If you live in an aged care home or you are receiving care in your own residence, your rights are protected under Australian aged care laws. Our aged care system is complex and it can be hard to know where to start and where to go for help.
Aged care laws and legislation
Aged Care Act
The Aged Care Act protects your consumer rights. It ensures that you will get the care you require no matter where you live, what language you speak, or what your financial situation is. In other words, you will be able to receive aged care services if and when you need them, regardless of your circumstances.
Aged Care (Accommodation Payment Security) Act
The Aged Care (Accommodation Payment Security) Act protects those receiving care from government funded service providers who become insolvent or bankrupt. The government can pursue the defaulting provider and recover monies on your behalf.
Age Discrimination Act
The Age Discrimination Act means that no matter what your age, you have the right to be treated equally to everyone else – it could be at your job or you might be looking for somewhere to live; you can’t be put at a disadvantage because of your age.
Help and support
Always keep in mind that many straightforward issues can be resolved directly with your aged care service provider. Service providers are required to have mechanisms in place to manage complaints. If this does not provide you with the desired outcome or you don’t feel comfortable going directly to the service provider, you have the other avenues below.
Aged Care Complaints Scheme
If you are dissatisfied with anything relating to an aged care service you receive, you can contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme to seek a resolution. This includes complaints about a home or aged care facility.
Office of the Aged Care Commissioner
If you don’t receive a satisfactory outcome from this, you can escalate it to the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner. The Commissioner also ensures that aged care facilities meet the accreditation requirements and they monitor the ongoing compliance.
You can also make a complaint to the Commonwealth Ombudsman. The Ombudsman works across government to ensure proper administration and that services are delivered correctly.
Get legal advice
If your situation is complex, or you have not been able to successfully resolve your issue using the channels mentioned above, then please consider getting legal advice from a lawyer with expertise in Australian aged care laws.
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