ACAT Chat - Summer 2009

Welcome to Volume 25 of ACAT Chat.

Page last updated: 23 October 2009

You may download this document in PDF format:

PDF printable version of ACAT CHAT Summer 2009 (PDF 496 KB)

Welcome to Volume 25 of ACAT Chat.

Welcome to this summer edition of ACAT Chat.

The staff of ACAT CHAT would like to extend their thoughts to members who have been affected by the Victorian bushfires, this February. To the many who have lost their lives through the event and to those who work tirelessly to save lives.

In response, a one-off measure by the Australian Government has fast-tracked the care for 16 older Australians who lived in the bushfire areas, by removing requirement for Aged Care Assessments. The measure has given them immediate access to both accommodation and care. This is until they are able to make longer-term arrangements or decide that they wish to be admitted to aged care on a permanent basis. Emergency funding has been made available under the National Respite for Carers Program so that Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres can purchase or broker respite for people with temporary care needs.

It is important to note in this summer edition of the ACAT Chat, the information on the implementation of the new legislation changes.  Please update your calendars as these legislation changes  are relevant to ACATs and will become effective on 1 July 2009. More about these important changes can be accessed on page 10.

Other highlights in this edition include the implementation plan for the updated Delegation Training Resources.

We also profile Pat LaManna OAM — the 2009 Senior Australian of the Year.

We hope you find the first ACAT CHAT of 2009, a useful and enjoyable read.

Michelle Roffey
Assessment Section
Top of page

The ACAT Information Sheet - Translated version

The ACAT Information Sheet -'How ACATs can help you' - is now available in 16 different languages and can be downloaded from the ACAT specific website.

The languages include:


Your feedback on these translated documents would be greatly appreciated, especially if you find any discrepancies with the actual translations.

If you would like to order hard copies, please contact National Mail and Marketing.

Telephone: (02) 6269 1080 Fax: (02) 6260 2770 Email:


Your feedback, contributions and/or suggestions for articles and improvements to ACAT CHAT are most welcome. While providing ACAT members with updates on the program from a national perspective, ACAT CHAT also provides ACAT members with an opportunity to share information of interest from their region, such as local events or sharing experiences that may be useful to other ACAT members across Australia.

The staff at our National Office check mail (both electronic and postal) daily, ensuring that any requests for information and suggestions are responded to promptly. Please forward any contributions to either of the following contact points:


Assessment Section
Department of Health and Ageing
MDP 44
GPO Box 9848

Phone: Annette Sharpe (02) 6289 4584

Top of page

Senior Australian of the Year 2009

The Senior Australian of the Year 2009, is entrepreneur and philanthropist Pat LaManna OAM of Balwyn, Victoria. Having come from a poor background himself, 76 year old Mr LaManna readily relates to the misfortunes of others. He battled racism and economic adversity during the years after his arrival in Australia from Italy in 1948, but he persevered and became a successful entrepreneur. He has used these skills to give back to countless charities in Australia and the Third World.

He has been a member of the Lions Club for 40 years; and founded the Lions Club of the Melbourne Markets in 1972, which has become the highest fund raising Lions Club in Australia. Due to his commitment, he has been elected president of the club seven times.

Pat also started the Hand-to-Hand Appeal for the Bionic Hands Department at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, raising $198,000, and the Pat LaManna Cancer and Research Stroke Foundation which has raised $1.5 million to date.

He established the annual Melbourne Passion Play in 1997, an outdoor re-enactment of the story of Christ that is funded by Pat and is free to the public. These are but a few of the generous contributions Pat has made to the community, serving it with energy and devotion and proving how people can make a difference at any age.

Top honour for Balwyn resident Pat LaManna

Pictured:  Pat LaManna, Senior Australian of the Year 2009.

Top of Page

The Way Forward  Nationally Consistent Assessment

An Update on Carer Assessment


To many people the existing community care system is seen as confusing, difficult to enter and requires clients to be assessed multiple times in a variety of ways. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) endorsed the concept of nationally consistent assessment in 2006.

The Australian Government, in partnership with State and Territory Governments and the community care sector, has made good progress in developing a nationally consistent screening/ assessment process at the initial point of intake. The approach encourages the 'assessor' to explore a broad range of topics to help identify a person's abilities and areas where the person has difficulties in completing tasks of daily living.

Importantly, the new process also considers the relationship between the care recipient and carer, including the carer's ability to sustain their caring role, and the most effective way to support them both.

Initial Intake Assessment

The Australian Community Care Needs Assessment-Revised (ACCNA-R) is a screening and eligibility questionnaire that can be used to collect and record relevant information about the needs of both the care recipient and carer. This uestionnaire screens at a 'broad and shallow' level. It will be used within some of the Access Point Demonstration Projects that are operating as the first point of contact into community care services for consumers and their carers. Earlier issues of ACAT CHAT have included articles about the ACCNA-R.

Carer Specific Assessment

The Carer Eligibility and Needs Assessment-Revised (CENA-R) is a carer-specific assessment
questionnaire which adds to the information about a carer captured in ACCNA-R to form a 'deep and narrow' view of the caring relationship and an assessment of a carer's support needs.

  • guides a detailed assessment of a carer's functional capabilities
  • prioritises needs for a service referral and/or more extensive assessment for the carer
  • stores and/or exports carer information and assessment outcomes (consistent with privacy and consent provisions) in electronic or paper formats to appropriate service providers to reduce the need for re-assessments of what has already been covered.
The CENA-R is a new assessment format. Although it is based on available research, it is anticipated CENA-R will undergo further refinement, testing and validation during 2009.

In December 2008, the Department of Health and Ageing hosted a one-day national workshop on Carer Assessment in Melbourne.  Twenty-two representatives from community care organisations across the country attended the workshop. These organisations have the responsibility of delivering a range of respite and support programs for carers.

The purpose of the workshop was to revisit and consider previous work on carer assessment done in 2006, review key findings of carer research completed in 2007 and, for project consultants Applied Aged Care Solutions (AACS) to seek the views and experiences of participants on a range of current business practices.

In early 2009, AACS will visit a number of community care organisations to obtain further information and feedback from assessors in the field regarding current carer assessment processes.  The information obtained through the workshop and visits will assist the analysis of the suitability and effectiveness of assessment questions in the CENA-R. This analysis is critical in informing the development and refinement of a nationally consistent carer assessment process.

Top of page

What is happening with the Palliative Care Knowledge Network - CareSearch

The Australian Palliative Care Knowledge Network CareSearch was launched by Minister Elliot in May 2008. It is a searchable electronic database and website which contains palliative care literature, report abstracts and evaluations.  It is funded by the Australian Government under the National Palliative Care Program. 

The Knowledge Network provides a one-stop shop of information and practical resources which serve the needs of all providing or affected by palliative care.  This includes patients and families, health professionals, researchers and educators.  It supports dynamic interactions between networks of people so that they can develop, share and apply their knowledge to improve palliative care in Australia.

Evaluation indicates that the website is proving to be a valuable resource and is widely used by the public and health professionals. You can access the Palliative Care Knowledge Network at

The website includes information on issues such as palliative medicines, Advance Care Planning, complementary therapies and self-care for health professionals.

ACAT Stories

Everyday, ACATs enter clients’ lives and make a difference. Sometimes an ACAT makes a positive change in a client’s life; and sometimes the client makes a difference in the life of an ACAT member. The following is a story received from an ACAT.

I was referred an elderly WWII veteran with end stage COAD. Being a bit of a war buff, he recounted to me his prestigious war history, including being a highly decorated war pilot. He had buried his medals and stories with his first wife not long after the war.

He had remarried and had grown up children but had never told them of his war days. Over the next few months I saw him often and developed a great friendship and rapport which enabled me to assist him in telling his story to his wife and adult children. His family were so proud of him, they had his  medals replicated and he proudly gave these to his son. He died not long after and was buried with full military honours.

I will never underestimate the role I have in peoples lives, often see the ripples we can create just by listening, caring and advocating for such special people.
A war veteran lifts his hat to the crowd during the Anzac Day march in Sydney.. (Click for larger image)

We would love to hear your story. Please send your ACAT stories to

Top of page

Carers Australia Website

Carers Australia launched its new website during Carers Week 2008.

The new website has been designed to be more useful for carers and is located at the following address:

Over the past 18 months, Carers Australia has been working with the Network of Carers Associations to develop a National website for carers, organisations and other stakeholders which have an interest in carer issues and resource information.

Update on the Transition Care Program

In the 2008 Federal Budget, the Government committed to provide an additional 2,000 transition care places over four years.  These places are to be made operational at a rate of around 200 in 2008-09, 400 in 2009-10, 600 in 2010-11 and 800 in 2011-12. 

In June 2008 the Government allocated the first tranche of 228 places to all States and Territories broadly based on their population of Non-Indigenous people aged 70 and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over. 
    For the additional 2,000 transition care places, there is an increased focus on improving access to transition care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.  The Australian Government and all States and Territories are required to report against key performance indicators relating to access to transition care for Indigenous Australians.

    An expected outcome of the Transition Care Program in each State and Territory is that the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people assessed as eligible for transition care who subsequently receive transition care is no less than the proportion of non-Indigenous people assessed as eligible for transition care who subsequently receive transition care.

    For the Transition Care Program it is important that ACATs ask every person they assess whether they are of Indigenous origin and fill in Question 12 in the ACCR accurately.  ACAT Delegates should ensure that Question 12 is filled in correctly before signing an approval for transition care.

Eligibility for the Transition Care Program

To be eligible for the Transition Care Program , an older person must be a hospital in-patient at the time of assessment by an ACAT and must have been approved for transition care by an ACAT Delegate before entering transition care.

For an ACAT approval to be valid, it must be signed off by a Delegate before the older person enters transition care. If the ACCR has been filled in by an ACAT assessor, but not yet signed by the Delegate when the older person enters transition care, the older person is not eligible for the  Transition Care Program and the service provider will not receive subsidy for that person.

Electronic Aged Care Client Record (eACCR) Project update

2008 was a very successful year for the Electronic Aged Care Client Record (eACCR) Project.  There are now 22 ACATs electronically transmitting ACCRs across New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and the ACT, with over 17,000 eACCRs transmitted to date.

ACATs using the eACCR have consistently reported that the eACCR is easy to use and have enjoyed a smooth transition to the electronic process.

The national rollout will gather pace in 2009 with an additional 40 ACATs across New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia scheduled to begin transmitting eACCRs in the first 6 months of 2009.  Once these additional ACATs have transitioned across to the eACCR, more than half of the ACATs across Australia will be transmitting eACCRs.

Top of page

ACATs currently transmitting eACCRs are:


eACCR Commencement

eACCRs Transmitted


1BS (Bathurst)
1BT (Blacktown)
1BV (Bega-Pambula)
1CO (Cooma)
1GB (Goulburn)
1WM (Westmead)
1YO (Young)


2BR (Barwon-Geelong)
2CA (Caulfield)
2ES (Eastern)
2HG (Heidelberg)
2BU (Bundoora)
2MN (Hume-Shepparton)
2SW (Warrnambool)


5FH (Fremantle)
5GT (Geraldton)
5MD (Mandurah)
5SW (Swan)




6NR (Northern Region)
6SR (Southern Region)
6NW (North West Region)


@ 20 February 2009


Update of the National ACAT Delegation Training Resources

In August 2008 NSW TAFE was contracted by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing to review and update the existing ACAT national Delegation training resources to align them with nationally recognised training and assessment practices and provide a variety of training delivery options including:
          • eLearning
          • face to Face workshops
          • self directed learning using a CD
These resources have been designed to assist ACAT Managers and /or ACAT Eduction Officers (AEOs) in the delivery of training to ACAT Delegates and potential Delegates. 

Feedback from the December trials of the training resources was extremely positive and has been incorporated in further updates of the final products.

Top of page

Implementation of the updated national Delegation training resources.

Negotiations are currently taking place with each State and Territory Government to determine the  implementation plan for the final national Delegation training resources. 

As part of this national implementation plan, the Department of Health and Ageing will conduct a series of one day workshops in the following cities:
      Brisbane 26 March 2009
      Perth 20 April 2009
      Sydney 30 April 2009
      Melbourne 7 May 2009
      Adelaide 11 June 2009
At the workshops, Ms Marlene Hall, Senior Legal Advisor for the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, will present a session on the ‘Introduction to Administrative Law’.  She will also highlight the importance of good decision making under the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care Principles.

This session was presented at the November 2008 AEO national workshop and was extremely well received by all participants.  Feedback from participants stated that the session provided the vital knowledge base and rationale required for personnel undertaking the role of Delegate for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Ageing.

The Department will also provide a practical overview of all the new national Delegation training resources.

Attendance at the workshop will be open to all ACAT members.  For further information, contact your Team Leader, ACAT Education Officer or State/Territory Training Coordinator.

Implementation of the new Legislation Changes relevant to ACATs

Changes to the Aged Care Assessment Program occurred as part of the Aged Care Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Act 2008 passed by Parliament on 4 December 2008. Changes in relation to ACAT take effect on 1 July.

Why were the legislation changes that are relevant to ACATs made?

1.   To make the Aged Care Assessment process significantly more efficient and lead to a reduction in assessment waiting times. This improvement in the efficiency of the Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) will ensure reassessments are conducted only for the people who genuinely need them.
2. To improve the equity of access for some forms of flexible care by allowing a person to access care at a lower level in the community.
Top of page

What legislation changes were made?

1. Approval for residential respite care, high level residential care, EACH and EACH (Dementia) will not lapse, but will expire if time limited.
(N.B.  All approvals made before 1 July 2009 will continue to lapse after 12 months, but will expire if time limited.)
2. If a person is eligible to receive an EACH Dementia package – the person is also eligible for an EACH and CACP.
3. If a person is eligible to receive an EACH package – the person is also eligible for a CACP.

However, an older person should be re-assessed at any time, if their care needs change.

When do the legislation changes take effect?

Provisions relating to assessments by Aged Care Assessment Teams will not take effect until 1 July 2009. All approvals made before 1 July 2009 will continue to expire after 12 months.

How do you find out more information?

The Department of Health and Ageing will undertake a comprehensive implementation plan to advise how the changes will impact on ACATs. 
Further information is available at
This ACAT specific website has a new link to all relevant Legislation within the “In this section” box.
The link will also provide easy access to the following information:
        • Legislative changes relevant to the Aged Care Assessment Program
        • Frequently Asked Questions — The Aged Care Amendment (2008 Measures No. 2) Act 2008
  • Guide to the Changes to the Regulatory Framework for Aged Care

What implementation strategies are currently being undertaken?

We are currently revising and updating the following:


Aged Care Assessment Program Guidelines 2006
Residential Care Manual                   
Draft Community Packaged Care Guidelines

Top of page

National Training Resources:

‘An Introduction to the Aged Care Assessment Program’ Learning Package
The recently updated National Delegation Training Resources


21 day extension
Template letters

What can ACATs do to help now?

These legislation changes become effective as at midnight on 30 June 2009.  From 1 July 2009, ACATs will commence using the NEW forms including the:

21 day extension form
Template letters
New ACCR (3020(0709)) and the 21 day extension forms will be distributed to all ACATs in June 2009.  These forms MUST NOT BE USED prior 1 July 2009.

Prior to 1 July 2009, Medicare Australia will monitor the printing of current forms to limit surplus supplies.  Team Leaders will need to order only enough current forms to last until 30 June 2009 as these forms can no longer used after that date.  

A process will be established to recall all old forms after 1 July 2009.  These old forms (3020(0705)) Must Not Be Used after 30 June 2009.

Where necessary, ACE and non ACE software will be adapted to support the legislation changes. 

Please note: 

The Commonwealth uses the database of the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres as the main source for identifying the contact details of ACATs. This includes their individual mailing address.

In order to receive information on the legislation changes, Team Leaders must ensure their contact details are correct at their local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre.

Top of page

Report to the Minister for Ageing on residential care and people with psychogeriatric disorders

The delivery of appropriate care for people with more severe psychogeriatric disorders that result in behaviours that place either themselves or others at risk is a significant challenge.

In April 2008, the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon Justine Elliot MP requested a report be prepared on residential care and people with psychogeriatric disorders. The report was written following targeted consultations with identified experts and services across Australia.

The report highlights that the best care outcomes for people with psychogeriatric disorders are achieved where there is effective integration and cooperation across sectors. Collaborative networks across the primary health, mental health and aged care service sectors are critical.

The report was released to all State and Territory Ministers responsible for health and ageing in September 2008 and was subsequently considered by the Ministerial Conference on Ageing on 7 November 2008.

You may download this document in PDF format:$File/Final%20Report%20-%2028Aug2008.pdf

Or follow the file path manually by starting at:, click “For Consumers” blue tab at the top of the page , click “Office of Aged Care Quality” on the left panel , find the report in the box headed “In this section”.

ACAT Finder

The Commonwealth has been developing a program titled ‘ACAT Finder’ designed to assist consumers and relevant stakeholders to easily locate their nearest ACAT.  Once operational, the ACAT Finder will be placed on the Australian Government Aged Care Australia website at

The nature of the content of the Aged Care Australia website means many visitors to the site are potentially interested in ACAT information.  The ACAT Finder will allow a person to access the contact details of the nearest ACAT by simply identifying the relevant suburb/town or postcode.

The ACAT Finder will draw the ACAT information from the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres database.  ACAT Team Leaders are asked to update their contact details at their local Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre to ensure the information on the ACAT Finder is

Further information will be provided once the ACAT Finder is launched on the Aged Care Australia website.

Upcoming Events

Everybody’s Business Forum
Bladder and Bowel Health in Far North Queensland

Friday 6 March 2009
Townsville Hospital, Robert Douglas Auditorium
7.45am to 2.45pm

The Continence Foundation of Australia in conjunction with Blue Care Queensland is holding a one day health professional forum for nurses, aged care workers, physiotherapists, GPs, specialists and other allied health professionals.

The ‘Everybody’s Business Forum’ will feature presentations from experts in the field of bladder and bowel health, including topics such as faecal incontinence, continence after radical prostatectomy, stomal therapy, establishing continence after childbirth and more.

For further information or a copy of the program contact Catriona Bastian at the Continence Foundation of Australia on (03) 9347 2522 or Email :
Top of page

Dates of interest

12 March:

  World Glaucoma Day - Worldwide - Glaucoma Australia Inc, 1800 500 880,,

12 March:  

World Kidney Day - Worldwide - Kidney Health Australia, 1800 4 543 639,

13 – 20 March:

Coeliac Awareness Week - Nationwide - The Coeliac Society of Australia Inc. (02) 9487 5088,,

15 – 21 March:

Waterworks Week - WA - The Continence Advisory Service, (08) 9386 9777 Country WA, 1800 814 925,,

15 – 22 March:

Seniors Week - ACT - COTA ACT, (02) 6282 3777,,

16 – 22 March:

Brain Awareness Week - Nationwide - Brain Foundation, (02) 9437 5967 or 1300 886 660,,

29 March – 04 April:

Arthritis Awareness Week - Nationwide - Arthritis Australia, 1800 011 041,,

Month of April:

Great Australian Bite - Nationwide - Diabetes Australia NSW, (02) 9552 9943,,

07 April:

World Health Day - Worldwide - United Nations, (02) 6273 8200,,

Upcoming Events

Registration now open for the 2009 AAG (NSW Division) Rural Conference, Ageing in a Changing Environment, Broken Hill Entertainment Centre, Broken Hill, NSW, 1st and 2nd April 2009.  Conference website
The Australian Association of Gerontology (NSW Division) is hosting its 2009 Rural Conference in Broken Hill, Far West NSW, on the 1st and 2nd April 2009. The theme for the conference is “Ageing in a Changing Environment”.
Registration is now available. To register, please refer to the registration terms and conditions on the conference website, then complete and return the form to East Coast Conferences.

Top of page

Earlybird’ Registration Closes 27th February 2009

East Coast Conference

Jayne Hindle, Jane Howorth, Susan Contemprée, Amy McIntosh,
T:  (61-2) 6650 9800  F:  (61-2) 6650 9700  M:  0423 497 038
PO Box 848, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450 Australia


In the Spring edition of ACAT Chat on page 9, the name of the Department was incorrect in the Access Point Demonstration Projects report on South Australia. 

The Western Adelaide Project is located at the Department for Families and Communities, not Department of Community Services, as was published.

We apologise for this error and hope it has not inconvenienced anyone.

The information booklet 5 Steps to Entry into Residential Aged Care is available on line at: or by calling the Aged Care Information Line on :1800 500 853

N.B.  At present the Kits do not include the Information Sheets. 

The missing publications require updating following the 20 March 2008 legislative changes. The kits include a note explaining this and provide details of how to download the information sheets from the Department’s website.

Aged and Community Care Information Line - 1800 500 853

Commonwealth Carelink Centre - 1800 052 222

Useful Websites

ACAP Contacts

Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing

New South Wales
Sandra Withers (02) 9263 3779
Melissa Boyle(03) 9665 8280
Tracey Crow (07) 3360 2852
Western Australia
Julie Collings (08) 9346 5247
South Australia
Ann Podzuweit (08) 8237 8052
Lois Jenkins (03) 6221 1474
Northern Territory
Sian Owen-Jones (08) 8919 3461
Australian Capital Territory
Suzanne Pointon (02) 6289 3374
Top of Page

Document help

When accessing large documents (over 500 KB in size), it is recommended that the following procedure be used:

  1. Click the link with the RIGHT mouse button
  2. Choose "Save Target As.../Save Link As..." depending on your browser
  3. Select an appropriate folder on a local drive to place the downloaded file

Attempting to open large documents within the browser window (by left-clicking) may inhibit your ability to continue browsing while the document is opening and/or lead to system problems.

To view PDF (Portable Document Format) documents, you will need to have a PDF reader installed on your computer. A number of PDF readers are available through the Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) Web Guide website.