By Jane Verity © Dementia Care International
Residents in care facilities hold the same personal, civil, legal and consumer rights as any other Australian citizen. The Government has developed a Charter of Residents’ Rights and Responsibilities to protect those rights.
If you have concerns or complaints regarding your rights as a resident or those of a family member in care, there are several avenues of recourse.
‘Every aged care home is required to have an internal system in place to deal with comments and complaints.’ This is usually the first step towards resolving problems. Many homes also hold regular resident, family and friends meetings, which can be valuable forums for airing concerns and resolving issues.
If your concerns are not dealt with to your satisfaction internally, you may contact the Aged Care Information Line: 1800 500 853 to find out whether you have grounds for complaint. They will look into the situation and either advise you or refer your concern on to the The Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme: 1800 550 552 for further investigation.
Also, if you need information about your rights in aged care, you can contact Elder Rights Advocacy (ERA). ERA offers a free, confidential and independant advocacy service to older people (or their representatives) who are receiving an Australian Government subsidised aged care service in Victoria. (To contact see details below.)
You are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme if you believe an approved provider has breached their responsibilities under the Aged Care legislation or if you have been advised to do so by the Aged Care information line. You may request that your complaint be lodged anonymously. Contact the Complaints Investigation Scheme direct: 1800 550 552 or write to GPO Box 9848 in your capital city.
If your complaint is not dealt with satisfactorily you can also lodge a complaint about the Complaints Investigation Scheme by phoning, in the first instance, the Manager in your state or territory. If your complaint is still not resolved, telephone the Aged Care Commissioner: 1800 500 294
Relevant Contacts and further information:
Aged Care Information Line: 1800 500 853
The Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme: 1800 550 552
Aged Care Commissioner: 1800 500 294
National Advocacy Line (ERA): 1800 700 600
Elder Rights Advocacy: www.era.asn.au
Department of Health & Ageing website: http://www.health.gov.au
Aged Care website: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/wcms/publishing.nsf/Content/Your+Rights-2
Every home is regularly reviewed for accreditation purposes and the resulting reports are available for viewing by the public on the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd website: http://www.accreditation.org.au/ReportsOnHomes
Further reading – Click topic
- Checklist for Choosing the Right Aged Care Home – Members Article – (Advice on different types of accommodation & home care support for people with dementia; plus comprehensive checklist & guide for comparing facilities & the services they offer; plus contact details for where to get help & advice about aged care, including further helpful links.)
- Duty of Care – Different Interpretations! – Members article– Jane Verity (Further discussion on the interpretation of ‘duty of care’ as a justification for restriction & control, an enlightening view on ‘fear of risk’, plus 3 positive interpretations for ‘duty of care’)
- Hugs not Drugs – Members article – Jane Verity (Discover 3 factors behind attention-seeking behaviour, the 5 secrets to “great” hugs & 5 hints to check if a hug is creating discomfort in another person; plus a wonderful non-threatening excuse for exchanging a big hug.)