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Making an Aged Care Complaint

Catherine Henry Lawyers
Catherine Henry Lawyers

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Making an aged care complaint

Do we have – as some suggest – an aged care “crisis”?  [1]

We hear and read media reports of a system struggling to cope with demand that will only increase as our population ages.

In recent years, there are increasing numbers of accounts of poor clinical outcomes – of starvation and dehydration, ulcers and bedsores, inappropriate restraint (chemical and physical), poor security, falls, scalds and assaults.

Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

On 16 September 2018, the Australian Government announced a Royal Commission into the aged care sector. The Royal Commission is looking at the quality of residential and in-home aged care and will provide a final report due 12 November 2020.

Our firm’s principal, Catherine Henry, is the national spokesperson for the Australian Lawyers Alliance – a national association of lawyers, academics and other professionals dedicated to promoting justice, freedom and the rights of individuals in the areas of elder and aged care law. Our firm collaborated with other lawyers to prepare a lengthy submission to the Commission in 2019, and Catherine Henry spoke at the Newcastle Community Consultation of the Commission.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

On 1 January 2020, The Department of Health transferred its aged care regulatory functions to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the ACQSC) describe their role as one that is in place to, “protect and enhance the safety, health, well-being and quality of life of people receiving aged care.”

The ACQSC is concerned with quality and safety, and is responsible for approving providers and receiving compulsory reports.

Where to make a complaint

Internal complaints mechanisms are largely ineffective. Many older people and their families believe that they have no option but to accept whatever care is provided.

If you cannot resolve your complaint through internal complaints mechanisms with your service provider, you can lodge a complaint with the ACQSC. The ACQSC handles complaints about aged care services.

You can lodge a complaint by calling 1800 951 822 (free call), or online using the online complaints form at https://www.agedcarequality.gov.au/making-complaint/lodge-complaint

In situations where the complaints system fails to properly address the concerns of the resident and their family members, leaving these persons dissatisfied or with no available remedy, the next step for family members is to seek advice in regards to their legal right to make a claim.

If you have concerns about an elderly loved one in aged care, we can help.

We have expertise in aged care law.

We can:

  • assist families with how to make a complaint
  • help to navigate aged care regulation
  • act as the advocate for the family and/or resident
  • advise and prepare a negligence claim

Contact us today on (02) 4929 3995 or info@catherinehenrylawyers.com.au.

*The material provided in our information sheets is for general knowledge only and is not a substitute for independent legal advice. For further information about the issues affecting you, please contact one of our experienced and professional lawyers for expert advice.


[1] In July 2013, former Australian of the Year and President of Alzheimers Australia, Ita Buttrose, “vowed to shame governments into acting on aged care.” The ABC program Lateline has run a series of programs on aged care under the banner of “Aged Care Crisis”. Around the same time as the former Federal government was presenting legislation reforming aged care, then Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, himself said aged care is a system in crisis today. It … is not able to meet the needs and the preferences of older Australians today, and …it will be incapable particularly of meeting the needs and aspirations of … older Australians into the future.”


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