Other issues

Aged care assessments

11.280         Before being approved as a care recipient, a person must have their care needs assessed.[305] For care regulated under the Aged Care Act, the assessment is conducted by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).[306] For the CHSP, the assessment is performed by a Regional Assessment Service (RAS).

11.281         The ALRC does not propose any changes to aged care assessments. As identified in the proposed National Plan,[307] 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.

11.282         A number of submissions commended the value of ACATs, and their potential to play a role in identifying abuse.[308] 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.[309]

11.283         The ACAT and RAS use the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF) when assessing the aged care needs of clients.[310] The NSAF includes items relating to risks, hazards, or concerns to a person in their home,[311] 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.[312] 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.[313] Consideration might be given to including a validated tool for assessment of risks of elder abuse where concerns have been identified.[314] 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.[315]

[305]       Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) s 22-4; Department of Social Services (Cth), above n 2, 76–82.

[306]       In Victoria, the assessment is provided by an Aged Care Assessment Service. The abbreviation ACAT is used in this chapter to refer to all assessment services for the purposes of the Aged Care Act.  

[307]       See further prop 2-1.

[308]       See, eg, Office of the Public Advocate (SA), Submission 170; Justice Connect, Submission 182; ADA Australia, Submission 150; Townsville Community Legal Service Inc, Submission 141; Macarthur Legal Centre, Submission 110; GLBTI Rights in Ageing Institute, Submission 132; Aged and Community Services Australia, Submission 102.

[309]       UnitingCare Australia, Submission 162; Aged and Community Services Australia, Submission 102; Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine, Submission 51.

[310]       Department of Social Services (Cth) and My Aged Care, National Screening and Assessment Form Fact Sheet (2015).

[311]       Department of Social Services (Cth) and My Aged Care, National Screening and Assessment Form User Guide (2015) 137.

[312]       Ibid 144–45.

[313]       Ibid 189.

[314]       See, eg, in the context of family violence, the Common Risk Assessment Framework: Domestic Violence Resource Centre Victoria, CRAF <www.dvrcv.org.au/training/family-violence-risk-assessment-craf>.

[315]       Office of the Public Advocate (SA), Submission 170; Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation, Submission 163; GLBTI Rights in Ageing Institute, Submission 132; Law Council of Australia, Submission 61.