Step 1: Assess

Assess your eligibility for government support

The first step you need to take is to find out if you’re eligible for government support. To do this, you’ll need to be assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team or ACAT (known as Aged Care Assessment Services or ACAS in Victoria).

Aged Care Assessment Teams are health professionals such as doctors, nurses and social workers who provide information and advice to older people who are having difficulty living at home. The assessment helps establish which services and care you are eligible to access.

You can contact ACAT directly by calling 1800 200 422 or via the government’s My Aged Care website at myagedcare.gov.au or you can simply speak to your local doctor or health centre to provide a referral to your nearest ACAT.

 

What to expect from an ACAT assessment?

A member of ACAT will visit you at home to understand more about how you’re managing with day-to-day activities such as bathing, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. With your permission, your doctor may tell the ACAT representative about your medical history to help determine what kind of care would be most beneficial for you. You may like to have a member of your family or a carer present during the visit. Once the ACAT has completed your assessment, they will let you know whether or not you are eligible to access government support for your residential aged care. They will either give you a copy of the assessment report or they may choose to post it to you. Your ACAT assessment is free and will be valid indefinitely unless it is granted for a specific period of time.

 

Types of care for which you may be eligible to receive support

Permanent care
Permanent care can range from assistance with personal care or day-to-day tasks to 24-hour nursing care for those with complex or high care needs.

Dementia care
Dementia care typically involves a higher level of care delivered in an environment designed specifically to meet the needs of people living with dementia.

Respite care
Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers with a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.

Palliative care
Palliative care is specialised care for people who have advanced illness or who are in the final stages of life. The aim of palliative care is to provide the best possible end-of-life care for the person and also for their family.


5 Steps into Residential Aged Care

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Commonly asked questions about Aged Care

  • Once you have received your ACAT assessment, you can begin applying to as many care homes as you wish, but once you accept a place, it’s important that you let the other homes know that you no longer require their services.

  • Visiting a range of homes is often one of the best ways to decide which home suits your needs. To help you assess the suitability of the homes you visit, we have attached a short checklist at the end of this section. This will help you assess each home and ask some important questions to the providers you meet with.

  • The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the body that determines your financial situation. To do this, DHS conducts a Combined Income and Assets Assessment, which is a form that you need to complete and submit to the government.

  • Respite care is short-term care, including day respite, to provide your caregivers a break from caring when they need it. It can be planned or on an emergency basis and can be used for up to 63 days in a financial year. Many care homes offer day respite, which offers caregivers some flexibility to attend to personal needs and obligations as they arise.

  • The Combined Income and Assets Assessment form (SA457) is an extensive questionnaire with over 140 questions about what you and your partner/spouse own and earn. It’s important to understand that you are considered to own half your assets with your partner/spouse regardless of who holds the title to the assets. As part of your assessment, you will be asked to provide details of all assets owned by both of you.

  • Accommodation Charge (the cost of your room) - These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home

    • Basic Daily Care Fee (meals, laundry, cleaning and other day-to-day costs) – These are set by the Australian Government and is the same across every home in Australia.
    • Means-Tested Care Fee (to supplement the cost of your overall care) - These are set by the Australian Government based on an assessment of your personal financial situation.
    • Additional Services Fee or Extra Services Fee - (higher-end services and accommodation) These are set by individual homes and varies from home to home.In some homes, Additional Services or Extra Services are optional and in other homes, residents are required to purchase these services as a condition of entry

    For further information download our 5 step guide.