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Calls for more transparency from providers

With the accreditation process for providers under review and more reports of inadequate care in residential facilities surfacing, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner Rae Lamb is calling for more transparency from providers and is advising consumers to ask more questions.

Aged Care Complaints Commissioner Rae Lamb
Aged Care Complaints Commissioner Rae Lamb

“Consumers should ask service providers about the numbers of complaints they receive, the issues raised, and most importantly, how they are resolved, because even the best services can improve, and important opportunities for improvement are lost if people aren't encouraged to bring them out into the light,” she says.

Ms Lamb has also recently called on aged care services to put more information about complaints on their websites and in their public materials.

“Services that disclose how many complaints they get, and how they deal with them, will be more attractive to consumers,” she says. “For people looking for the best providers, such transparency may be a selling point. If a service won’t talk about how many complaints it gets and what it does about them, then that says something about the service.”

She feels seeing service providers being more open about complaints and seeing that complaints improve care and services will mean people feel more able to raise their concerns, have confidence their concerns will be addressed and improve the chances of successfully resolving complaints early and directly.

In the 2016 calendar year, the Commissioner received 4,460 complaints relating to residential services and help at home. The top five issues in this time for residential care were:

  • Medication administration and management
  • Constipation and continence management
  • Representative/family consultation and communication
  • Lack of consultation/communication
  • Falls prevention and post fall management

Most of the complaints (63 percent) about residential care were from a representative or family member, 16 percent were anonymous, and 11 percent were from the care recipient.

For help at home, the top 5 issues for 2016 calendar year were:

  • Fees and charges
  • Lack of consultation/communication
  • Other
  • Behaviour/conduct
  • Communication about fees and charges

In the 2016 calendar year, only 3 percent of complaints relating to help at home were anonymous, 48 per cent were from a representative or family member, and 43 percent were from the care recipient.


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