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Making An Aged Care Complaint

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.

Some have called for a Royal Commission into the standard of care in aged care facilities. [2]

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.

Aged Care Complaints Scheme (‘ACCS’)

The ACCS is well publicised at aged care facilities and online.

However many see it as

  • Not independent
  • Ineffective

Many families of residents who go through the process of an ACCS complaint are dissatisfied with the outcome.

Serious incidents should be escalated. Disciplinary hearings should be held where an investigation shows that there has been inadequate care. And these hearings should be held in public with proper decisions available to the public.

Accreditation issues

There is no correlation between breaches of care and accreditation or quality assurance.

An aged care facility can be found to have breached its responsibilities under the Aged Care Act but still get a perfect accreditation score.

The accreditation agency (The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency) has no role in measuring or monitoring adverse events. It concentrates on whether there are processes in place to prevent and treat failures in care. Whether they successfully do so is not evaluated or reported.

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 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)49293995 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.”

[2]Revelations of neglect prompt demands for royal commission and overhaul of aged care industry

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