Step 3.2

How do you get an ACAT assessment?

Getting an ACAT Assessment 

There are two ways to get an ACAT/ ACAS assessment

You can:

My Aged Care contact centre

In many cases a health professional already involved in your care will refer you for an ACAT assessment. This might be your GP or nurse. If you are in hospital, it might be a social worker, for example.

The process needs to go through My Aged Care so that the ACAT referral is created from there. You (or your nominated decision-maker) need to give your health professional consent to do this on your behalf, including consent to pass on your personal information.

If you have a client number through My Aged Care then you should provide it.

If you have already been in touch with the My Aged Care Contact Centre it is likely that you will have organised some important legal arrangements in place and at least begun the process of setting up a My Aged Care client record (phone 1800 200 422 available 8am - 8pm Monday to Friday and 10am – 2pm Saturdays). 

A health professional can make the referral

Before recent changes to the aged care system, health professionals could refer you directly to an ACAT for assessment.  Now, they have to refer you to My Aged Care for the ACAT referral to be created from there. You need to give your health professional your consent to do this on your behalf, including consent to pass on your personal information.  If you are unable to make the decision, your nominated decision maker can do this on your behalf.

How long does it take to get an ACAT appointment?

How long you have to wait for your ACAT assessment will depend on how urgent your situation and need is.   The My Aged Care contact centre staff will determine that from the screening process when you create your client record; or in consultation with the referral from your health professional.  See: 2.5 create your client record.

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View transcript of video here
Your need is urgent 

If your situation is deemed urgent – because you are at ‘high risk’ of harm or in a crisis situation – an ACAT assessor will be in contact within 48 hours.

Top Tip

If you urgently require an aged care home, you can get into one without an ACAT assessment.  The assessment can be done  afterwards.

Your need is moderate

If you are not at immediate risk of harm but have had deterioration in your physical or mental health; or your current level of care is no longer adequate, the ACAT assessment appointment could take between 3-14 days. 

Your need is manageable

If you are concerned about things getting more difficult for you but you’re still getting by on your own or with the support you currently have, you might have to wait longer than 14 days for your ACAT assessment.  This might also happen if you’re looking for respite care, for example if your carer needs to take a holiday.   

8 weeks
Time estimate to complete all of the tasks within this step, including all sub-steps.

Looking for aged care?

Did you know it could be 13 weeks or more to secure an aged care home?

agedcare101 makes aged care easy with 9 steps to an aged care home. You’re likely feeling the pressure to do something now but it’s equally important to invest the time to complete each of the steps and get the best result.

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A special thanks to our contributors

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.