Ageing in place

In 1997, the Federal Government introduced its "ageing in place" policy which allows residents of low-care homes to remain within that home – even when their care needs have been assessed as high care. ACC supports the rights of frail residents to stay in a home to which they have become accustomed.

However, feedback to our site indicates that there are many instances where this policy is being exploited.

People with high-care needs require enough staff to provide this higher level of care.

Too often this does not happen and staff struggle to maintain the level of care required by these high-care residents.

ACAT: assessments

Australian Government expenditure in 2008-09 for the Aged Care Assessment Program (ACAP) was $74.5 million, which included recurrent funding for Aged Care Assessment Teams (or ACATs). In 2008-09, 116 Aged Care Assessment Teams operated nationally, to assess the care needs of frail older people and help them to find services to meet their care needs.

A person must generally be assessed by an ACAT before they can access aged care services provided under the Aged Care Act.

When "high care" really means "low care"?

ACC are aware of instances where an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) has assessed a resident as "high care" - only to have this decision overruled by the approved provider and re-classified as low care.

There may be, in some instances, a significant appeal for assessments to be made that produce an outcome which necessitates payment of an accommodation bond.

Under current legislation, nursing homes can only request bonds from low care residents or high care extra service.


… DOHA reinforces there is no actual requirement in the Aged Care Act 1997 for the assessment to be done by an ACAT under the ACAP. Accordingly, the Provider has the final say, not the ACAT assessment team!

The fact that the Department's budget funds 116 ACATs across Australia and they are intended to make the final assessments independently, is apparently no longer of importance to DOHA.

Perhaps though, they should tell the Parliament they have abandoned the idea of independent assessment before they next ask for money under ACAP?
What a relief for taxpayers. No more ACAPs – its do-it-yourself for Providers! ...

Rodney Lewis, Legal Issues Columnist, Aged Care Crisis