Aged care needs an effective complaints system

Anyone can make a complaint regarding the provision of aged care services in Australia. Providers must address complaints fairly, promptly, and confidentially.

Although each provider must have a complaint management system, many complaints are not dealt with effectively. In many cases, people feel they have not been heard. People often feel their complaints are ignored or that fixes are only short term.

The current aged care complaint system is not transparent, and it has failed the people it is meant to serve. It does not require providers to disclose complaints nor share how the complaint is managed.

Independent complaints tracking

We are working with issue.watch, an independent complaints tracker that collates complaints. We will share information on the website about the types of complaints that are made, and how these complaints are resolved.

We encourage people to register complaints – both big and small – so complaints can be tracked and managed in a timely manner. The issue.watch database amalgamates complaints so systemic issues can be identified.

We believe complaints should be used for quality improvement. Complaints provide useful information for reviewing policies and procedures and provide consumer-led solutions. This will lead to improved communication between providers, residents, recipients of home care packages, and families. It will also help to build confidence and trust in the aged care system.

Managing complaints well requires dealing with issues that matter to people who use aged care services. This is fundamental to any system.

Why complain via issue.watch?

  • issue.watch is independent of the aged care sector and government.
  • You can remain anonymous.
  • Use an easy to follow process.
  • Feel comfortable providing feedback on any matter, small or large.

How Issue.watch works

  1. Register on the issue.watch website – your personal information will not be disclosed to the aged care provider, and you can remain anonymous.
  2. Search or add the organisation you want to complain about.
  3. Complete a series of questions – no formal documentation is required in the first instance

You can lodge your complaint exclusively with Issue.Watch, or share with Issue.Watch after lodging your complaint with your provider or government agency to add to the database to help identify trends.

What happens next?

Once a complaint is logged with issue.watch we may do the following:

Issue.watch case study

Issue.watch received many complaints across several nursing homes of loved ones falling. Issue.watch found there was no clear policies around contacting family, recording the fall, or seeking medical support.

After contacting the aged care facilities issue.watch found in some cases there was miscommunication, others did not have a clear policy around the timing of seeking medical support, and some ignored our calls.
We plan to release this type of information on the issue.watch website and seek a review of practices around falls procedures.

Together we have a louder voice, so issues get noticed, and we encourage members of the public to report complaints to issue.watch and share the link with family and friends https://issue.watch.

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