Integrated Assessment Tool for the Single Assessment System

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

About the tool

From July 2024, the IAT will replace the National Aged Care Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF) to assess people wanting to access government-subsidised aged care.

The tool will enable the assessment workforce to collect more complete information and have the flexibility to record the individual story of each older person and their carers. 

The tool will promote quality of assessment by ensuring:

  • assessors follow minimum standards for assessments 
  • assessments are consistent and standardised so that people with the same needs access the same services
  • assessors tailor service recommendations and referrals to each person’s needs
  • assessors work in partnership with the older person accessing care to set goals and plan care, with a focus on reablement
  • older people and their families only have to tell their story once. 

For more information, see our IAT overview

Why the tool is important

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

The Royal Commission found that the aged care assessment process could be confusing for older people and their families to navigate. People often bounce between assessment organisation, 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

The updated version of the IAT will start being used from 1 July 2024. 

We will continue to improve the IAT and training and guidance materials both before and after the launch of the IAT. 

Date last updated:

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