Integrated Assessment Tool for the Single Assessment System

The Integrated Assessment Tool (IAT) will commence being used from 1 July 2024 as part of the Single Assessment System. The IAT will be the new tool to assess eligibility for Australian Government-subsidised aged care.

About the tool

From 1 July 2024, the IAT will replace the National Aged Care Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF). It will be the new tool for assessing the eligibility of older people for government-subsidised aged care.

There will be no changes to aged care eligibility requirements or referrals to urgent services.  

The IAT will allow assessors to collect more complete information about the older person once and ensure service recommendations and referrals are tailored to their current needs. 

Benefits of the tool

Benefits of the IAT include:

  • one dynamic tool for all assessment types
  • flexibility to adjust questions based on various factors, such as background, previous answers and whether the assessor is clinical or non-clinical.
  • nested questions to tailor assessments, only diving deeper into areas where needed, ensuring a proportionate assessment process
  • threshold questions that trigger extra questions for clinical assessors, allowing more in-depth exploration of flagged concerns
  • validated tools to improve the depth and clinical relevance of the assessment
  • pre-population of relevant information from triage and screening, so older people will only have to tell their story once

Why the tool is important

The IAT responds to recommendation 28 of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The Royal Commission found that the previous aged care assessment process was confusing for older people and their families to navigate. People often bounced between assessment organisations, needing to retell their story multiple times.

Trialling the tool 

We held a trial between April and July 2023 to:

  • collect data to test how useful and effective the IAT was in different assessment scenarios
  • identify usability issues that needed addressing before launch
  • identify gaps in training and guidance material.

Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and Regional Assessment Service (RAS) workforce from 22 organisations completed more than 22,000 assessments.

These covered older people from diverse demographics, including:

  • First Nations people
  • people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities
  • people living in the community
  • people in hospitals
  • people living in rural and remote areas.

Listening to assessor feedback

During and following the trial, we collected feedback from assessors through: 

  • online surveys
  • fortnightly check ins 
  • the MyAssessor community of practice. 

To improve the IAT based on this feedback, we have:

  • changed the order and flow of questions for more free-flowing conversation and shorter assessment time 
  • changed the language to better meet the needs of diverse audiences
  • better pre-populated data from registration, screening, previous assessments and medical and allied health professionals 
  • changed the questions to better capture reablement needs early 
  • revised font size and colour to improve readability
  • revised usability of dropdown boxes
  • revised hover help boxes 
  • changed some response types for more accurate recording of information – including adding more free text and options such as ‘n/a’ or ‘additional service type’.

Diverse groups

Some assessors raised concerns about the suitability of the Duke Social Support Index (DSSI) and General Practitioner Assessment of Cognition (GP-COG) for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and First Nations people. 

The IAT will continue to include these (or the Kimberley Indigenous Cognitive Assessment (KICA-COG) for First Nations clients). These have been validated as the most acceptable and reliable instruments for assessing the needs of these groups. 

We will develop training to support assessors using these instruments. 

We are seeking expert advice to:

  • review the use of the validated tools in the IAT to help improve our guidance and training materials for assessors
  • review the language and questions in the IAT to improve cultural safety for diverse groups.

Next steps

Existing ACAT and RAS organisations will use the IAT from 1 July 2024 to assess older people into in-home aged care programs and residential care. 

We are providing training and guidance materials to support the use of the IAT. 

The IAT will be updated when needed to improve the assessment process for older people, and to support the introduction of:

Date last updated:

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