Key takeaways

  • Read on to find out:
  • What to do before your ACAT assessment
  • What to bring to the meeting with an ACAT assessor
  • How to provide an accurate view of your health.

How can I prepare for an ACAT assessment?

Preparing for an ACAT assessment can seem daunting. You may feel like it’s not something you need or maybe you’re not quite ready to accept help. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain, by spending an hour or so with the assessment team to find out if you’re eligible for help or support to help you continue to live independently.

What is an ACAT?

ACAT is an acronym for Aged Care Assessment Team. People often refer to the assessment as an ACAT, but the ACAT are the people who will perform your assessment. The ACAT assessment is a meeting that usually happens in your home but can also take place in a hospital or your GP’s office. It will provide the information needed to determine what kind of government subsidised home care, like home care packages (HCP), or residential aged care you can receive.

What to do before your ACAT assessment

Christine Hanrahan works in the Brightwater Client Engagement Home Care team. She says people should begin to think about what’s changed in their lives in the last six months.

“I recommend you write down a list of health changes you’ve noticed or if you’ve had some falls,” Christine said.

“Some of the questions I ask are, ‘Have you had shortness of breath? Are you finding it difficult to walk to the letterbox?’

“Write everything down so when the ACAT assessor comes to see you, you won’t forget things.”

Bringing a list of health changes, even if they’re minor, will help the assessor better understand what your daily life is like.

Providing an accurate view of your health for your ACAT assessment

If you’re like most people, you want to do well on a test. It’s important to remember the ACAT assessment is not a test. Your goal is not to portray your best day. The assessors want to understand what an average or normal day looks like to ensure you get the best possible care and support.

“It’s very hard for some people to accept help,” Christine said.

“If you’re struggling to keep up with cleaning or making a meal for yourself, those are things you need to share with the assessor.

“If you’re no longer driving, that’s another thing you need to let the assessor know.”

Other things an ACAT assessor will want to know is if you’re experiencing memory problems and how you’re feeling about your own health. Don’t be afraid to speak up about any concerns you have. What to bring to an ACAT assessment

According to Christine, some of the things you need to bring to your ACAT assessment are:

  • Your list of health changes in the past six months
  • Medicare card
  • Your GP’s name and contact details
  • Name and contact details of any other healthcare providers or allied health professionals like a podiatrist or physical therapist
  • Enduring Power of Attorney
  • Enduring Power of Guardianship
  • Advanced Health Directive.

“I feel it’s always important to have a family member with you,” Christine said.

“They may remind you of things you hadn’t considered or back you up when you’re describing recent changes.

“It’s also important that family members know what’s going on in their loved ones’ lives.”

What else do you need for an ACAT assessment?

If you need a translator, make sure someone is there who can do that for you. A family member is always a good choice. The ACAT assessor will not arrange translation services.

If you use glasses or hearing aids, it’s always helpful to have them handy.

If you have any special mobility aids, like a walking stick, walking frame, or mobility scooter, it’s a good idea to have them nearby so the assessor can have a look.

How long does an ACAT Assessment take?

The duration of an ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team) assessment can vary depending on the complexity of your specific needs and circumstances. Generally, the assessment itself may take between one to two hours. This time allows the assessor to thoroughly understand your current situation, health needs, and the level of support required.

It's important for you and your family members to be prepared to discuss various aspects of their daily life, health conditions, and any challenges they are also facing.

How long does it take to get an ACAT Assessment?

After you or a family member makes the initial contact with My Aged Care to request an ACAT assessment, the waiting time for the assessment can vary based on the demand for assessments in your area and the urgency of your situation. Typically, assessments are scheduled within a few weeks of the request.

However, in cases deemed as high priority, the assessment may be expedited to occur sooner. It's advisable to communicate any pressing needs or risks to My Aged Care when making the request to ensure timely support.

For more information about your ACAT assessment

You can organise your ACAT assessment through the My Aged Care online portal. If you would like more support preparing for your ACAT assessment, give us a call on 1300 223 968 or email [email protected].

Remember, preparing for an ACAT assessment is about presenting a complete picture of your current needs and circumstances. With the right preparation, you can ensure that the assessment process is smooth and that you receive the support and care you need.

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