Rapid response assessment

The Commonwealth Government has announced plans for a new mobile Rapid Response Team in a bid to reduce waiting times for Australians needing assessment for government funded aged care.

Moving from your own home into aged care facilities is traumatic enough without the current excessive wait for an individual’s need to be assessed. A pilot program costing $250,000 has been created. The aim is to utilise mobile Rapid Response Teams to reduce the current waiting times for assessment, which can be up to be up to 13 months in some areas. The initial areas to be targeted are far north NSW and north Sydney, then moving to other priority areas across Australia.

The pilot is part of a $1million boost to speed up the assessment process for older Australians, and therefore making the process less frustrating. The team will be lead by an experienced assessment team manager with a nursing background and who is supported by aged care experts and allied health workers. The program follows a meeting earlier this month between Justine Elliot, Minister for Ageing and Reba Meagher, NSW Health Minister to discuss the issue, and will form the first part of the Labor Government’s response to a national review of Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATS).

Based on the recommendations of this review, an implementation plan is being developed in consultation with state and territory governments. Recommendations being adopted include:

·tImprove the way people are prioritised for assessment;

·tImprove public awareness of the role of ACATS and how to gain access to them;

·tReduce administrative burdens on the teams so they can put patient solutions first;

·tIncreased information sharing and networking between teams around the country;

·tA national training strategy for ACATS; and

·tNationally consistent performance benchmarks.

The next stage will be the deployment of more aged care assessors to assist with the backlog.

To view the report of the National Review of Aged Care Assessment Teams, click here.

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