What to expect from your ACAT or RAS assessment for Home Care

Publish date: 12 March 2024

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How do you know if it’s the right time to get your eligibility for Home Care assessed?

Ultimately, it comes down to one question - have your needs changed? If the answer is yes and you feel that you would benefit from support in the home, then getting assessed is the right decision.  Maybe you could access some help in your garden, or with the washing and vacuuming in your home?

In this guide, we explore the different kinds of assessments, what you can expect from them and some tips for navigating the assessment process.

What are the different kinds of aged care assessments?

Before receiving your assessment, you’ll need to register with My Aged Care by calling 1800 200 422 and providing your Medicare number, or by applying online . My Aged Care is the national aged care portal and can help you find an appropriate assessor.

During your call, you’ll be asked a few questions to better understand your needs. Ensure you have a window of at least 10 minutes free to complete this process. Depending on your responses, you may be referred for one of two assessments to gain a deeper understanding of your care needs.

These two assessments are:

Home support assessments conducted by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS)

Based on the details you share in your call, this assessment will likely be recommended if minimal assistance is necessary for you to remain self-sufficient at home.  If support requirements are identified, these will be provided through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).

Comprehensive assessments with an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)

In contrast, if it is determined that your care needs exceed those covered by the Commonwealth Home Support Program, an assessment by an ACAT assessor may be recommended instead. There are three types of care that an ACAT can assess you for, and they are:

  • Home Care Packages
  • Short-term care options 
  • Aged care homes

What happens during your ACAT or RAS assessment?

The RAS or ACAT assessor will come to your home to conduct the assessment, which will take around 45 to 75 minutes.

Before your assessment begins, your assessor will check that you're comfortable with the assessment taking place and confirm that you want to apply for approval to access certain aged care services. They might also ask for your permission to speak with individuals who help you, like family members or caregivers. You can ask any questions about the RAS or ACAT assessment process at this stage.

You will also need to carry out an ‘active’ assessment, where the assessor observes you performing daily tasks around your home. In doing so, they are able to better assess the areas of your home life where you may require support. 

1. Application for Care Form

Your assessor will ask you to sign and complete this short form if you’re receiving a comprehensive assessment.

2. Discussing your needs

Because of your previous phone call with My Aged Care, your assessor will already have an idea of your care requirements. In order to get a better understanding of these needs, they’ll likely ask you a number of assessment questions about:

  • The support you are currently receiving and whether it will continue
  • Your GP or any other health professionals and whether they can talk to them
  • Your health, lifestyle and participation in family and community activities 
  • Any concerns you have about your health or memory 
  • How you manage day-to-day tasks around the home 
  • Any medications you are currently taking or have been taking recently

Remember to honestly express your thoughts about your care needs so that a comprehensive support plan can be developed. You won’t be put under any pressure to make decisions during the assessment, and you are welcome to have a friend, relative or interpreter with you throughout the discussion to assist you.

Based on the information you provide, your assessor will probably talk to you about service providers close to your location, potential costs, and where you can find further information.

3. Developing your support plan

The last part of the aged care assessment process is the development of your support plan. This plan outlines the care and services that are relevant to your needs and will address:

  • Your goals and strengths 
  • Any difficulties you’re experiencing 
  • Your service preferences

During the preparation of your plan, you may find that the services you require are already available in your community. Alternatively, you may need to seek out a service provider, and Bethanie may be able to help you.

Your assessor may also include tips to help you regain self-sufficiency and feel more prepared to perform the activities you wish to undertake. Throughout this process, you will have the opportunity to make additional comments and ask questions.

Preparation tips for your ACAT assessment

Before your assessment, make sure you have the following documentation on hand:

  • Your Medicare card, as well as a second form of proof of identity
  • Details about any support you are currently receiving
  • Any notes you would like to refer to e.g. research you have already undertaken 
  • Copies of relevant referrals, as well as the contact details for your GP or other health professionals

Remember that you are also entitled to have a support person (e.g. a relative or caregiver) present, as well as a translator or Auslan interpreter if necessary.

It’s also great to have a list of questions prepared for your assessor beforehand. Consider adding any of the following if they’re not on your list already:

  • What services can I access to help reach my goals? 
  • What kind of waiting times can I expect when first accessing services? 
  • Are there services available in my vicinity?
  • How can I get in contact with you if I have any follow-up questions? 
  • Can my carer access support?
  • Can you recommend service providers that speak my language and/or align with my beliefs or culture?

What services are available?

At Bethanie, we offer a wide variety of Home Care services, including social support like transport and shopping, garden and home support, and health and personal care support.

Are you interested in finding out more? Start exploring our range of Home Care Services .


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