Healthy living

Accessing Aged Care Services

If you are looking for Australian Government funded aged care services, then My Aged Care is a great place to start. You can find what services may be available to help you if you are eligible and how much it might cost you. To know for sure if you are eligible for services, you will need to have an assessment.

If it sounds like you will need regular, more complex support, an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) will provide a more comprehensive assessment.

Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs)

ACATs assess older people with complex needs to determine which Australian Government-funded aged care services they are eligible for.

These teams are overseen by state health service providers and funded by the State and Australian Government.

ACATs are made up of nursing, allied health and medical professionals who assess the physical, psychological, medical, social and care needs of older people. Based on these assessments ACATs recommend services to assist the older person and their carer(s) to access appropriate levels of support.

The team may refer older people to other available services that are more suitable, if a referral to ACAT is not appropriate. This may include an assessment by the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) for older people with non-complex needs, carer support services or specialist services.

ACATs may recommend people for Australian Government-funded services such as:

  • home care packages to assist people to remain at home
  • residential aged care services
  • residential respite services
  • short term restorative care
  • transition care, which provides care for those older people transitioning from the hospital to their home, or to permanent residential care – see Transition Care Program.


ACAT assessments are provided free of charge.

Who is eligible?

Anyone can request an assessment, a referral from a GP or medical professional is not required.

To be eligible to receive funding for and access to aged care services certain criteria must be met.

You may be eligible if you:

  • are an older person aged 65 and older
  • are an Aboriginal person aged 50 or over
  • are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • have complex care requirements indicating a need for Australian Government subsidised services
  • had a recent fall or hospital admission
  • have experienced a change in family care arrangements
  • have noticed a change in what you can and can’t do or remember.

Learn more about eligibility.

How do I access an Assessment for Aged Care Services?

You can apply for an assessment online or you can call My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Once a referral has been made, there are two avenues of assessment. For low level support at home, for those without complex needs, a Regional Assessment Service may be recommended instead of an assessment by an ACAT. These are private organisations funded directly by the Australian Government. For higher levels of support or those with more complex needs an ACAT service may be recommended. Assessments by ACATs can take place within the home or a hospital depending on your circumstances.

Learn more about the assessment process.

After your assessment you will receive an assessment result and, if eligible for services, a support plan. You can learn more about what happens after an assessment.

What if care needs change?

If circumstances or care requirements change, a Support Plan Review can be undertaken to consider whether additional or extended services are required. Learn more about Support Plan Reviews.

How do I make a complaint?

As a consumer of ACAT services, you are entitled to express your concerns about your experience of the comprehensive assessment process and have any complaint dealt with objectively.

Should you have any concerns regarding the performance of an ACAT team member or the assessment process please contact your ACAT organisation in the first instance.

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive, you can contact the Aged Care Programs and Planning Team at the West Australian Department of Health at

Further information regarding the complaints process is available on the my aged care website (external site).

How do I challenge an assessment decision?

You have the right to challenge the assessment decision outlined in your approval letter

If you do not agree with the ACAT assessment outcome or would like to discuss the decision, please contact your ACAT assessor or organisation in the first instance.

If you are still not satisfied with the decision, you may ask for a review free of charge by writing to the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.

In your letter, outline why you think the decision should be changed. Your letter must be sent within 28 days of receiving your approval letter.


The Secretary

Department of Health and Aged Care

Attn: Aged Care Assessment Program Reconsiderations

GPO Box 9848


If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of the Secretary’s review, you may ask for a second review of the decision through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (there will be a change for this).

Learn more about the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Questions about aged care assessment?

Aged and Continuing Care Directorate

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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