Blog 32: ACAT, HACC and EACHD to boot

I first came into contact with the Department of Health and Ageing in 2010 when Bill had had one of his strokes and we had to rush him, by ambulance, to hospital.  While we were there in Emergency, we were interviewed by a very keen, knowledgeable and competent social worker.  I have to be thankful to her, not only for the Department of Health and Ageing support that she secured for Bill and me, but also for the introduction that she gave me to a new language that I was going to have to learn, that is, that language which we might call Health Speak.

Belinda’s conversation with us went something like this:

“Look,” she said, “We could get you an ACAT for Bill.  Would you like him to have an ACAT?”

Though it sounded painful and I had no idea what she was talking about, I thought that I had better take everything that was on offer.

“Yes,” I answered.  “We would like an ACAT.  But, what is it?”

“ACAT stands for Aged Care Assessment Team,” she replied. “It’ll take a few months for the team to get around to you but when it does come to assess Bill, the team members will look to see where you need help and will try to get you the Government assisted help that you require.”

“Great!” I exclaimed.  I particularly liked hearing the words Government assisted.

“Bill and I can mostly manage everything by ourselves,” I went on, “But there are times, especially with showering and dressing, when I know I’m not winning and I also know that it’s only going to get worse.”

“That’s true!” she said, “And now that Bill has had another CVA,” she went on, consolingly, “You’ll be needing more and more help.”

“You do know that, don’t you?” she added, noticing the look of surprise on my face. “They did tell you, didn’t they, that Bill suffered a CVA?”

“They told us,” I replied, thoughtfully, “That Bill had had a stroke.  But, what’s a CVA?”

“It’s stroke,” Belinda answered quickly.  “A cerebrovascular accident.  Bill’s had a stroke and he’s very likely to need a lot of help with most ADLs in the future.”

She looked at my blank face and added, “Activities of daily living. Bill will need help with most activities of daily living.”

“How will they help us?” I asked in bewilderment, still trying to get my head around this new language of initials that was confronting me.

“They’ll probably offer you a HACC package,” she replied. “I think you’ll be eligible for HACC.”

She baulked as she saw the panic on my face.

“HACC stands for Home and Community Care,” she hastened to add, enlightening me.  “Nursing aides will come into your home to help you cope with Bill’s hygiene needs and to give you some respite time. I don’t think that you will be eligible for an EACHD package, yet ….. that’s the Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia package, but you’ll certainly be eligible for HACC.”

“I’m very happy for all that you are organising for us,” I said, gratefully.

“That’s all right,” she answered. “That’s my job.  And, how are you getting home?” she added, thoughtfully.

“I’ll call a cab,” I replied.

“Oh, well, I can help you with that, too,” she rejoined. “I’ll just go and get the forms. We’ll fill them in and get you subsidised taxi fares as well.”

Then she added, with a grin on her face, “And, can I have your copy of the EPOA again, please? I’ll need to photocopy it for the Department of Transport.”

“Certainly!” I replied, beaming.  I couldn’t believe it, but I knew this one.  With a look of triumph on my face, I rifled through my folder of papers, took out a file and, with a flourish, handed her my copy of Bill’s Enduring Power of Attorney.

But I was never going to win this game that we were playing.  She still had a card up her sleeve.

“And, of course,” she said, taking the EPOA from my hands, “You do know, don’t you, that after Bill has had the ACAT visit, they’ll send you a copy of his ACCR? It should be very interesting.”

Noticing the look of bewilderment on my face, she added, almost as if it were an afterthought:

“The ACCR is Bill’s Aged Care Client Record!” and she gave me a wave as she hurried off down the hall to the photocopier.

(Though this conversation is based on fact, it has been embellished, somewhat, to enhance its interest.)



Cerebrovascular Accident


Aged Care Assessment Team


Activities of Daily Living


Home and Community Care Package


Extended Aged Care at Home Package


Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia Package


Enduring Power of Attorney


Power of Attorney


Aged Care Client Record

  1. Fay

    As we go through life, we all come across these languages that various professions create by using acronyms. The Department of Health is no different to any other. I have read that this occurs because it allows people on the inner circle to feel superior to those who are shut out. But I don’t think that that is the case. I think people do it to save time. It is easier to say one word rather than four, e.g., “radar” rather than “radio detection and ranging”.

    But I do think that, when we first started learning about computers, those in the know had a lot of fun with we novices as they talked about the “mouse” and “rams” and “bytes”. That language that grew up around computers made the Department of Health’s efforts seem paltry.

    July 31st, 2013 // Reply

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