It’s ok to make a complaint
Raising concerns you have about the quality of care you or someone you know is receiving isn’t ‘being difficult’. It’s a normal part of service delivery. Raising concerns can provide an opportunity for aged care services to become aware of issues, find solutions and improve their service.
The majority of complaints can be addressed quickly by discussing the issue(s) with your service provider, in person or over the phone.
Anyone can make a complaint about aged care in Australia by discussing issues directly with a service provider or by contacting the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme).
If you have a concern, there are a few things that will help make your complaint more effective and easier to resolve.
Put your concerns in writing
More complex or less urgent concerns are best put in writing. Writing a letter allows you to collate relevant information in one document and present it in a logical flow, making it easier for service providers or the Scheme to understand your complaint. It also provides you with a written record of raising a concern.
Focus on the facts
It can be distressing to be concerned about issues that affect you or a loved one. Feeling angry and frustrated is common in these situations.
A calm, written complaint that details facts and events clearly will assist the service provider or the Scheme in understanding and assessing your complaint.
Include important information
Provide concise background information on the issue and outline any steps taken by you or the care recipient to fix the problem. Include times, dates and names of staff that you spoke to and their responses. It’s also useful to include copies of any forms, letters or documents that relate to the complaint.
Be clear about the outcome you want to achieve
Your complaint will be most effective if you are seeking an outcome that is realistic and aims to improve the quality of services provided to the care recipient. Be sure to aim for a realistic outcome as this can speed up the resolution of your concern.
Ask for help
Making a complaint can be a confronting experience for many people, particularly when it concerns staff or service providers with whom you have an ongoing relationship. Ask a friend or family member to help you write out your complaint, or contact an Advocacy Service for support.
More tips and advice
You can visit the Aged Care Commissioner’s ‘Practical Tips for Making a Complaint’ page and Commonwealth Ombudsman’s ‘Making a Complaint’ page for more information on raising an effective complaint.
What do you think makes an effective complaint? Share your thoughts in the comments below.