How to start the aged care assessment process, understand the difference between the ACAT and RAS assessment service, know what is involved in the aged care assessment and the significance of this to getting the right level of aged care at home service.
So often when talking to our clients, we hear busy adult children recognising that their parents need help but just don’t know where to start. Or they have started, and made contact with the My Aged Care portal and started the process, but they have not been able to get the care interventions that they or their parents need.
Accessing aged care services generally starts with a call to My Aged Care, 1800 200 422 or jump online to; www.myagedcare.gov.au depending on your response to the questions posed by the operator an aged care assessment will be arranged. This sounds pretty straight forward right? And in principle it is….
Except there are two levels of aged care assessment service. One is for lower level care needs; the Regional Assessment Service or RAS and one is for higher level care including home care packages, respite and residential care; the Aged Care Assessment Team also know as the ACAT. So what? Well if you actually need a home care package but get a RAS assessment then there can be significant delays and hurdles in then accessing the ACAT.
What is involved in an aged care assessment?
Essentially, a trained assessor will either in person or over the phone talk to your parent/yourself about how they are going, how they go getting dressed, getting the shopping done, cleaning and domestic needs, social engagement, manage their health and medications. If they have had any falls how they get about etc. This represents a broad overview but essentially they are seeking to understand how the older person is living, coping and what support is available to keep them living well longer. This sounds inherently sensible and fair so far.
So why might you need to get in external help?
We can potentially help reduce your waiting periods and ensure you are more likely to get the right level of aged care service that you need. We do this by understanding where your parents are actually functioning at and then help take you through the aged care assessment process. Because the reality is if you don’t have a clear understanding of what your end goal is you are not always likely to get it. We also know that very often, when asked people will down play exactly what trouble they may be having, “I’m going well…I can do this and this and this” , sound familiar? Unfortunately the assessors can only assess against the information they are given and this is where we see many people not get the level of service that they desperately need.
This problem is compounded by the unfortunate fact that for home care services there are quite lengthy waiting lists. This means that an inadequate assessment initially can delay the actual access of suitable aged care services considerably, sometimes to the point that a person may end up moving prematurely into a residential aged care facility because their needs have increased beyond the scope of their current at home support.
Not sure if this applies to you? Get in touch for a chat about your situation and if we can help reduce your stress about ensuring the right care is received in the most timely manner.
Reproduced with permission of Family Aged Care Advocates
No specific person’s personal objectives, needs or financial situations were taken into consideration when creating the content for this article. Family Aged Care Advocates Pty Ltd (ABN 77 642 454 484) are aged care specialists. You should seek qualified financial planning, taxation and legal advice before making any decisions that are unique to your circumstances. This article was prepared in good faith and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions.