Information for Health Professionals

Page last updated: 27 September 2017

This page provides hospitals, GPs and other community-based health professionals with information on My Aged Care and the process for referring older patients (aged 65 years and over and 50 years and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people) to aged care services.

On this page:

New: Information about the changes to My Aged Care

Changes were made to My Aged Care on 3 July 2017 that affect health professionals. Information about these changes are outlined below.

About My Aged Care

My Aged Care is the entry point for older Australians to access aged care. Health professionals play a key role in supporting patients to access these services. If you believe your patient may need aged care services you can make a referral (see below).

For patients who need health-related support, such as after a hospital stay or due to a sudden change in their health status, more appropriate health specific services may be available through post-acute care, state or privately funded rehabilitation. Aged care services are not substitutes for early intervention, rehabilitation or sub-acute programs provided under the health system.

Accessing aged care

In order for older people to receive aged care services, they will need to be referred for an assessment. The type of assessment they will require is dependent on the services they need to access:

  • An Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) assessment is needed if a patient requires access to a Home Care Package, Transition Care, Short Term Restorative Care, residential care or residential respite.
  • A Regional Assessment Service (RAS) assessment is needed if the patient requires entry level Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) services.

To organise an assessment for your patient, you will need to make a referral for them to My Aged Care.

Completing and sending referrals

There are three ways to refer a patient to My Aged Care. You will need your patient’s consent before providing information on their behalf.

Online

  • Use the Make a referral form on the My Aged Care website - this is the quickest and easiest way to make a referral.
  • If all relevant information is included in the referral, it will be sent directly to an assessment organisation without the need for the My Aged Care contact centre to contact your patient.
  • You can attach documents to the referral form e.g. occupational therapy assessments, GP letters, specialist advice.
  • Information entered in the form populates a client record. This is then used to support the patient’s assessment.
  • Keep the confirmation number you receive after submitting the form – you can use this to follow-up on the referral.

Phone

  • Call the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422.
  • If you are able to provide the contact centre with all relevant information, a referral will be sent directly to an assessment organisation without the need for the My Aged Care contact centre to call your patient.
  • The patient does not have to be present for you to make a phone referral, but you must have their consent.
  • You can ask the client to call My Aged Care.

Fax

  • If you are from a hospital, please use the My Aged Care Hospital Fax Referral Form.
  • If you are a GP or a health professional based in the community, please use the My Aged Care Community Health Professional and GP Fax Referral Form.
  • If all relevant information is included in the referral, it will be sent directly to an assessment organisation without the need for the My Aged Care contact centre to call your patient.
  • Fax the completed form to the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 728 174.
  • Fax only one referral form at a time.
  • My Aged Care does not confirm or acknowledge receipt of fax referrals.
  • If a fax referral is not made using the My Aged Care fax template, the My Aged Care contact centre will contact you to get additional information and talk about the support your patient needs

Providing your contact details is important as My Aged Care may contact you if additional information is needed about your patient.

Your patient cannot be referred for an aged care assessment or for services unless the correct information is provided.

Personal information and documents are retained securely within the My Aged Care system.

Hospital referrals

Hospitals can refer patients who require a comprehensive assessment directly to their local Aged Care Assessment Team. Use the My Aged Care Hospital Fax Referral Form to make these referrals.

What happens after a referral is made

If a completed referral is received by My Aged Care, the information can be sent directly to an assessor who will then call your patient to discuss and organise an assessment. Make sure your patient is aware that they may be contacted by My Aged Care or an assessor.

If the referral is incomplete or faxed information is illegible, My Aged Care will contact you to confirm the information provided.

Following up on referrals

You can follow-up on referrals you’ve made by calling the My Aged Care contact centre. You’ll need:

  • the confirmation number – if you made the referral online
  • your details and the patient’s details – if you made the referral by fax.

If you’ve made the referral by fax, please wait at least 2 business days after you have submitted submitting the referral to ensure that processing has started.

When you call to follow up a referral the contact centre can give you the following information:

  • if a referral has been made to an assessment organisation
  • the type of assessment
  • the name and contact details of the assessment organisation
  • if the patient has been referred for services including the type of services and if accepted by a provider
  • if the client has existing aged care approvals in place
  • if the referral you made has been closed including the reason for closure

A health professional colleague is also able to call My Aged Care for this information. They will need to be from your organisation and provide the same information about the client and the referral including your name as the original referrer.

Contact My Aged Care for patient aged care information

If you believe your patient is receiving aged care services and you would like to find out more information before making a referral to My Aged Care, you can call the contact centre.

The contact centre will confirm you have your patient’s consent to obtain this information. They will also ask for your details and that of your patient (including your patient’s full Medicare number) before passing on the same information as for health professionals following up on a referral (see above).

Accessing urgent services

There are specific circumstances where health professionals will need to refer directly to a service provider. These circumstances are where there is an urgent need for a service based on the patient’s circumstances which, if not met immediately, may place the patient at risk.

The services where this is likely to happen are: nursing, personal care, meals and transport.

These services would be of a time-limited duration (two weeks) with a longer term commitment only occurring after assessment.

Referrals to urgent services

The preferred method for health professionals to access urgent services is by contacting the service provider directly. The service provider will, if able, provide urgent care for the patient and subsequently refer the patient to My Aged Care for an assessment of ongoing service needs.

Acceptance of the referral for urgent care will be based on the provider’s capacity to take on new clients and the relative needs of clients awaiting services.

Other instances a health professional may contact a service provider directly

Hospitals can also contact service providers directly in the following situations:

  • A patient had services in place prior to entering hospital and needs only those services to recommence on discharge; or
  • A patient needs access to a Multi-Purpose Service or the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Programme, a hospital can contact the service provider directly.

Referrals in Victoria

Referrals for patients to access government subsidised aged care services need to come through My Aged Care. Further information is available on service options for older people in Victoria and referral processes through My Aged Care, including for CHSP nursing and allied health services. 

Referrals in Western Australia

Health professionals in Western Australia should continue to use their existing processes for accessing aged care.

Aged Care information for your patients

The My Aged Care website (www.myagedcare.gov.au) and contact centre provide information about ageing and aged care. The contact centre is available between 8 am and 8 pm Monday to Friday and 10 am to 2 pm on Saturdays by calling 1800 200 422.

Webinars

21 June 2017: Accelerated Design Changes and Improvements Webinar

A link to the recorded version of the 21 June webinar which provided an update on the policy, process and system changes made as a result of Accelerated Design.

View previous webinars and keep up-to-date with upcoming webinars.

Further information

Resources