If you’re unhappy with something, there are ways to address your concerns. A good first step is to raise your concerns directly with your provider. If the problem isn’t resolved, you have the option of making a complaint or changing provider. There might also be ways that you can get involved to help improve services not just for yourself, but also for other older people.
Most providers do their best to provide quality care, but problems can occur. You have a right to raise any concerns you have.
It’s a good idea to keep a list of contacts that you can call on if you have a concern, need to change some arrangements, or find that the service is not what you expected.
How to raise a concern
It’s best to start by raising your concern directly with the person involved. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can speak with your case manager or any other manager at your provider. Try to stay calm and say clearly what your concerns are and what you would like done to fix the problem.
Getting help to raise a concern
You can ask for another person to talk on your behalf or to be present when you meet with the provider. You can also ask for an interpreter.
If you want help to raise a concern or if your aren’t happy with the provider’s response, contact the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600. They will listen and give you information. If you want them to, they will speak up for you, representing your expressed wishes. This is a free service with offices in each state.
If your concerns are still not addressed, the next step is to make a formal complaint.
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If you have tried to raise your concerns with your provider but aren’t happy with their response, you can make a complaint to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.
The Aged Care Complaints Commissioner is a free, national and independent service that helps you to resolve your concerns. They are approachable, impartial and fair.
To make a complaint
- call 1800 550 552
- or use the online complaint form
For more information about making a complaint, see the Commissioner’s I have a concern booklet.
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From February 2017, people with Home Care Packages will be able to change providers, taking their package funding with them to the new provider.
If you’re happy with the services you’re getting, you don’t need to do anything, but if you want to change, you can.
Choosing a new provider
There are many private and not-for-profit Home Care Package providers to choose from, including some specialist providers for LGBTI people and people from different cultural backgrounds. Our ‘Choosing a provider’ page has more advice and a checklist to help you make a choice.
Changing providers will be easiest if you are moving to another area or looking for a better fit.
Before you change
Before you decide to change, check your Home Care Agreement for any fees or special conditions. Providers are allowed to charge an exit fee, which must be mentioned in your Home Care Agreement.
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People using aged care services have valuable insights into how services work and what could be improved.
Engaging with your provider
All providers should be informing and consulting with their consumers. This process is called ‘consumer engagement’.
If you would like to have input into continued improvements, you can ask your provider what opportunities they have for you to get involved. Examples of activities might include:
- sharing your experiences and perspective at a staff meeting or training workshop
- providing feedback on how publications like the Home Care Agreement or the monthly statement could be more user-friendly
- reviewing feedback from consumers and brainstorming with staff strategies to address the issues
- providing a testimonial of your experience for the provider’s website or newsletter
- sharing your experience in a video for potential customers.
Having a say on aged care policy
State and national organisations including Council on the Ageing, Alzheimer’s Australia, Carers Australia, the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia and the National Aged Care Advocacy Service advocate to government for better services for older people. You can contact them to find out if they have opportunities for you to be involved.
From time to time, the government also consults people who use aged care services about aged care policy and reform. Sign up for the Commonwealth Government Aged Care Reform newsletter to be informed of upcoming consultations.
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