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Advocacy

Most of the time aged care services work well and the people who use them are happy with the service they receive. However, sometimes there is a problem, and you may need help to speak up and have the problem resolved.

It is important to address your concerns and not leaving them escalate (Source: Shutterstock)
It is important to address your concerns and not leaving them escalate (Source: Shutterstock)

Supporting the rights of older people

Many people feel uncomfortable raising a complaint or concern but it is important to address your concerns early and not leaving it to escalate. 

This can be particularly difficult if your complaint is about care or service that you are dependent upon for meeting your most basic needs. 

Nevertheless, we live in a society where each and every one of us, regardless of our age, has rights as citizens and individuals.

What are my rights?

The Charters of Residents’ Rights and Responsibilities outlines your rights and responsibilities as a resident and those of the provider. Some of the rights and responsibilities include:

  • Full and effective use of residents’ personal, civil, legal and consumer rights
  • Quality care, privacy, dignity and respect
  • Making complaints about anything unfair or unreasonable
  • Access to advocates and to be free from fear of reprisal.

The Charter should be displayed at the aged care home, included in the Resident Agreement or you can request a copy from your provider.

Who can help?

If you feel unsure or unable to address your concerns yourself with the service provider, you can ask an advocacy service to help you.

An advocate can give information, advise and support you to express your concerns or even speak on your behalf. They will aim to achieve the best possible outcome for you.

An advocate can help you:

  • Understand your rights and responsibilities 
  • Listen to your concerns 
  • Discuss your options for addressing a concern 
  • Raise a concern with the service provider or speak on your behalf

Advice is generally provided on consumer rights, human rights, financial exploitation, substitute decision-making and elder abuse.

How to find help

There are free and independent advocacy services in every state and territory which provide free telephone advice, community education and other assistance for older persons throughout Australia.  

All advocacy services ensure the needs of people from a culturally diverse background are met through culturally appropriate services and interpreters where necessary. 

If you receive Government funded home care or aged care services you can access independent and free advocacy services through the National Aged Care Advocacy Program.

Contact the National Aged Care Advocacy Line on 1800 700 600 or an Aged Care Advocate in your state for more information.

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