When beginning your care journey, undergoing a RAS or ACAT assessment is one of the first steps you will need to take. Finances are often a concern when it comes to aged care, and these assessments will determine the government funding options that are available to you. To simplify the process, we explain the difference between the two and the process you need to follow to apply.
What is a RAS Assessment?
The Regional Assessment Service is a face-to-face assessment conducted by a certified Home Support Assessor for elderly adults with low-level needs. Once they understand your needs, the Assessor will refer the client to the appropriate Commonwealth Home Support Programme services. The aim of these services is to help seniors live independently rather than doing things for them. There is a wide range of support available, such as meal preparation, overnight respite care, home and garden maintenance, transport help…etc.
What is an ACAT Assessment?
If it sounds like your needs are greater than what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can support, then a complete assessment with an Aged Care Assessment Team is necessary. ACATs are a team of medical, nursing and allied health professionals who assess the needs of elderly people requiring a higher level of care. They can then refer you to a range of options, such as Home Care Packages, Short-Term Care options and Aged Care homes.
What is the process?
So now that you know the difference between the two assessments, you might be wondering how exactly you can apply for them. Once you’ve determined the type of care that you are seeking, here’s what you need to do:
1. Check your eligibility
When you visit the My Aged Care website, you will be directed to either call or apply for an assessment online. In this first stage, you will be asked a range of questions that relate to how much assistance you require. This usually takes around 10-15 minutes where they will ask questions about:
- your health
- how you’re managing at home
- any support you’re currently receiving
After you have submitted the form online or have finished the phone call, My Aged Care will then get back to you and suggest either a RAS or ACAT in-person assessment. If you need help submitting this application, you can give permission to a family member, friend, or carer to complete this on your behalf.
2. Conduct an in-person assessment
If your eligibility application is successful, the next step is an in-person assessment that is conducted in your home by either the RAS or ACAT team. To prepare for this assessment, you should:
- Have your medicare card and proof of ID readily available
- Present any referrals from your doctor
- Gather any information on the support you receive (if any)
Once you have completed this face-to-face appointment, you will find out whether or not you are eligible for subsidized aged care. For low-level care, the health professional will usually let you know during the appointment itself whether you are eligible or not. For higher care levels, it usually takes around two to six weeks to receive an answer as they need more time to process the information. You will receive the answer by letter, or alternatively, you can log into your My Aged Care Online Account to view your assessment outcome.
Understanding the difference between RAS and ACAT assessments is the first step to ensuring that you are getting the care that you need. While both assessments give you access to subsidized aged care, knowing the process and what to expect will help you transition into your aged care journey with ease.