The Commonwealth has changed the way older people access aged care services, including the services they fund NSW Health to provide. NSW Health have changed the referral pathways to our aged care services to meet these new Commonwealth requirements.
New referral pathways for care under My Aged Care - from 1 July 2015
My Aged Care provides a central, identifiable entry point which aims to make it easier for older people, their families, and carers to access information on ageing and aged care, have their needs assessed and be supported to locate and access services available to them. My Aged Care began operating on 1 July 2013 with the introduction of the My Aged Care website and a national contact centre.
NSW Health is committed to community partnerships and early intervention to enable older people to maintain their independence and remain in their communities as long as they can and wish to do so, focusing on achieving wellness and client restorative care goals. NSW Health is supporting people to access the services they need to age well and to make choices in care as they get older. NSW Health is a provider of the established Aged Care Assessment Program, the new Regional Assessment Services (RAS) and Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services (formerly Home and Community Care), offering comprehensive care transitions for older people seeking care.
What are Regional Assessment Services (RAS)?
Regional Assessment Services were introduced by the Australian Government on 1 July 2015 to conduct face-to-face assessments for older people seeking basic or entry-level support services at home, provided under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (combining HACC, National Respite for Carers Program (NRCP), Day Therapy Centres (DTC) Program and Assistance with Care and Housing for the Aged (ACHA programs)). Services provided by CHSP include domestic assistance, allied health, personal care and nursing.
NSW Health was one of 13 organisations contracted nationwide to provide RAS services from 1 July 2015.
How do I make a referral to Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT)?
1 July - late 2015: Usual referral pathways remain in place
You can refer to NSW ACATs directly following established procedures.
You can also contact the My Aged Care contact centre who can refer to ACAT.
General Practitioners can refer clients for assessment and/or aged care services using the My Aged Care web referral form or by phoning the contact centre on 1800 200 422 Monday - Friday 8am - 8pm, or Saturday 10am - 2pm.
The contact centre will conduct client registration and screening using the National Screening and Assessment Form.
The Commonwealth Department of Social Services is developing a web form for GP and health professional referrals which it expects to have available in 2016.
How do I refer a patient to CHSP (formerly HACC)?
Clients who would previously have been referred directly to a HACC service will now need to be referred to the My Aged Care contact centre using either the web form or by calling the contact centre. The My Aged Care contact centre will register and screen the client and will make a referral to a RAS. These clients will then be assessed at home by a RAS team member who will ask the client about their goals and preferences for care, and assess their eligibility for services.
What if I have an urgent patient referral?
For patients needing urgent care (within 3 days):
- refer directly to service providers for home services, such as meals, nursing, transport
- refer directly to ACAT for an assessment for complex multiple care needs.
How will referrals change using the National Screening Assessment Form and My Aged Care?
The contact centre provides initial screening and client registration, and referral to assessment and services. The RAS or ACAT will conduct an assessment for service eligibility.
A note on privacy
Clients are not requested to release their medical records to My Aged Care. A client may choose to allow a GP or other HCP to access their client record (at any time) to add medical history once their client record is created, but not without permission. Details can be viewed by the contact centre, providers and assessors to assist them in best determining their care needs.
How do I refer clients for other community care services?
Patients can be directly referred to providers for other services such as ComPacks, Community Care Support Program (previously HAC for people under 65), post-acute nursing and allied health. These pathways are unchanged.
Note: Existing care clients do not need to be registered or assessed through My Aged Care unless their care needs change. Patients currently receiving services through HACC or ACAP will continue to receive these services.