What is My Aged Care?
My Aged Care is a centralised referral portal for aged care assessments and is the starting point to access Australian Government-funded aged care services.
All assessments to access these services are coordinated through My Aged Care. The phone line and website can also help older Australians, their families and carers to get the help and support they need.
My Aged Care provides:
- Information on the different types of aged care services available
- An assessment of needs to identify eligibility and the right type of care
- Referrals and support to find service providers that can meet your needs
- Information on what you might need to pay towards the cost of your care
What aged care services are provided?
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) helps senior Australians access entry-level support services to live independently and safely at home. Eligibility for this program is based on the individual support needs and age.
For senior Australians who are experiencing trouble with everyday tasks and feel that a little support could improve their health and wellbeing, CHSP could be the right program for them.
Eligibility for this program is:
- 65 years or older (50 years or older for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people), or
- 50 years or older (45 years or older for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) and on a low income, homeless, or at risk of being homeless
To ensure access to service at an affordable price, the government subsidises a variety of service providers across Australia. They deliver care and services at a subsidised price.
For senior Australians with more complex needs, they may be eligible for a Home Care Package (HCP).
How do I make a referral?
All referrals are done through My Aged Care and can be completed either via phone on 1800 836 799 or online at myagedcare.gov.au
Practices can also refer their patients to My Aged Care directly from their practice management systems, as outlined in a recent article by the HealthPathways Melbourne team.
When completing the referral, you will need to have obtained client consent or have the client with you. You can upload supporting documents when you complete the referral online.
You will be asked to provide a reason for the referral and provide some detail. The options here include:
- Hospital discharge
- Medical condition
- Change in cognition
- Change in care needs
- Concern with increasing frailty
- Carer burden/issues
- Change in caring arrangements
- Change in living arrangements
- Sudden change in circumstances
- Risk of vulnerability
- Unable to determine
There are 11 questions about activities of daily living which you are asked to answer on a scale:
- With help
- With some help
- Completely unable
What happens after I make the referral?
Based on the information provided in the referral you will be advised if the referral will go to the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) or the Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).
You can either accept the recommendation or suggest an alternative recommendation. If you accept the recommendation, you will be asked to provide additional information in relation to the areas of supports including:
- Allied health
- Domestic assistance
- Community nursing
- Home modifications
- Personal care
An RAS assessor will be recommended to perform a home support assessment if it sounds like the patient needs low-level support to stay independent in their home.
An ACAT assessor will be recommended to perform a comprehensive assessment if it sounds like the patient has care needs that are greater than what the Commonwealth Home Support Programme can support.
The types of care an Aged Care Assessment Team can assess include:
- Home Care Packages
- Short-term care options
- Aged care homes
My Aged Care will contact the patient to schedule a face to face assessment either through RAS or ACAT. The RAS or ACAT assessor will arrange a time to visit and arrange for an interpreter or key contact to be present if required.
The assessor will discuss the care needs with the patient. Once the assessment is complete and the services identified, the patient will be given information about the service providers in the area that can offer the care they need. The assessor may provide the patient with a referral code and the patient can seek out the services or they may make referrals on behalf of the client through My Aged Care.
What language should I use in the referral? What information is important?
It is important to use simple non-medical language describing what services the client needs or what the client needs support with
What if I just think my patient needs an OT assessment? Can I do this through My Aged care? How can I assure they get a thorough assessment as I may not be good at identifying social needs?
All referrals for CHSP services must go through My Aged Care. You can request the service, such as OT when you refer which will clearly identify the care needs of the patient. The RAS/ACAT assessor will conduct a comprehensive assessment and identify any other needs that the patient may have.
Once the client is seen for a service, the clinician such as the OT may identify that the client will benefit from another service and can refer back for a review.
By Lence Markovska, Manager Aged Care, Merri Health.
Disclaimer: This article was provided by Merri Health. While every effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate, North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network does not warrant or represent the accuracy, currency and completeness of any information or material included within.