Most aged care providers do their best to provide quality care and services for older Australians. However, issues can occur so we need to ensure that people can raise their concerns in a constructive and safe way.
Complaints serve an important purpose because they can help service providers immediately improve or identify opportunities to improve services and quality of care to aged care recipients. If you have a concern about the care you or someone else is receiving from an Australian Government subsidised residential or community aged care service, it is important that you talk about it.
The Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) provides a free service for people to raise their concerns about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government, including:
- residential aged care
- Commonwealth funded HACC
- community aged care packages (CACP)
- extended aged care at home packages (EACH)
- extended aged care at home – dementia packages (EACHD).
By helping people to resolve their concerns and working with service providers to identify quality improvements, we are working towards our vision: To improve and protect the safety and wellbeing of aged care recipients.
Complaints can relate to care, catering, financial matters, hygiene, equipment, security, activities, choice, comfort and safety or other matters related to the responsibilities of a service provider.
We can refer complaints that fall outside of our scope to other organisations, professional registration boards or other complaints bodies. If you lodge a complaint with us and we can’t help you, we will try to identify someone who can assist you.
We encourage you to raise your concern with the service provider because this can achieve a fast and sustainable outcome. We can support you to do this. If that approach is not possible, we can examine your concern. Approaches range from simple, relatively quick and informal approaches, to more formal and lengthy processes.
Aged care in Australia
More than 343,000 Australians receive some type of Australian Government subsidised aged care service and this number is increasing every year. In 2010-11, 219,558 people received permanent residential care and 74,726 people received a community aged care package.
Residential service providers and certain community care packages must be accredited by the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency to receive Australian Government funding. These approved providers must meet a set of responsibilities listed in the Aged Care Act 1997, which outlines the standards of care and services that approved providers must provide to care recipients.
From 1 July 2012, the Commonwealth funds basic community care services in all states and territories, except Western Australia and Victoria. This covers people aged 65 and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 50 and over. These HACC service providers must meet responsibilities in their funding agreements with the Australian Government, which define the quality of care and services they are required to deliver. You may refer to the fact sheet on HACC complaints for more details.