A sustainable aged care complaints system needs to be collaborative between older people, their families, staff and providers. The complaint system needs to identify issues and provide solutions quickly.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found that the public has lost confidence in provider’s ability to manage complaints. Older people, families and staff fear repercussions if they speak up, and when they do, they feel their complaint is not adequately resolved.
Although each provider must have a complaint management system, many complaints are not dealt with effectively. In many cases, people feel they have not been heard.
Many complaints relate to medication errors, medical neglect, assaults, complications in navigating the aged care system, long waiting times for home care packages and poor service delivery. Ignoring these complaints impacts on an older person’s human rights.
The current complaint system in aged care is not transparent. It does not require providers to disclose complaints nor share how the complaint is managed.
That’s why I launched Issue.Watch in 2019. I believe an independent, transparent complaints management system in aged care is needed, so that providers will acknowledge and resolve resident issues efficiently and effectively, and as necessary improve practices and procedures.
Resolving complaints involves building good relationships and trust. We need a new system of dealing with complaint management that supports those who use aged care services.