right or wrong issue to bring up during the assessment.
You will have the opportunity to express your goals and needs during the meeting/ assessment too. Before the assessment takes place, you’ll probably think of so many matters that you’re concerned about in regards to your health and wellbeing. The best way to ensure that you don’t forget to bring these matters up is to make a list. Every time you think of something that you’re unsure about or that you’d like to discuss, jot it down. This can include topics such as what you’re needing assistance with, what your health concerns are, and any activities that you’re struggling with at present. You could raise any safety concerns that you have as well.
A Support Person during the ACAT assessment
The idea of being assessed by the ACAT member can be overwhelming. The notion that you’re in need of aged care support services is a big deal to get your head around, and you might feel more comfortable having a support person with you when you have the assessment. This will give you a sense of calm and support. You could have your spouse, your children, another family member, a friend or even a health professional such as a community nurse with you during your assessment.
Future planning and ACAT
Although the assessment will be based on your current circumstances, your future care needs are important too. If you feel like you can still do certain tasks, but they’re becoming increasingly difficult, be sure to mention that too. Future planning is equally as important when looking at your health care needs and goals.
After the Assessment
Once your ACAT assessment is done, the assessor makes a formal decision about your current needs. Within a matter of weeks following your ACAT meeting, you’ll receive a letter from My Aged Care with the outcome of the assessment. This letter will outline the services that you’ve been approved for. The services that you can receive approval for include the following:
- Residential Aged Care
- Home Care Package Level 1, 2, 3, or 4.
- Residential Respite Care
- Respite Care
- Short-term restorative care
- Transition care
Questioning the outcome of your ACAT assessment
When you receive your letter of approval from My Aged Care, you might be surprised by the outcome. If so, you can reject an ACAT recommendation.
Talk with the assessor initially to see if you’re able to resolve your concerns. This is usually the best way to reach a resolution.
In some cases a resolution can’t be reached, and you then have the right to appeal the decision. You can do this by writing a letter that outlines your concerns to the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health. You have 28 days from the date of the letter of approval to appeal the decision.