Options for resolving concerns about Aged Care
This fact sheet explains the options available to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme to examine and resolve concerns.
PDF printable version of Options for resolving concerns about aged care (PDF 762 KB)
The Aged Care Complaints Scheme provides a free service for people to raise concerns about the quality of care or services delivered to people who receive Australian Government subsidised residential or community aged care services.
If you have a concern about the care you or someone else is receiving, it is important that you talk about it. Complaints help approved providers improve the quality of care and services they provide to you or your loved one, so one complaint can help other people, too.
We encourage you to raise your concern with the approved provider because local resolution 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 providers who receive funding from the Australian Government are called ‘approved providers’. This term is used throughout this fact sheet.
How can we help you?Our goal is to help you resolve your concern and achieve a positive outcome for the care recipient. Please provide as much relevant information as you can, as early as you can, so we understand all the issues. Be specific and tell us what outcome you would like to see.
We can examine complaints relating to an approved provider’s responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act). This includes concerns about care, choice of activities, discrimination, catering, communication or the physical environment. We can refer complaints that fall outside of our scope to other organisations. If we can’t help you, we will try to identify who may be able to help you.
We can support you to resolve your concernWe can support you to resolve your concern quickly and directly with the approved provider. For example, we can help you to clarify the issues, outline both parties’ rights and responsibilities, or phone the approved provider on your behalf to discuss your concern.
Our goal is to help you resolve your concern and achieve a positive outcome for the care recipient.
We can examine your concernIf an early and supported resolution is not possible, we can examine the concern. Our focus is on reaching the best outcome, as quickly as possible; however, complex or more formal resolution processes may take longer.
We can use different approaches to help you to resolve your concern:
- We can ask the approved provider to examine your concern within a specified timeframe, which may involve working with you to achieve an outcome.
- We can help you and the approved provider to discuss the issues and reach an agreement that resolves your concern. This may involve a few phone calls, informal discussions and/or formal meetings.
- We can conduct an investigation into an issue. Investigations can be simple, for example gathering information and discussing the issues with both parties; or they can be more complex, involving visits to the service, analysing records and conducting interviews.
- If we are unable to achieve the outcome you are seeking, we may suggest that you and the approved provider engage a mediator.
- consult professionals about clinical or technical matters
- ask for information from you, the approved provider or other people
- conduct a planned or unannounced visit to the service
- review relevant information you and the approved provider give to us
- interview staff, you, family members, other care recipients, witnesses to a specific event and health care providers
- refer an issue to another organisation if they can more appropriately deal with an issue.
We have the ability to initiate our own resolution process, if we receive information about an issue relating to an approved provider’s responsibilities.
Your review rightsThe ability to seek a review helps us to address any concerns you may have about our work. Your feedback also helps to improve the administration of the Scheme. We encourage you to contact us if you are not satisfied at any stage of the complaint or would like to provide feedback. Call 1800 550 552* and ask to speak to the complaints manager in your state or territory.
You can ask the Aged Care Commissioner to examine our process for handling your complaint (within 12 months) or examine our decision (within 28 days of receiving our letter outlining this decision). To find out more or to lodge a request, call 1800 500 294* or go to the website agedcarecommissioner.net.au
Aged Care Complaints Scheme
Phone 1800 550 552*
Aged Care Complaints Scheme
Department of Health and Ageing
GPO Box 9848
In your capital city
All information in this publication is correct as of August 2011
*1800 calls are free from fixed lines; however calls from mobiles may be charged.
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