CARE Assessments Explained

“My husband is falling more frequently. I’m having trouble managing his care at home. We talked and both agreed he should move into some sort of long-term care facility. We understand that we should start with a CARE assessment. What is that?”

We hear this question often and are here to help! CARE stands for Client Assessment, Referral and Evaluation. The assessment is a personal interview with you (and your family or other caregivers, such as a guardian) to evaluate your health and functional abilities. The interview includes questions about the need for assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, toileting, meal preparation, housekeeping and laundry. The assessment is free to you, should take no more than an hour, and will take place in-person unless certain criteria is met that would allow a virtual interview.

CARE assessments are conducted mainly by Area Agency on Aging (AAA) staff but could occur with a member of hospital staff or a contractor. Your visit with a CARE assessor will give you the chance to discuss your available long-term care options and what your payor source will be (such as private-pay or Medicaid). Your assessor will have information about various resources and services in your specific community. Each individual assessed receives a long-term care threshold score and a CARE certificate that shows the assessment was completed.

A CARE assessment is required before admission into a nursing facility and can qualify an individual functionally for nursing home care. Most individuals assessed qualify functionally based on their long-term care threshold score. Often times, an assisted living facility will provide their own assessment before admission.

Individuals who apply for Medicaid/KanCare and qualify financially to get help with the cost of nursing home care, must also qualify functionally.

The CARE assessment also contains a section of questions, Preadmission Screening and Resident Review (PASRR), about mental illness and mental/developmental disabilities. A Level II assessment may be needed if the PASRR section highlights a serious mental illness or developmental disability.

The first step we recommend is calling your AAA and explaining your unique situation. You can find your local AAA’s information here.

Both KABC and the Kansas Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are here to support and champion you throughout your long-term care journey.

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