Long wait in Canberra

An audit by the territory’s Auditor General reveals that older people in the ACT wait two times longer than the national average for an ACAT assessment

report from the ACT’s Auditor-General shows that older Canberrans wait more than twice as long as the national average to receive an aged care assessment.

On average elderly people in the ACT wait 44.3 days between the initial referral and a face-to-face visit from an ACAT (aged care assessment team). The national average is 19.3 days.

The report said it was mostly Priority 3 clients that were waiting long periods and most Priority 1 and 2 clients were assessed on time.

Clients who are already in hospital are seen as a priority by the ACT ACAT to help free up acute beds, but the report said this “could be at the expense of clients outside the hospital system, in residential facilities and in the general community,
who may have the same or higher needs for services”.

And while the Auditor-General said ACAT staff “properly focused on the needs of clients”, the report found that the team “did not effectively measure client and carer satisfaction in the delivery of its services”.

Tools and forms for assessment were only used in 60 per cent of cases and on those occasions, they were applied ‘inconsistently’.

The audit also reviewed the territory’s HACC (home and community care) program and found there was inadequate planning to meet future needs.

ACT Health agreed to all of the report’s 19 recommendations and has already begun to implement most of them.

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