All about your assessment

A home care package is designed to help you remain living in your own home for as long as possible.

If you’re considering government subsidised home care though, you’ll first have to be assessed to ascertain your eligibility and the level of support you need.

The best place to start is to contact your GP who can help organise an Aged Care Assessment (better known as an ACAT assessment). You can book this yourself by calling My Aged Care on 1800 200 422 or if you have chosen a provider they can refer you also.

So what does this assessment involve? Essentially it is a visit to your own home by one or more members of a local Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). If you’ve already been referred for an assessment, then a member of your local ACAT team will contact you to set up a time to visit at home and talk to you about your current situation and needs.

The assessor will usually be a nurse, social worker or other health care professional, who will ask you some questions and discuss with you the type of care and support services that may be appropriate for your circumstances.

If you have any difficulty communicating, you can let them know so they can arrange any special assistance you need for your assessment.

Sometimes you have to book ahead with your local team as there is often a waiting time for this assessment. It is a good idea to book ahead of time even if you are not sure what type of home care you might need.

To find more information about being assessed for home care go the My Aged Care website

What’s going to happen during my comprehensive assessment?

Your assessment begins with your ACAT assessor/s arriving at your home for the agreed appointment. The first thing they’ll do is ask you if you’re happy to go ahead with the assessment.

They may also seek permission from you to speak to your GP and the people who support you like family members. The assessor will then ask you questions and discuss with you things like what support you already have and if that will continue, what health concerns you may have, any safety issues you face, are you engaged with friends and family, do you have memory problems and how you currently handle everyday tasks around your home.

They may also discuss and give you information about services that could fit your needs and possibly discuss the costs of the services you need. While it’s not a stressful experience, you may feel more comfortable having a family member or friend with you for support during your assessment.

middle aged couple greeting their GP

Your assessment is coming. Are you prepared?

If you’re getting ready for your home care assessment, there are a few things that will help both you and the assessor to get the best result. For starters, here are some of the things to prepare before the assessment takes place.

You’ll need your Medicare number, along with a copy of any referrals from your doctor. It’s a good idea to have the contact details for your GP and any other relevant health professionals that care for you. Also any information about support you are already receiving at home can be handy.

Also you may think of other information you feel is important and you want to discuss with your assessor. Remember it always pays to be well prepared so you don’t miss anything.

Speaking of not forgetting anything, you may find it useful to write down a list of questions you have for the assessor. Like what services they may suggest for the things you want to achieve. Or do the recommended service providers speak your language or are they sympathetic to your religious or cultural beliefs. You may want to know how your carer can get some support along with you.

Finally, it’s a good idea to get the assessors contact details, just in case you think of any other questions you may want to ask after the assessment is over.

Here’s a plan for what to do after your assessment.

During your assessment, your ACAT assessor will help you develop your own Support Plan.

This is important as your plan contains what you discussed and agreed to as far as your strengths and difficulties, your goals and what you’d like to achieve and if you any preferences for particular services.

It will set out the care and services you need going forward, whether it be short term or on going. Don’t worry, these are not set in stone, and when you start your home care, your services can change as your life changes.

Like most people you may feel about your stressed about this assessment, but you can feel assured you’ll never have any services forced on you that you don’t want or agree with. You and your support team have control of the process.

So what happens if you have concerns about your assessment? Well, there are procedures in place for you to follow which starts with you talking to your ACAT assessor to try and find a solution.

If that doesn’t resolve the situation, you can request the contact details of your state or territory department manager.

Every home care assessment has an outcome. Here’s why.

OK, your assessment has been completed. Now what?

Well, the next step is your assessor will make a formal decision. They decide your eligibility, your particular care needs and the level of care you need to cover your needs.

So what happens if you’re assessed as eligible?

You’ll receive an approval letter from ACAT setting out the approved services. This can involve a waiting period between the assessment and the approval, and the time you start receiving services for either home care. If you are found not eligible for a home care package, a letter from ACAT will explain you the reasons why.

There may still be services you can access and should your needs change you can always ask for a new assessment by contacting My Aged Care on 1800 200 422. If you don’t receive a letter of approval or non­approval from the ACAT, you will need to contact the ACAT and ask for a copy.

Also if you do not agree with the assessment decisions in your letter, or want to discuss any issues about the decision, you can follow up with your local ACAT team.