Rae’s Reflections – Do you know your rights?
More and more people tell me that when they are considering aged care at home or in a residential facility, they are given lots of information. This is not a bad thing if it’s good information. However, too much of it can be overwhelming. The things you most need to know can get lost among the many brochures and forms.
For instance, do you know that you have rights which are clearly set out in the legislation, if you are receiving aged care? These include rights to dignity and respect, to maintain personal independence and to receive good quality care. You also have the right to complain.
Two formal charters of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities explain, in simple terms, the rights of people receiving aged care whether it’s in their own home or residential care. These documents will help when you are considering services, when you are talking to the provider and when you are receiving services.
The charters will also help you when you have concerns about aged care and services. They set out your right to an advocate or support services during a complaints process as well as the right to be free from reprisal or punishment. This is particularly important for those who have a concern, yet are fearful that speaking up may have negative consequences on their care or on relationships with the people involved. It lets people know that it’s okay to speak up, that they should expect to be supported throughout the process and that they can’t be punished for raising their concerns.
Everyone receiving aged care has a right to be looked after properly, treated well and given high quality care and services. All service providers have responsibilities and must meet certain standards to ensure they deliver care that meets the needs of the person receiving aged care. This includes delivering care in accordance with the rights set out in the charters.
We take the charters and people’s rights into account in considering whether service providers have met their responsibilities, when we get complaints about aged care.
If you haven’t had a look at the charters, I encourage you to do so and help me to raise awareness of the rights of people receiving aged care.
Rae Lamb, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
The charters can be viewed at the following links: