30 January 2023

Complete Guide to Aged Care (ACAT) Assessment

6 min read

An ACAT assessment (aged care assessment) is an assessment organised by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria) and is required for a person who needs to be approved for Government-funded services including an aged care residence, transition care or respite care. An ACAT assessment is used to make a recommendation for the type and level of care that will best meet your needs.

You do not need an ACAT assessment for aged care services that are not funded by the Federal Government. However, most aged care homes are government-subsidised so you will still need an ACAT assessment.

What is an Aged Care (ACAT) Assessment?

If it sounds like you need regular, more complex support, an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessor will provide a more comprehensive assessment. They will assist you to apply for aged care and determine if you require a Home Care Package, short-term care or an aged care home.

What does an ACAT assessment involve?

An ACAT assessment looks at a range of factors including:

1. Your health and medical history
2. Your physical requirements, such as how well you can get around and do everyday activities
3. Your psychological needs, for example, how you are feeling and whether you have experienced depression or mental illness
4. Your social needs, including family and friends and support networks
5. Any special needs or concerns, for instance, religious and cultural beliefs, sexual preferences or language issues

How do I arrange an ACAT assessment?

• call my aged care contact centre directly
• get a referral from your GP or a health care professional

It is a free assessment, but you will need a my aged care client record to set up an assessment.

It can take up to six weeks to get an ACAT assessment depending on how urgent your situation is.

An ACAT assessment is undertaken by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT). This team usually includes a nurse, plus another healthcare worker such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or social worker. Usually only one member of the ACAT team will visit you for the assessment, which takes place wherever you are.

An ACAT assessment usually takes between 45 minutes and 75 minutes. It’s normal to feel worried about ‘getting assessed’, but you will be able to ask questions and won’t be forced to make any decisions on the day. You can also have a family member or friend with you.

The ACAT team will complete a report after the meeting. It generally takes up to two weeks for you to receive a copy, which you will need to proceed with your search for an aged care home.

It will list the services you have been approved for and any conditions they come with and the reasons for this decision.

You will also be given information about service providers in your area.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your ACAT assessment, you can make a complaint through my aged care. Click here for details

How long does an ACAT assessment take?

An assessment will generally take between 45 minutes and 75 minutes. And it usually takes another two weeks before the report arrives. This is important because you need this report before you can start looking for an aged care home.

The ACAT assessment is free. You can get an emergency ACAT assessment meeting with as little as 48hrs notice. Normally though it takes up to 6 weeks to have the assessment followed by another 2 weeks for the report.

If you need to enter respite at Estia Health urgently, we do not always need an ACAT assessment and this can be done at a later stage.

How long is an ACAT assessment valid?

An ACAT assessment is free and remains valid indefinitely. You will however need to be reassessed should you wish to change from a Home Care Package to a higher level of care (residential). Having an ACAT assessment does not mean that you have to enter a care home but it will speed up the process should you need care.

What happens after my ACAT assessment?

After your assessment, your assessor will need some time to review your information and determine your eligibility. Once a decision is made, the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will send you a letter. The letter will contain: the assessment team's decision on whether you are eligible.

What are the levels of ACAT assessment?

1. Level 1: basic care needs.
2. Level 2: low-level care needs.
3. Level 3: intermediate care needs.
4. Level 4: high-level care needs.

For further information please contact us at Estia Health today on 1300 682 833.