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A quick guide to aged care assessments

Going through the free Government aged care assessment process is a big step towards organising home care and aged care services for yourself.

Last updated: January 19th 2024
Getting an assessment is really important when accessing Government subsidised aged care. [Source: iStock]

Getting an assessment is really important when accessing Government subsidised aged care. [Source: iStock]

Key points:

  • The first step to getting assessed for aged care services is to contact My Aged Care
  • You should prepare the documents and health information you need before your assessment meeting
  • After your assessment, you should find out within two weeks if you are eligible

Depending on the level of care and support you need, you will have an assessment from either a Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)/ Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS in Victoria).

Assessment through the RAS is only for basic or entry-level home support, like through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, whereas an ACAT/S will assess your eligibility for Home Care Packages, short term care options or aged care homes.

Preparation for your assessment can make the whole process run a lot smoother and also ensure you get the services that best suit your personal needs.

Where to begin

To start, you need to register with My Aged Care, which is the Government portal for accessing aged care services. You can contact My Aged Care by calling 1800 200 422 or apply online.

You will be asked some basic questions about yourself to get a general idea of what services will best suit your needs.

Your answers will also determine whether you will need a RAS or ACAT/S assessment.

A RAS assessment will be used if you only need entry-level home support through the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, whereas an ACAT/S will assess your eligibility for higher level supports including a Home Care Package, short term care options or nursing home support.

Preparing beforehand

Before your assessment, make sure you have:

  • A proof of your ID, which could include your Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) card, your driver’s licence, a healthcare card, or your passport
  • Your Medicare card
  • Any referrals you have from your doctor
  • A list of areas you want to discuss as well as any aged care services you think would be beneficial
  • All the contact details for your regular doctor and other health experts, like allied health professionals or social workers
  • Considerations for your religious and cultural background or any specific complex care needs
  • All the information on any care, supports or services you have received, both formal and informal

Having this information prepared beforehand will ensure you aren’t rushing to find everything you need during the meeting or forget any important details your assessor should be aware of.

Getting assessed

The next step is a face-to-face interview with the aged care assessor. This is usually a health professional, such as a doctor or nurse, who will ask you lots of questions covering a range of topics about your life, including:

  • Your home situation
  • What day-to-day activities you find difficult
  • What do you value in life to remain independent
  • What services you could benefit from – either in your own home or in a nursing home if you have more complex care needs

You can also provide information from your doctor about any health needs and have a support person, such as a family member or friend, sit in on the meeting to help you answer questions and understand the process.

If you have a RAS assessment, you will find out straight away if you are eligible for services through the CHSP.

However, if you have an ACAT/S assessment, the assessor may need some time to review all the information before making a decision.

Following the meeting

After your assessment, you will receive a letter from My Aged Care within two weeks of your assessment to tell you if you were found eligible for aged care services.

From there, you can start contacting home care or short-term care providers to start putting in place the supports you need, or begin searching and applying to aged care facilities.

Why have you decided to access Government-subsidised aged care? Tell us in the comments below.

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Related content:

Preparing for an ACAT/S assessment
How to apply for a nursing home
Choosing a home care provider


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