If you’re an Australian resident and in the process of applying for a Home Care Package, then you will eventually come across something called an Aged Care Assessment. The Aged Care Assessment is a standard procedure in helping people get the care services that they need.
What Is An Aged Care Assessment?
An Aged Care Assessment is a set of tests carried out by the Aged Care Assessment Team to assess the condition of older adults living in Australia. The purpose of the assessment is to find out what kind of aged care services an older person might be eligible for by determining their level of need.
Who Makes Up The Aged Car Assessment Team?
The Aged Care Assessment Team is a group of medical professionals who assess older adults across a range of health dimensions. The team often involves nurses, mental health specialists and those in general practice. They determine the medical, physical, psychological, social and cultural needs of a patient and use the information they find out to recommend an appropriate Home Care Package.
The purpose of the process is to provide people with an independent, honest assessment of their condition so that they can get access to the appropriate level of care, whether from a home care agency or nursing home. It’s important to note, however, that the Aged Care Assessment Team does not offer advice on which home care in Australia provider to choose. That decision falls to the patient. However, the agency can help vulnerable patients, and those with disabilities find home care services in Sydney and other locations across the country, should they need it.
What To Expect During An Aged Care Assessment
If you’ve come across the notion of an Aged Care Assessment, then you’re probably wondering what precisely it involves. The good news is that it is a non-invasive and straightforward process, tailored to your individual needs.
Most Aged Care Assessments happen in your home, although some take place in hospitals. You’re allowed and actively encouraged to have another person with you during the assessment for support.
The Aged Care Assessment is a comprehensive service, designed to find out as much information about your needs as possible.
First, you’ll discuss your medical history. It’s crucial that you have your medical history documents to hand so that you can give the ACAT assessor an accurate record of your health. If the medical professional can’t find out about your medical history, they may not be able to recommend the appropriate Home Care Package.
Next, they’ll investigate your current physical function. Usually, this involves a simple series of tests designed to determine the level of independence that you have. People with all levels of personal mobility can benefit from elderly home care. But your level of mobility will determine which package ACAT feels is suitable for your needs. Those with more severe physical mobility issues may quality for Home Care Packages levels 3 and 4, while those with more minor needs, Home Care Packages Levels 1 and 2.
Next, the Aged Care Assessment team will investigate your cognitive and psychological function. The purpose of this part of the assessment is to determine whether you have any cognitive or psychological needs. The nature of your needs will determine the level of care you require. In-home care in Sydney can provide support for a range of cognitive impairments, including dementia. Australian home care can be adapted to meet particular psychological and cognitive requirements.
The home in which you live is also an important consideration for the type of care you need. For instance, if you have physical impairment of some kind, then you may require home modifications, like ramps and rails, to make living arrangements easier. The Aged Care Assessment team will assess your current living environment and then determine what steps need taking to retain your independence.
Remember, the Aged Care Assessment isn’t a process that is out of your control. In fact, ACAT will take time to consider your personal needs during the assessment. For instance, suppose that you want to stay at home and receive in-home care support in Sydney. The assessment team will take this into account. You might want to stay at home for all sorts of reasons, including living with pets, remaining close to family and friends, or keeping your independence. Your Aged Care Assessment is an opportunity for you to communicate your wishes and continue to live the best life possible.
What Do You Need To Bring With You To Your Assessment?
During your assessment, the Aged Care Assessment Team may want to consult a range of documents. As we’ve discussed, you’ll want to have your medical history to hand. This will help the assessor get to know a little more about the medical issues you’ve had in the past, helping them to decide on an appropriate level of care support.
You’ll also want to carry with you a copy of referrals from your doctor. For instance, your doctor may have referred you to a physiotherapist, psychotherapist, or occupational therapist – important information for the assessor. The Aged Care Team will also need the contact details for your doctor, just in case they need to find out more information about your condition. And, finally, you may want to carry information on home care services that you already receive. This will provide the Aged Care Assessment Team with useful details that they can use to recommend a suitable level of service.
- Medical history
- General practitioner’s contact details
- Information regarding care services you’re already receiving
- Copies of referrals to other specialists from your doctor
- A list of questions/points that you’d like to raise with the assessor
What Can An Assessment Help You Find Out?
The purpose of the ACAT assessment is to determine the overall condition, capacity and wellbeing of an older adult. The assessment can show whether a person can stay in their home with additional support from in-home care or whether their needs are such that they need to go into permanent residential care. Throughout the process, the Aged Care Assessment Team aims to uphold and maintain the welfare of the older adult. The Aged Care Assessment Team can only make recommendations based on their observations. Remember, the organisation is independent, meaning that you can trust what they say.
What Services Can ACAT Recommend?
In general, ACAT can recommend that people use four different Australian Government-Funded services.
Home Care Packages
The first recommendation that ACAT can make is that people use Australian home care services. Home care is where a person remains in their home and receive regular visitors from professional carers. The great thing about homecare is that it allows people to stay in their homes for longer, continuing to enjoy their lives as they always have. Home care providers are able to offer a range of services, from dementia care to palliative care to taking care of people with disabilities.
Home care packages often end up being cheaper than the alternatives, making them an attractive option for many elderly people. Older adults are able to stay in their homes with home care in Sydney and remain connected to their communities. They also avoid having to live with other residents which is something that many independent-minded people do not like. Home care services can be tailored to the needs of the person, and clients and carers often build highly-effective relationships, where the carer understands the needs of the person being care for intimately.
Residential Aged Care Services
The second option that ACAT may recommend is that people move into residential care homes. Often the Aged Care Assessment Team will make this recommendation if they believe that it is no safe or medically advisable to leave a person unattended in their home.
In residential aged care settings, older adults move out of their homes and into a facility occupied by other residents. You often have your own room and share facilities with other people. Medical and care staff are available 24 hours per day to offer assistance should you need it. Meals are prepared in a central canteen and can be brought to your room, should you require. Because of the high overheads (such as running the building, paying the rent and staff wages), aged care services tend to be more expensive than in-home care.
Residential Respite Services
Residential respite services offer both a high and low level of care on a temporary basis. They are, if you like, a kind of emergency service provided by aged care homes, allowing the regular carer of an individual to get respite while other people take over care duties. It is a break from the usual care arrangements.
Finally, the Aged Care Assessment Team may recommend transition care. Many elderly people need transition care when moving from a hospital back to their home, or when going from their home to permanent aged care services.
Transition care usually takes the form on home care or in-hospital care, where a client receives many of the services that they will get once they finally transition to the new environment. The motivation for this type of care is to create as much continuity as possible as a person changes settings.
Who Is Eligible For An Aged Care Assessment?
Elderly people in Australia are eligible for an aged care assessment. Anyone can request that the Aged Care Assessment Team evaluate a frail or older adult. You do not need a GP referral.
What Questions Will You Be Asked During The Assessment?
During the assessment, it’s likely that the assessors will ask you a range of questions. Let’s take a look at some of the questions that they may ask.
- Are there any safety issues in your home? Your physical or psychological condition may mean that certain aspects of your home have become hazardous. The assessor may ask you where dangers lurk so that they can suggest a suitable level of care. Higher levels of care package offer more general living assistance.
- Do you have any issues managing activities around your home? The purpose of this question is to find out how independent you are and whether you need any additional resources, like ramps and rails, to make living arrangements more manageable.
- What support do you currently receive? Assessors may want to know what support you already get so that they can determine the level of support that may be appropriate. If for instance, you need help preparing meals, it’s a good idea to tell ACAT immediately. Likewise, if you require personal care, then let them know.
- What health concerns do you currently have? The Aged Care Assessment Team comprises a group of trained medical professionals who understand the medical needs of elderly people. By telling them about your current health concerns, they’ll be able to arrange treatment around your needs better and create the appropriate care package.
It’s important to note that the ACAT assessment is precisely that: an assessment. Many people worry that an appraisal is just a way of forcing them into a nursing home earlier than they’d like. But the truth is that ACAT is about providing people with the government-subsidised support that they need to manage their situation.
For some people, a nursing home is the only option, but for many, simple home care will suffice. Home care allows people to remain in independent living situations far longer than many expect. And carers who come to your home can perform a whole host of service, from helping you get changed to preparing meals and watering the lawn.
The home care assessment is all about identifying options. After the evaluation, you’ll be informed of ACAT’s recommendations, but it’s your decision whether you take any action.
If you want help finding out more about Aged Care Assessments, get in touch with Home Caring today. We are Home Care Package experts who can guide you through the process and help you select the services your needs. Call us today to find out more.