Under Australia’s aged care laws, aged care consumers have rights, and aged care providers have to meet quality standards. If you have a concern to do with aged care services, there are steps you can take to address the problem.
The right to quality care
Everybody receiving aged care services has rights. These rights are set out in the Charter of Aged Care Rights and include the right to:
safe and high-quality care and services
dignity and respect
access to information
have one’s identity, culture and diversity valued and supported
make a complaint, free of reprisals.
Aged care services have to meet the Aged Care Quality Standards, which describe the level of care and services older people can expect. According to these standards, care should be person-centred. That means it should be be based on an understanding of what’s important to the individual, taking into account their background, culture, needs and preferences.
Older people have rights to choice and control over their lives and their care. Aged care law in Australia is based on the idea of partnership of care. This means that aged care providers, health professionals and the person receiving services should work together to plan the person’s care and support.
The provider and the person receiving care should work together to make a care plan. The care plan should support the person’s autonomy, diversity and independence as much as possible.
Most of the time, aged care services work well and people are happy with the service they receive. But problems and concerns do arise.
For people receiving aged care services while living independently at home, common concerns include:
fees and charges including overcharging and charges for case management
insufficient Home Care Package funds
services that don’t match the person’s needs
culturally inappropriate support workers
not being able to get certain items because they don’t fit within Home Care Packages guidelines.
For people living in aged care homes, common concerns include:
ongoing assessment and care planning consultation
poor clinical and personal care
long call bell response times
food quality and amounts
What to do if you have a concern
If you’re unhappy with an aged care service, you can talk to your case manager or someone else at the service. The Older Person Advocacy Network’s self-advocacy toolkit has information and tips to help you speak up.
If this isn’t successful, or if you want support to raise your concerns, contact an advocacy service like Elder Rights Advocacy in Victoria. An advocate can give you information about your rights and, if you want them to, speak with your provider on your behalf.
Recorded webinar: Advocacy and Understanding your rights when accessing aged care services – Learn about your rights when accessing aged care services. For consumers, residents and their families and representatives.
Recorded webinar: Advocacy and the rights of people accessing aged care – Learn about the rights of older people receiving aged care services and how to address concerns, including working with Elder Rights Advocacy. For aged care staff.