The Aged Care Assessment Process
First contact with My Aged Care provides information about aged care services and, if requested, commencement of the initial screening process. The National Screening and Assessment Form is used to understand if referral for face-to-face assessments from the RAS (CHSP services) or an ACAT (home care packages) is required. My Aged Care screening may also indicate that direct referral to service providers is the initial requirement.
Regional Assessment Service (RAS)
Home support assessments for entry level aged care are undertaken by assessors from the My Aged Care Regional Assessment Service. The outcome of a home support assessment may include referral to CHSP services.
A local assessor from the RAS will arrange a time to meet with a client at their home. They will ask questions such as what help the client is currently receiving, if they have any health issues, and how well they are able to complete activities around the home. Assessors work with clients to develop a support plan that reflects their aged care needs. They will also work with the client to identify a service provider who is best able to meet these needs.
A Request for Tender was released in October 2014 to select organisations to deliver assessment services as part of the RAS. The 13 organisations chosen to deliver the RAS are: Access Care Network Australia Pty Ltd, Australian Regional and Remote Community Services Limited, Care Assessment Consultants Pty Ltd, Catholic Healthcare Limited, Community Options Australia Incorporated, Feros Care, Health Administration Corporation (HAC), Partners 4 Health Limited, Resthaven Incorporated, Serendipity (WA) Pty Ltd, Suncare Community Services Inc, The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (Q.), and UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide Incorporated.
These organisations have engaged over 75 subcontractor organisations, including for-profit service providers, not-for-profit service providers and local councils.
Most regions will operate with between two and four RAS organisations to ensure that there is capacity to deliver timely assessment services.
Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs)
ACATs (ACAS in Victoria) perform comprehensive assessments for clients with more complex care needs who wish to access home care services or are considering moving into an aged care home. ACATs are teams of medical and allied health professionals who assess the physical, psychological, medical, restorative, cultural and social needs of older people.
An ACAT assessment is required for clients looking to access a home care package, residential care, after-hospital care (transition care), Short-Term Restorative Care or respite care in an aged care home.
An ACAT assessment can be requested by calling the My Aged Care contact centre or, alternatively, an assessment can be arranged by a doctor, social worker or other health professional. Family members and carers can also make a referral for an ACAT assessment.
ACAT assessors visit clients at home or in a hospital and discuss their options with regards to aged care services. As with RAS assessments, they ask clients about what activities they require assistance with, what health conditions they are affected by, and provide information about services available in their local area. Clients will then receive a letter advising them of the outcome of their assessment. The letter includes a referral code that an individual’s chosen service provider will use to access their information.
The NSAF has been designed to support the collection of information for the screening and assessment processes conducted under My Aged Care.
It includes the questions to be asked as part of the screening process undertaken by contact centre staff, home support assessments undertaken by RAS assessors, and comprehensive assessments undertaken by ACATs. The NSAF ensures that a holistic assessment of client needs is undertaken, and that clients do not have to repeatedly provide information.