- 1 About the complaint resolution toolkit for aged care providers
- 2 Toolkit contents
- 3 Aged Care Complaints Scheme resources and links
- 4 Industry feedback alerts
- 5 ‘What can we learn?’ reports
- 6 Effective complaints handling resources
- 7 Aged care industry resources
- 8 Links to other resources and websites
- 9 Reports
- 10 Legislation
About the complaint resolution toolkit for aged care providers
What is the toolkit?
The toolkit draws together resources and links to support the aged care industry in effective complaints handling, to help you ensure that your clients and their families, friends and representatives understand their options to provide feedback, raise a concern or lodge a complaint.
Purpose of this toolkit
The toolkit supports the introduction of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme’s new framework for complaints resolution. The framework has a strong focus on local resolution, where consumers and providers are encouraged to resolve issues at the local level, wherever possible, to achieve a timely and positive outcome for the care recipient.
Updates to the toolkit
We will update the toolkit when new resources or links become available.
Contributing to the toolkit
If you come across a resource that should be in the toolkit, let us know by sending an email or commenting below. If your service has a good approach to complaints handling and you would like to share your experience with others, send us an email. We encourage you to subscribe so that you receive email notifications whenever we update the toolkit.
As of 19 January 2012
Click on the link to go directly to that section or scroll down the page to review all toolkit contents.
- Aged Care Complaints Scheme resources and links
- Industry feedback alerts
- ‘What can we learn?’ reports
- Effective complaints handling resources
- Aged care industry resources
- Other resources and websites
- Case studies on complaints handling – examples of good practice across the industry in complaint resolution
- Tips for raising consumer awareness – ideas for how aged care providers can ensure care recipients and consumers are aware of how they can raise concerns
These Guidelines have been developed to assist our staff with implementing the recent changes to the Scheme to support the new Complaints Principles. They outline how the new complaints management framework operates and the procedures we follow when we receive and try to resolve a complaint.
The Aged Care Complaints Scheme’s service charter explains our service commitment to care recipients, people who raise concerns and approved providers.
We offer a range of printed materials for aged care providers, consumers and stakeholders that explain the options, outcomes and processes for resolving concerns about aged care.
We regularly present at industry events and conferences to talk about the role of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme, the complaints management framework, the role of advocacy and the quality and compliance framework.
The Scheme’s privacy statement outlines why we may collect personal information, and the procedures in place to ensure that personal information is protected against misuse and is not unlawfully disclosed.
Industry feedback alerts
Industry education alerts outline an issue, trend or risk we have identified through an analysis of our complaints data or another source of information, and provide suggestions of areas that aged care providers may wish to review within their service. These alerts are not advice or directions.
Here is a brief summary of the industry feedback alerts we have published to date. Please click the title of each alert to view its contents in full.
In October 2008, a resident of an aged care facility died as a result of severe burns after their clothing accidentally caught alight while smoking in a designated outdoor smoking area of the aged care home.
The Scheme distributed the preliminary findings of the South Australian Coroner’s Court’s inquest into the death of this aged care resident to the aged care industry on 4 June 2010. Earlier this year, the South Australian Coroner’s Court released the finalised findings.
We respond to a number of complaints about call bell response times, often relating to what the complainant considers an inappropriate response time.
We reviewed 153 complaints lodged in 2010-11 about call bells and made some observations:
- response times vary considerably within and between aged care services, day and night, and on weekends
- there does not appear to be consistency within the industry as to what could be considered reasonable response times
- residents and their families do not differentiate between the two call bell purposes, with some residents/families expecting an immediate response to both.
A NSW Coroner’s report recommended that aged care services should not use KA524 bed poles due to unacceptable risk. The report also highlighted the following considerations:
- Aged care services must have adequate staff to patient ratios overnight.
- Aged care staff must immediately check a resident for signs of life in an emergency situation, be competent in performing resuscitations and be aware of emergency care protocols.
Between March and October 2012, the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) responded to 127 complaints regarding the responsibilities of aged care providers in relation to security of tenure and ageing in place provisions of the Aged Care Act 1997. This industry alert provides suggestions of areas that Australian Government subsidised aged care providers may wish to review within their service.
The Office of Aged Care Quality and Compliance is alerting service providers in all jurisdictions to findings made by the Victorian Coroner and Deputy State Coroner. The findings relate to two separate investigations into fatalities caused by fire in care recipients’ homes.
‘What can we learn?’ reports
What can we learn? reports provide an in-depth analysis of data on a specific topic; identify possible risk factors related to the topic; and outline suggestions of areas that aged care providers may wish to review within their service. These reports are not advice or directions.
Here is a brief summary of the ‘What can we learn?’ reports we have published to date. Please click the title of each report to view its contents in full.
The data presented in this report includes an analysis of missing resident data recorded by the Scheme from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2009, and the following financial year, 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010.
The ‘Clinical perspectives’ attachment to this report provides a guide to understanding and managing wandering behaviour. Please refer to this attachment for further information on interventions to reduce wandering behaviours.
Effective complaints handling resources
The following guides, fact sheets, manuals and training courses may assist you in implementing good complaints handling. While we don’t endorse these resources, we recognise that aged care providers may find them helpful.
The Standard provides guidance for the design and implementation of an effective and efficient complaints-handling process for all types of activities. It is intended to benefit an organisation and its customers, complainants and other interested parties.
From the Commonwealth Ombudsman, this guide defines the essential principles for effective complaint handling. It can be used when developing or evaluating complaint handling systems.
From the Ombudsman Northern Territory, this series of fact sheets covers topics such as complaints management models, communication, personnel and training, assessment and investigation, remedies and business improvement.
This guide from the Victorian Ombudsman provides advice on achieving standards of excellence in complaint handling. While it is primarily for Victorian public sector agencies, this information is also useful for aged care providers.
This Guide from the Office of the Health Services Commissioner in Victoria is designed to assist health service providers to develop and implement effective complaint handling practices. An important aspect of this is supporting staff to deal with and learn from complaints.
The Queensland Ombudsman has designed a training program to help frontline officers and internal review officers to manage complaints more effectively.
The Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals Australia (SOCAP) offers a number of training programs and resources that focus on complaints prevention and handling. A list of workshops being offered in 2012 are available here.
From the Commonwealth Ombudsman, this guide assists staff when dealing with the small proportion of complainants whose conduct is especially challenging.
From the NSW Ombudsman, this manual is designed to contribute to fairness, integrity and good public administration in relation to handling complaints and investigations.
The Customer Service Institute of Australia offers training and resources that focus on customer service excellence.
Aged care industry resources
The Aged Care Care Standards and Accreditation Agency provides a one-day workshop that will equip you with the skills and knowledge to develop a robust complaints management system based on internationally recognised standards.
Phone 1800 288 025
A range of education programs, training courses, conferences and other resources are available through state and territory aged care bodies.
Phone (02) 8754 0400
Phone (02) 9212 6922
Phone (03) 9805 9400
Phone (08) 8338 7111
Phone (08) 8338 6500
Phone (03) 6231 3100
Phone (03) 6343 6840
Phone (08) 9244 8233
Phone (08) 9474 9200
Phone (07) 3725 5555
Links to other resources and websites
Consumers can access free, confidential and independent advocacy to support them in raising and resolving concerns.
The Community Visitors Scheme provides companionship to socially or culturally isolated people living in Australian Government-subsidised aged care homes.
The Aged Care Accreditation Agency manages the residential aged care accreditation process using the Accreditation Standards. Outcome 1.4 Comments and complaints states that each resident (or his or her representative) and other interested parties have access to internal and external complaints mechanisms.
This guide from the Aged Care Accreditation Agency outlines the results and processes associated with each of the outcomes, including Outcome 1.4 Comments and complaints.
This report describes the operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 each year, and includes additional information to aid understanding of aged care programs and policies. ROACA includes statistics and analysis on the operation of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme over the 12-month period. The Minister presents this report to Parliament each financial year.
Review of the Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme (Walton Review)
In 2009, the Australian Government engaged Associate Professor Merrilyn Walton to review the operation of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme. Associate Professor Walton made a range of recommendations to improve the operation, timeliness and transparency of the Scheme.
The Act is the overarching legislation that outlines the obligations and responsibilities that aged care providers must follow to receive subsidies from the Australian Government.
The Manual is a plain English guide to Australian Government-subsidised residential aged care, legislated under the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Principles and administered by the Department of Health and Ageing.
The Principles provide for a flexible and proportionate approach that focuses on protecting care recipients and effective and timely complaint resolution. Resolution options include early resolution, investigation, approved provider resolution, conciliation and mediation.
The explanatory statement summarises the elements of the Complaints Principles 2011.
Other legislation related to aged care complaints and accreditation:
- Accreditation Grant Principles 2011
- Accountability Principles 1998
- Certification Principles 1997
- Information Principles 1997
- Quality of Care Principles 1997 (including the Accreditation Standards)
- Records Principles 1997
- Sanctions Principles 1997
- User Rights Principles 1997