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How the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can help

When you feel you have not been treated correctly in an aged care home or are not receiving adequate care, it is difficult to know who to turn to for help.

Last updated: May 9th 2022
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission monitors the aged care sector and provides advice and information to consumers. [Source: Adobe Stock]

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission monitors the aged care sector and provides advice and information to consumers. [Source: Adobe Stock]

Key points:

  • The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission monitors and regulates the aged care sector and its providers
  • If you have a complaint, the Commission can mediate meetings between you and your provider
  • The Commission gives accreditation to aged care providers to deliver services to older people

If you have approached the facility or provider to let them know your complaints and you don’t feel heard or still have not had those complaints addressed, there is another avenue to travel down.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission is the regulator for the Government to make sure everyone receiving some form of aged care services is protected, safe, and receiving good care that meets their needs and contributes to their wellbeing and quality of life.

About the Commission

The Commission was previously known as the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency and the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

They were two separate agencies brought together to strengthen the focus on consumers, regulation, transparency, and engagement between consumers and providers.

The Quality and Safety Commission provides:

  • Accreditation to aged care facilities and services
  • Assesses and monitors aged care services receiving Government subsidies
  • Resolves complaints from consumers about providers
  • Empowers consumers and supports providers to comply with quality standards
  • Promotes best practices for aged care services

In the future, the Government will be enacting changes from their ‘five year, five pillar’ plan to change aged care, which will see the Commission receive further powers to regulate the aged care sector and may include a new independent regulator body to oversee the industry.

How the Commission can help

If you have issues with the current care you are receiving, are having a breakdown of communication with your provider, or are concerned for a family member receiving aged care services, the Commission is a great way to have your complaints addressed.

Before going to the Commission, make sure you exhaust all of your other options first, including talking to your provider directly to sort matters.

The Commission can provide you with information to resolve your concerns, provide advice and answer your questions, and, if need be, resolve your complaints with the provider.

If a provider is not adhering to the responsibilities within the Aged Care Act 1997 legislation, the Commission can resolve the problem through mediation and investigation.

What they can't do

While the Commission can provide help, there are some areas the Commission does not have the authority to help with.

This includes:

  • Advice on service or care availability
  • Advice around financial, legal or health decisions for someone
  • Comment on employment conditions
  • Ask a service provider to terminate the employment of a staff member
  • Determine whether an event occurred from conflicting complaints

While they are restricted in some of their powers, if you are still not satisfied, your complaint can be passed on to another organisation, like the Department of Health or other complaint bodies.

Making a complaint

There are a number of ways to make a complaint, you can do so over the phone on 1800 951 822, in writing to Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, GPO Box 9819, your capital city, or via the Commission’s website.

If you get to a point of needing to make a complaint to the Commission, you can provide an open complaint, or do so anonymously or confidentially. If you provide an anonymous complaint, it will make it harder for the Commission to act on your behalf and you won’t be able to follow up on the progress of what you raised.

Additionally, if you are aware your aged care provider is having an upcoming audit or review, you can call the Commission ahead of time to raise any concerns.

The Commission will review your concern and assist you to deal with the complaint. This means reaching the best result possible for yourself and the service provider.

An informal complaint resolution is where the process starts, however, if it is not sorted through this meditation format, the complaint will be escalated into a formal process.

When you make a complaint, it’s important to address all of the concerns you have about the service you are receiving. Include all the relevant data the Commission will need and make sure to outline how you would like this complaint to be resolved.

You can learn more about complaints by reading our article, ‘What do I do if I have a complaint about my care?

Assessing providers

The Commission provides aged care facilities with accreditation to run and receive Government funding, and also has the power to lay down sanctions against a facility if they do not meet all eight of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Aged care facilities are audited to make sure they meet the Standards. This includes unannounced visits to make sure facilities and providers are complying with the Standards at all times.

If a provider is not up to scratch, that provider will be registered with the Commission for non-compliance and can potentially be sanctioned depending on if the non-compliance is considered a serious risk to residents or if the facility has shown no improvement.

Other services

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission can also provide consumers with information around different areas of aged care.

The Commission website has a reports section where you can access any audit reports or decisions of serious risk at aged care facilities. This can help inform your decisions around choosing a provider of services.

There are also educational strategies and bulletins posted regularly for both consumers and providers.

What extra protection would you like in place that would bolster the Commission’s work? Tell us in the comments below.

Related content:

Your rights in aged care
What do I do if I have a complaint about my care?
How do sanctions work?

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