20% increase in aged care complaints: Aged Care Complaints Commissioner report

Published on

The Commissioner received 4,713 complaints this year, an increase from 3,936 in 2015-16, according to the first annual report released since Commissioner Rae Lamb was appointed to the role in January 2016.

Ms Lamb said she didn’t think the rise reflected “deteriorating standards of care” however.

“Certainly we see instances where care has been very poor, and there are still people who should complain who don’t. Nonetheless the number of complaints has to be balanced against the fact that more than one million people receive aged care,” she said.

The majority of complaints were also resolved within one month, with early resolution achieved for 92%, up 25% from 2015-16.

The top causes for concern in residential care were medication administration and management (559), followed by falls prevention and post fall management (382), and personal and oral hygiene (365).

Overall, just 389 complaints needed to be resolved using formal processes, including investigation (254), provider resolution (110) and conciliation (56).

The Commissioner has also been working to raise its profile in the past year – which may explain why the number of contacts also jumped 10% to 11,007.

However 68% of calls were not classified as complaints, with 31% (3,399) unrelated to the Commissioner’s role and 37% (2,821) being enquiries.

In total, 78% of the 4,713 complaints were about residential care, while 15% concerned home care packages and 7% were about the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

This was an increase from 12% and 6% respectively in the previous year – a reflection of the growing number of people using home care packages.

Of the complaints, 60% were from family members or representatives and 19% from people receiving care, with the final 21% anonymous or referrals from other agencies or parties.

The top causes for concern in residential care were medication administration and management (559), followed by falls prevention and post fall management (382), and personal and oral hygiene (365).

For home care packages, complaints related more to fees and charges (211), lack of consultation and communication (146) and communication about fees and charges (79).

Overall, just 389 complaints needed to be resolved using formal processes, including investigation (254), provider resolution (110) and conciliation (56).

The Complaints Commissioner also made 511 referrals to external organisations including the Quality Agency and the Secretary of the Department, mostly regarding number/ratio of personnel, wound management and medication administration and management.

You can read the full report here.

Share.

About Author

The Weekly SOURCE is the leading media for retirement living and aged care businesses, delivering sector-specific news through four mastheads. Operating as part of The DCM Group, The Weekly SOURCE also provides a directory of proven sector specialists and an insights exchange.