Quality in Aged Care is something that has been under scrutiny lately, with Royal Commissions into Aged Care and lots of press around the lack of quality and transparency.

While this has focused mostly on Aged Care Homes, quality standards in Home Care are also fairly poor. Strict benchmarks are not in place and regular audits are not conducted – and most of these audits are self-reported by the provider themselves.

All Australians receiving Aged Care services are, however, protected by the Aged Care Charter of Rights.

The Charter of Aged Care Rights

All older Australians receiving aged care funded by the Australian government have certain rights. Whether you are living in residential aged care or receiving care at home, you have the right to receive high-quality care. This means everybody involved in the delivery of your care, must treat you with dignity and respect. They should also value and support your identity, diversity and culture. 

These values are enshrined in the Charter of Aged Care Rights which was recently introduced to provide the same rights to all older Australians receiving care. As well as having a right to safe, high-quality and respectful care, under the Charter, you also have the right to decide what the type of care you want and how that care is delivered.

When you are discussing your care options with providers they are legally obliged to show you a copy of the Charter and help you understand your rights under it. Once you are ready to enter into an aged care agreement your provider must give you a signed copy of the Charter. You also have the option of signing it yourself, acknowledging that you have read and understood it. The Charter is in addition to the Aged Care Agreement you sign when you enter into a formal contractual arrangement with your provider.

How are my rights protected?

All aged care providers are required to comply with the Charter of Aged Care Rights together with specific quality standards. These regulations and standards are in place to protect older Australians and ensure they receive the highest quality of care. These standards reflect acceptable levels of care the community expects from aged care providers. 

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is the government agency responsible for assessing aged care services against these standards and monitoring them to ensure compliance.

Under the aged care assessment quality framework, there are eight quality indicators that the Commission expects aged care providers to demonstrate. These indicators, or standards, cover everything from respecting people’s dignity and their right to choose how they are cared for, to the professionalism of the organisation delivering that care.

The performance of aged care providers is assessed and rated against these specific standards and they will be penalised if the Commission finds they are failing to meet these standards.

Making a complaint

If you are receiving care in your own home or in a residential facility and are unhappy with the quality of care you’re receiving, there are certain steps you can take:

As a starting point, discuss your concerns with your aged care provider and give them an opportunity to address any issues. They may be pleased to receive your feedback and willing to work with you to resolve any problems.

However, if they are unable or unwilling to deal with your concerns, you may decide to make a formal complaint to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. 

Complaints to the Commission can be made by contacting them on 1800 951 833 or by submitting a complaints form online.

Monitoring Compliance

Choosing an aged care provider is a very important decision and you need to have complete trust in the organisation managing your care. As such, knowing if a provider has been identified as non-compliant by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is  something you should know. 

When you are looking for a provider you can go on to the Commission’s website and see how a  provider has been assessed. You can also go on to the ‘non-compliance checker’ on the government’s My Aged Care website to see if a provider has failed to meet the standards expected of them.

Where a provider, despite repeated warnings, continues to breach the standards expected of them, the Commission may impose a sanction. A sanction revokes the provider’s approval to deliver aged care for a certain period until they have addressed the areas of concern. Once this sanction period is over the Commission will publish this information online. 

 For expert advice on finding quality and trusted aged care providers in your local area, contact CareAbout on 130072218.