What Happens During an Aged Care Assessment?

Home Care |

What Happens During an Aged Care Assessment?

An aged care assessment is an crucial step in accessing support and care services for older Australians. The assessment process helps determine an individual’s needs and identifies the most appropriate type of support required, whether it be in-home support, respite care, or residential aged care.

Although an aged care assessment can seem daunting, with the right information and preparation, it can be a positive and informative experience and set you up on your next care journey.

What happens during an aged care assessment?

So if you’re looking for in-home care support for yourself or a loved one, this blog post will provide you with a comprehensive overview of what happens during an aged care assessment. It’s important to understand this process to ensure that you are set up to receive the best possible care and support to meet your individual needs.

Applying for home care

Home care support gives senior Australians an opportunity to access the health and care services they need as they get older, so they can continue living independently at home.

Once you’ve applied for home care, you will participate in an assessment with My Aged Care [MAC], where they will start the discussion with you about your current lifestyle as well as any daily care needs and considerations.

If you’re a looking for information about home care packages, you have a few options. First, you can visit the government website My Aged Care, which is the main gateway for accessing aged care services in Australia. MAC provides information on the different types of home care packages available, as well as the eligibility criteria and the steps involved in applying for a package.

Additionally, you can speak with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) representative, who can assess your needs and help you determine which type of home care package is right for you. You can also contact the Department of Health or the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services for more information.

Local organisations, as well as any service provider that offers home care services, may also be a valuable resource for information and guidance on the application process.

Assessing your care needs

When you apply for support through MAC, their aged care assessment services will determine your care needs by referring you to a specific team to complete an in-home assessment. Depending on the information you provided when you applied, you will be referred to either:

The Regional Assessment Service (RAS). In this case, you probably require low-level support to stay independent and safe at home. This type of support is provided through the commonwealth home support programme (CHSP).

An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT): In this case, you probably need support greater than what can be provided through the commonwealth home support programme. An ACAT assessment examines your suitability for care services like aged care homes, short-term care options, and home care packages.

Preparing for your assessment

Before your assessment takes place, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

  • Have your Medicare card handy as well as another form of ID. This could be your driver’s licence, DVA card or passport.
  • If you have a referral from your GP, ensure you have it available.
  • Have your GP contact details on-hand also (or information about any other relevant allied health professionals).
  • Think about whether you would like a family member or support person with you during the assessment and ensure they are available to join you.
  • Consider if you require any form of translation support or further assistance to effectively communicate with the assessors.
  • Have information ready regarding any current support you receive or any care services you are potentially interested in discussing.

Considering your care needs

This is the perfect time to start painting a picture of what you want from a potential provider, based on your needs and health concerns — as this will help you choose the services you want to prioritise.

Draw up a list of the services you want your provider to offer you. Think about your current situation and what you require. This may include help with personal care, like showering or toileting; or support with domestic duties, like cleaning or gardening; or physiotherapy and occupational therapy .

Once you’ve got a clear understanding in mind of what you want from a home care provider, you can start looking into the services available in your local area. This will help you compare other service providers based on what best suits your requirements.

Questions to ask

As part of your preparation for the assessment, you may want to write down some questions you would like to ask the assessor, so you don’t forget

  • What services are available in my area?
  • How will these services help me?
  • Are there any waiting times for services?
  • What will happen at the end of my assessment?
  • What happens if my circumstances change and I require additional support?

If you do forget to ask something during your assessment, you will still have the opportunity to follow-up with your assessor and their team. During your time with the assessor, they will provide contact details for you to talk to someone about their assessment and the next steps. If they don’t, make sure you ask!

Seeking support

It’s extremely common for someone being assessed to have a friend, family member or carer by their side. So don’t feel like you need to go through the assessment process alone! In fact, assessors encourage everyone to draw on a support person. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable, but having a trusted contact there can actually help remind you of things to remember or anything you want to bring up.

If you would like some support during at-home assessment, but don’t feel as though you have anyone to ask, you also have the option to recruit an advocate. The Older Persons Advocacy Network is a free and independent service that provides this level of support for older Australians.

Additionally, our team of Care Managers at Respect Home Care is also available to assist you during this step. To reach out for support, call 1300 144 144 or email gethomecare@respect.com.au

Your assessment

Once an assessor arrives at your home and is ready to begin, the assessment will follow the following approach:

  • Your assessor will introduce themselves and seek your permission to initiate the assessment. If you have a support person with you, they will also ask for their permission.
  • In most cases, you will be asked to fill out an Application for Care form, which indicates your intention to apply for approval to receive aged care services. To read this prior to your assessment, click here.
  • The assessor will then ask you questions about your day-to-day life to ascertain your care needs. They are trying to paint a picture of your circumstances so that they can provide tailored recommendations on the level of support you require. Assessors may also speak to your doctor or any other health professionals you see to learn more about your health, medical history, and any concerns they may have.
  • They will share information with you about the services you are able to access (including those localised and available in your area), as well as the relevant potential costs. In some cases, assessors may direct you to other resources for further information.
  • Finally, the assessors will help you develop a support plan, which records the services that are best placed to help you. Unique to each individual, this plan includes your preferences, strengths, challenges, as well as personal goals. As an example, these aspirations could include accessing extra support around the home, becoming more independent, increasing your engagement in the community, or becoming more active.

What happens following your assessment:

Following the assessment, you will be given a comprehensive report that outlines your care needs, the level of support you’re eligible for, and any of your specific requirements . This report is then used to match you with suitable aged care services, such as in-home support or residential care.

If you require in-home support, you will be referred to a home care package provider, who will work with them to develop a tailored care plan. This plan will outline the type and frequency of support you need, and the services you are eligible for. In-home support can include personal care, home modifications, nursing, and other services.

If residential care is required, you will be referred to a residential care provider, who will work with you and your loves ones to find a suitable facility. You will then undergo a placement assessment to determine the most suitable accommodation option based on their needs and preferences.

In both cases, you and your loves ones will be given the opportunity to review the services and providers available, and make an informed decision about the best option for your requirements.

We hope this blog post gave you a comprehensive overview of what happens during an aged care assessment.

Our service to you

Here at Respect, we’re passionate about providing care to older Australians and ensuring the next phase of their lives are filled with purpose and possibilities.

We deliver a range of services, all individualised to your needs. Our services include nursing and clinical care, personal care, balance and mobility support, domestic assistance and individual social support.

We understand the Home Care Package application process can be complicated and time-consuming, so if you or a family member is finding it hard to get started, please know our care coordinators are here to give you a helping hand.

We’re here to help! For more information about how to access a Home Care Package and get started with home care, including the available opportunities and Respect’s range of services, download our brochure. If you would like to connect with a member of our team, please call 1300 144 144 or email gethomecare@respect.com.au.

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