Aged Care Assessment (ACAT)

What is an Aged Care Assessment (ACAT /ACAS assessment)?

An ACAT assessment (aged care assessment) is an assessment organised by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT, or ACAS in Victoria) and is required for a person who needs to be approved for Government-funded services including; a nursing home (aged care home), home care, residential aged care, transition care or respite care. An ACAT assessment is used to make a recommendation for the type and level of care that will best meet your needs.

You do not need an ACAT assessment for aged care services that are not funded by the Federal Government. However, most nursing homes (aged care homes) are government-subsidised so you will still need an ACAT assessment.

Handy Hint - Did you know that if you can click the CC at the bottom righthand side while the video is playing, captions will appear. To get rid of them, click CC again.

View transcript of video here

Understanding the ACAT assessment

An ACAT assessment looks at a range of factors including:

  • your health and medical history
  • your physical requirements, such as how well you can get around and do everyday activities
  • your psychological needs, for example, how you are feeling and whether you have experienced depression or mental illness
  • your social needs, including family and friends and support networks
  • any special needs or concerns, for instance, religious and cultural beliefs, sexual preferences or language issues

Visit our guide on what is involved in the ACAT/ACAS Assessment for more information.

How to get an ACAT Assessment?

There are two ways to get an ACAT/ACAS assessment:

  • call my aged care contact centre directly
  • get a referral from your GP or a health care professional

It is a free assessment, but you will need a My Aged Care client record to set up an assessment.

For more detailed information, you can visit our page on how to get an ACAT assessment.

How long does it take to get an ACAT assessment?

It can take up to six weeks to get an ACAT assessment appointment depending on how urgent your situation is.

Who does the ACAT assessment?

An ACAT assessment is undertaken by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT).  This team usually includes a nurse, plus another healthcare worker such as a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or social worker. Usually, only one member of the ACAT team will visit you for the assessment, which takes place wherever you are.

ACAT teams work based on the state you are in. For more information you can visit one of the pages below:

How long does an ACAT assessment take?

An ACAT assessment usually takes between 45 minutes and 75 minutes.

It’s normal to feel worried about ‘getting assessed’, but you will be able to ask questions and won’t be forced to make any decisions on the day. You can also have a family member or friend with you.

The ACAT team will complete a report after the meeting. It generally takes up to two weeks for you to receive a copy, which you will need to proceed with your search for a nursing home (aged care home).

It will list the services you have been approved for, any conditions they come with, and the reasons for this decision.

You will also be given information about service providers in your area.

If you are not satisfied with the results of your ACAT assessment, you can make a complaint through My Aged Care.

What to expect during and after the assessment?

During your assessment, the member of the ACAT team will ask you to answer some formal questions about your general situation and your health, for example:
  • how your general state of health is
  • what specific health conditions you have;
  • what medications you are taking
  • whether you have any problems with your memory


The ACAT team member will also have a discussion with you and your carer about some of the options available for you based on your individual situation.

After the ACAT assessment is finalised, the team member will let you know the outcome in a letter specifying some information about:


  • the services you have been approved for
  • the reasons for this decision
  • information and contact details in case you want to appeal or discuss the decision made
  • information about aged care service providers in your area

Remember you can also ask questions to the assessor

You may want to be prepared with some questions for the team member who will be doing your assessment, for example:

  • What services are available in my area, and what are the waiting times?
  • What services are available to help me reach my goal
  • Are there service providers that speak languages other than English?
  • Are there service providers in my area that represent my religious or cultural beliefs?
  • What supports are there for my carer?
  • How can I contact the assessor if I have any questions after the assessment?

You can visit My Aged Care page for more tips on how to prepare for your assessment.

Still confused? Check some other FAQs

Can I have someone with me during the assessment?

Yes. You don’t have to be alone during this process. You can choose a family member, friend or carer to accompany you through the ACAT assessment.

What happens once I’m assessed as eligible for services?

If you are assessed as eligible for services, your assessor can help you connect to aged care service operators in your area. In some cases, your assessor can refer you directly to local providers to discuss your care needs or give you a referral code so you can find service providers yourself.

Do ACAT assessments expire?

ACAT Assessments don’t usually expire. However, if your last ACAT assessment was done a couple of years back, it may be a good idea to do a new one in order to determine your needs more accurately. 

Are there free tools that I can use for my aged care assessment?

Yes, you can use our free aged care fee estimator, and our free home care fee estimator.

My Aged Care also offers tools like an eligibility checker, or you can visit this self-assessment page from the Australian Government.

We have loads more on ACAT and ACAS assessments.

What is involved in the ACAT/ACAS Assessment?

How do you get an ACAT assessment?

What can I expect in the ACAT assessment?

What can I expect after the ACAT Assessment?

Ready to start your journey to find your next aged care home?

Begin our 9-step journey to find your next aged care or nursing home in Australia.

Popular Articles

View All Articles
Article Img
What makes a great retirement village manager?

As anyone who lives in a retirement village will tell you, the village manager is a central figure who is critical to the success of the village and the happiness and wellbeing of village residents. But there’s no doubt the village manager plays an essential role. So, what is the role of a retirement village manager?

Article Img
Retirement villages without exit fees? They’re happening!

Retirement villages without exit fees? They’re happening! Now, some of Australia’s largest retirement village operators are looking at new ways to pay for retirement villages that don’t include exit fees – indeed, there are calls for some exit fees to be banned.

Article Img
What sort of profits do retirement village owners make?

The number of Australians over the age of 75 is expected to increase by 70% over the next six years. The number of Australians over the age of 80 is expected to triple to more than 3.5 million over the next 40 years. As the number of older people in Australia surges, so too does demand for age-appropriate housing – such as retirement villages, which offer an affordable lifestyle, community, and ongoing health and wellness support.

Article Img
73% of Australians willing to sacrifice inheritance for aged care

Nearly three-quarters of all Australians are willing to sacrifice their own inheritance so their parents and grandparents can enjoy the retirement they deserve, according to a new report by B2B aged care service CompliSpace.

Article Img
Volunteers are the backbone of the aged care sector, and more are needed

Tens of thousands of people, of all ages, such as 90-year-old Lily Burns and 20-year-old Charlise Hannagan, volunteer in aged care homes. The Change Makers is the theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week, 15 to 21st May, which celebrates the vital work of volunteers.

A special thanks to our contributors

Caroline Egan

DCM Media, agedcare101

Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.