Complaints Resolution in The Aged Care Sector

Rae Lamb Aged Care Complaints Commissioner

On April 27th the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner held an event called ‘Complaints Matter’ at the Adelaide Convention Centre. It was interesting to read an interview the day before in the Sydney Morning Herald with the Commissioner, Rae Lamb, in which she challenged the aged care sector to detail the number and types of complaints they received and how they were resolved, both on their websites and at actual facilities.

The aim of the ‘Complaints Matter’ event was for both aged care consumers and service providers to walk away with an understanding of why complaints do matter. The commissioner wanted the event to highlight the processes of a good complaint and provide best practice tips for resolving complaints to the satisfaction of everyone involved. The Presenters at the event were Professor Ron Paterson, former NZ Parliamentary Ombudsman and Health Disability Commissioner, and Maggie Beer of the Maggie Beer Foundation.

In her interview with the SMH the Commissioner said “At the moment, we are in the environment where people are being given a lot more control over their care, but to make good choices, people need more information.”  She explained that the aged care sector is being shaken up right now with the consolidation of a cottage industry by larger, often for-profit providers which means that “relationships between providers and consumers are changing and power balances are changing. That is why people need to get more information. It is about ensuring people are well informed and able to make choices.” As an Aged Care Placement Consultant I assess the quality of aged care facilities on behalf of my clients. Being aware of complaints at the facility and how they are resolved is most important in assessing the culture of the aged care facility being examined and how well my clients will be cared for.

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