Frequently Asked Questions

Members of the Aged Care Planning team will be able to answer most of your questions

One of the critical tasks to understand your aged care needs is to undertake an ACAT.

What is an ACAT?

If you need some help at home or are considering moving into an aged care home, you may first need a free assessment with a member of an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT)*. An ACAT will talk to you about your current situation and work out if you are eligible to receive government-subsidised aged care services.

If you can receive aged care services, an ACAT assessment will help you access the right services for your needs and the care you require.

The assessment can help identify the type of care services to help you to stay at home. It can also provide you with eligibility for care in an aged care home. Remember, your wishes are always listened to and considered, and you will never be forced to make any decisions about your future during your assessment.

The assessment is an opportunity to identify options and you can make a decision once you have received the outcome of your assessment. You are also welcome to have someone else – perhaps a friend, family member, independent aged care advocate or your carer – attend your assessment with you for extra support.

*Note: An Aged Care Assessment Team is referred to as an Aged Care Assessment Service (ACAS) in Victoria. Where the information on this web page refers to an ACAT, it intends the Victorian term ACAS to be interchangeable.

What happens at an ACAT assessment?

Your doctor or nurse may refer you to an ACAT for an assessment if they think you need some extra help. Or, you may like to simply find your local ACAT and contact them to arrange your own assessment.

A member of your local ACAT – usually a doctor, nurse, social worker or other health care professional – will make a time to come to your home (or the hospital, if you're currently in hospital) and talk to you about how well you're managing in your day-to-day life. You may like to ask a family member, friend or carer to be with you during the assessment for extra support.

The following steps briefly outline what you can expect to happen at an ACAT assessment.

The ACAT member/s:

  • will ask your permission to conduct the assessment
  • may ask your permission to talk to your doctor to discuss your medical history before they meet with you. But only if you agree, and your consent will be recorded by the ACAT
  • will ask you if you wish to apply for approval to receive certain aged care services. They will explain these service options to you, and if you do want to apply, they will ask you to sign an application form or the Aged Care Client Record
  • will ask you questions about your day-to-day living activities and if you need help with all or some of them. They'll also talk to you about your general state of health and specific health conditions. This will help them work out how much and what type of help you need
  • will talk to you about whether they think you need more support so you can keep living in your own home, or if they think you might be better supported in an aged care home
  • will give you information about all of the services that may be available in your local area. You may also like to search for organisations or aged care homes yourself.

How long is an ACAT approval valid for?

All permanent residential care and Home Care Package approvals will always remain valid, unless the ACAT approval was granted for a specific period of time. 

If you are granted an approval for a specific period of time, you will need a new assessment when it expires.

You might also need another assessment if your personal circumstances or your care needs change.

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Aged Care Planning

Aged Care Planning was established in response to a growing need from families who struggle to cope with the stress and emotional practical issues relating to aged care placement, transition to appropriate accommodation and ageing.

Telephone: 0433 897 083