When it comes to aged care services its never too early to start looking into your options. Having an understanding of the system and the types of services that may be available to you now or in the future will take away a lot of stress when the time comes that you require help.  Today we’ll share some tips on how to prepare for your aged care assessment carried out by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).

If you’re over the age of 65 or over the age of 50 and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, you may be eligible for Australian Government funded aged care services. In order to assess your eligibility and the level of service that you are entitled to, you need to have a face-to-face assessment of your care needs through My Aged Care.

Whether your doctor has recently mentioned you need to look into getting home care services, your family members have started to notice that you’re unable to maintain the gardens the same way you once did, or you have come to realise that chores around the house are becoming more difficult, there is never a right or wrong time to start the process.

My Aged Care are able to book your Aged Care Assessment with someone from either RAS who will be able to deem you eligible for the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) or the ACAT who will be able to assess your eligibility for a wider range of services such as a Home Care Package, residential care in an aged care home, residential respite care, short-term restorative care and transition care.

If this assessment is your first step into age care services, it might be a little unnerving for you. So we have broken down what you should expect in the lead up to your assessment, during the assessment itself and after it has been complete.

Before Your Home Care Assessment

Once you speak to My Age Care on the phone and register, you will be contacted by a representative via phone to arrange a time for them to come to your house and have a chat. The time frame from when you first contact My Aged Care to your actual assessment can vary depending on a number of factors but generally allow between 6 to 8 weeks.

During this time it is important to prepare for your assessment so that you can answer any questions the assessor may have and provide the documents they require. It is useful to have the following documents available for the day:

  • Your Medicare Card or number
  • A copy of any referrals from your doctor if they’re applicable
  • Contact details for your GP or other health professionals you see
  • Information on any support you currently receive

You’re welcome to bring along your carer, family member, friend or advocate to the assessment to be there as a support person for you. If you have any question for the assessor regarding the level of care available or in-home aged care services in general it might be helpful to write these down to ask on the day.

During Your Home Care Assessment

On the day of your home care assessment the assessor will arrive at your home and confirm that you agree for the assessment take place. The assessor will arrive with a copy of your client record which included the information you gave to My Aged Care when you spoke to them over the phone. If you have brought a support person with you to the assessment, the assessor may request your permission to speak to them regarding your care.

The assessor will ask you a number of questions about your daily life. This may include questions about the support you currently receive (including support from a family member or friend) and if that support is able to continue. They will ask about your health, lifestyle, problems with your memory and any current general health concerns. The assessor will check how you’re going with daily tasks such as cooking meals, showering, getting out of bed and getting dressed and also activities around the home such as cleaning, hanging out the laundry and gardening.

If you have a regular GP or health professional that you see, they will be able to review your referrals or general notes that you have provided them. They will also ask questions about the level of support and engagement you receive from your family and the general community such as social centres, senior citizen groups or church.

Usually to finish up the assessment, your assessor will take a look around the house to see if there is any issues with safety within the home. This may include things like uneven or obstructed paths in the garden, exposed cords in the living room, or unsecured mats or carpet that may be easily slipped on.

Questions For Your Assessor

You may find the assessment process to be a little bit overwhelming which is why it is important to try and plan in advance and write down any questions that you may want to ask your assessor on the day. Throughout the assessment and once the assessment is complete, you’re welcome to bring up any questions or concerns you may have.

Some great questions to consider asking your assessor include:

  • What services are available to assist you around the home?
  • Are there any local service providers you can contact regarding more information on services?
  • Are there any supports available for your current Carer?
  • Are there service providers available that speak your native language or represent your religious or cultural beliefs?
  • Who can you contact if you have any questions after the assessment?

After Your Home Care Assessment

Depending on whether you received your assessment from RAS or ACAT, what happens after your assessment will differ.

If you received an assessment from RAS and your assessment shows you are eligible for services under CHSP, the assessor will assist you by talking through the different ways referrals can be made and giving you options on what is available in your area. The assessor can make a referral to your preferred provider on your behalf or provide you with a referral code to use when you choose a provider yourself.

However, if your assessment was completed by an ACAT assessor they will make a formal decision about your care needs, your eligibility to receive care and the level of care that is required to meet your needs. If you’re deemed eligible for services then your approval for services will be set out and you will be sent out a approval letter from the ACAT.

Generally there will be a waiting period between the assessment and when you begin to receive services. The wait list will differ depending on when you received your approval and the urgency required for your care.

In the case that you are deemed not eligible, you will receive a letter from the ACAT that outlines why that decision was made. If your circumstances change at any time you’re able to contact My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

More Information

For more information regarding My Aged Care or the Home Care Assessment process , you’re welcome to contact Southcare on 9450 6233 or submit a form through our contact page. We are more than happy to assist you throughout the assessment process.