Other issues

Aged care assessments

4.238  Before being approved as a care recipient, a person must have their care needs assessed.[337] For care regulated under the Aged Care Act, the assessment is conducted by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).[338] For the CHSP, the assessment is performed by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS).

4.239  The ALRC does not propose any changes to aged care assessments. As identified in the recommended National Plan,[339] it is important that all people working with older people receive appropriate training regarding elder abuse, and this is applicable also to personnel working in aged care assessment programs.

4.240  A number of submissions commended the value of ACATs, and their potential to play a role in identifying abuse.[340] Notwithstanding this, some noted that their role is a specific one—to assess a person’s need for aged care—and argued that they were not appropriately placed to take on a broader case management role in cases of suspected elder abuse.[341]

4.241  The ACAT and RAS use the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF) when assessing the aged care needs of clients.[342] The NSAF includes items relating to risks, hazards, or concerns to a person in their home,[343] and concerns relating to living arrangements. It also includes a question asking if a person is ‘afraid of someone who hurts, insults, controls or threatens you, or who prevents you from doing what you want’.[344] A number of supplementary assessment tools may also be used in the assessment process, including tools relating to pain, alcohol use, and activities of daily living.[345] Consideration might be given to including a validated tool for assessment of risks of elder abuse where concerns have been identified.[346] Additionally, ensuring that ACATs and the RAS have a clear understanding of the referral pathways for elder abuse, will be an important component of broader elder abuse response strategies.[347]