- People receiving home care services should have their rights respected in the way their care is delivered
- You have a number of rights around accessing home care and you need to know how these work
- If your rights are not being respected you should speak to your provider about it
Once you know what your rights are you can assess whether any services you are already receiving are respecting your rights or not, and then take steps to ensure you are receiving quality care.
If you are yet to choose a provider to deliver your home care you can use your knowledge of these rights to choose the provider that will give you the best services.
The Health Department has a Charter of care recipients’ rights and responsibilities – home care which sets out exactly the rights you should expect to have while receiving home care.
These rights apply to all services including everything from home health care, such as wound care or medication management, to gardening or meal delivery.
According to the Charter, you have a right to:
- Be treated and accepted as an individual and to have your individual preferences respected
- Be treated with dignity, with your privacy respected
- Receive care that is respectful of you, and your family and home
- Receive care without being obliged to feel grateful to those providing the care
- Full and effective use of all human, legal and consumer rights, including the right to freedom of speech regarding your care
- Have access to advocates and other avenues of redress
- Be treated without exploitation, abuse, discrimination, harassment or neglect
Under the Consumer Directed Care principles, you also have the right to:
- Set your own goals for your supports
- Determine the ongoing level of involvement and control you have over your home care
- Make fully informed decisions in relation to your care
- Maintain your independence as much as possible
- Choose the care and services that best meet your goals and assessed needs, within the limits of the resources available
- Have choice and flexibility in the way the care and services are provided in your home
- Participate in making decisions that affect you
- Have your representative – family member or close friend – participate in decisions relating to your care if you request it or need support to make decisions
These rights mean you can live the life you want to live for as long as possible.
When reflecting on your care with these rights in mind you may find that some of these rights are not being protected in your situation.
There are a number of reasons why this might happen and it doesn’t always mean that your care workers or provider are doing it on purpose. There may have been a miscommunication, for example.
If you think your rights are not being respected you should talk to your provider about your concern first, as some issues can be fixed simply by talking to your provider about your concerns.
Your provider may be able to reorganise your services, fix a process they use or even help you to review your plan for care so that your services do respect your rights.
If talking to your provider doesn’t help, you can contact the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and make a complaint about your care. Or engage the help of an advocate, you can learn more about advocacy in our article, ‘The role of advocacy in aged care‘.
What other questions do you have about how your home care service should operate? Tell us in the comments below.