The ability to deliver feedback and complaints in aged care is a really vital part of a well-functioning aged care system in Australia, especially as the system is challenged by an increasingly ageing population. It means that any concerns can be promptly, accurately and transparently addressed to ensure every resident can receive a high level of care. So if you do have any concerns about the services from an Australian Government-subsidised service provider, how do you go about reporting these?

Know your rights as a resident

Anyone can report concerns or feedback in the aged care environment, including residents, staff, families and members of the public. As a government-subsidised aged care resident you have a right to quality care, to effective duty of care, and to a responsive complaints system. 

Standard 6 of The Aged Care Quality Standards requires your aged care provider to offer a way to deliver feedback that is accessible, confidential, prompt and fair. The Charter of Aged Care Rights also states that you have the right to complain without reprisal, and to have complaints dealt with fairly and promptly.

It’s important to be familiar with your aged care rights as a resident, so you can flag anything that doesn’t feel or look quite right.


How to provide feedback 

Your aged care provider should openly welcome feedback and will ideally provide a number of ways to do so, like we do here at Aurrum. In most cases, the best first step will be to raise the matter directly with your care team.


Speak to staff

You can provide feedback to any member of your care team, be it a nurse, manager or someone at the front desk. Every aged care provider in Australia is expected to have a structured complaints handling process in place that will ensure concerns reach the right people.


Online feedback or complaints form  

Sometimes it might be easiest to document a concern in an online feedback form or over email. If your provider doesn’t make it clear where you can send comments and complaints, you can use the general enquiries contact details. With Aurrum we provide a contact form and we also welcome feedback at 1800 AURRUM (1800 287 786).


Suggestion box

Some aged care providers might provide a suggestion box at each location where it’s possible to submit feedback anonymously. This can feel like a safe space if someone has fear around reprisals or repercussions for making a complaint, including for staff.


Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission 

In the vast majority of cases, speaking directly to your aged care provider will be enough to set a response in motion. However, if you’re unsatisfied with your provider’s response and if they receive Government funding, you can make a complaint directly to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission online or at 1800 951 822. Its complaint avenues are available to anyone, and this page outlines the best course of action depending on the type of concern. You can choose to make a complaint openly, anonymously or confidentially.


General tips when providing feedback

Any feedback is helpful, but it’s ideal to be as specific as you can be. Try to provide as many details like dates and names as possible to help your provider understand the issue. If you feel comfortable, it’s also helpful to provide your contact details for any further questions. 

If you are calling or speaking in person as you provide feedback, make a note of when and how you provided the feedback so you can refer back to this if needed.


What to expect afterwards

The next step in the process can depend on what the feedback is about and whether you reported it openly or anonymously. If you give feedback openly, the provider might contact you for more clarification or to update you on how the matter is being addressed. Every aged care provider has an obligation to treat any complaints seriously and to escalate the issue as needed throughout their formal process. You should be treated with respect and dignity at all times. 

Serious reportable incidents must be reported to the authorities and My Aged Care within 24 hours of the provider becoming aware of the issue. You can also report suspected elder abuse to the National Elder Abuse Helpline on 1800 353 374, or call emergency services on 000 if the concern involves immediate danger.


Seeking additional support 

There are a number of support services in place to help you deliver feedback and complaints in aged care.


Advocacy organisations  

If you don’t feel comfortable dealing with a complaint or if you feel like your concerns aren’t being heard, you can get in touch with The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600 for assistance. This free service can help you with resources and guidance.


My Aged Care

My Aged Care is a useful resource for anyone accessing aged care support. You can find lots of information on your rights and what to expect with aged care on this government-run website. You can also make a complaint if your provider isn’t being responsive about a concern.


Legal advice

In certain cases, you may wish to obtain advice from a legal professional. If you are worried about the cost of obtaining legal advice, you could consider contacting the Citizens Advice Bureau or Legal Aid in your state or territory for assistance.


The Department of Health and Aged Care

If you suspect there is fraud or financial mismanagement occurring at an aged care facility, the best course of action is to contact the Department of Health and Aged Care on 1800 314 808. This is the department responsible for aged care regulation in Australia.

An example of fraud or financial mismanagement might be if an aged care provider is charging hidden fees, or billing for services that were not provided. If you are unhappy with the resulting response, you can then ask to have your complaint reviewed by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

With a quality aged care provider you will have little need for a complaints and feedback process, but it’s important to know that any unexpected concerns will be heard and addressed if they ever do arise. If you’re considering an aged care provider, be sure to look out for an open approach to feedback.


Find an aged care home that genuinely cares

Resident care and satisfaction is what drives us every day at Aurrum Aged Care, and you can be confident we welcome all feedback to deliver outstanding aged care. If you would like to tour any of our aged care homes in Victoria or New South Wales, contact us today to get started.