Rae’s Reflections – Because we care
What is the point of making a complaint? What are we trying to achieve?
Usually, we are faced with something that is wrong and we are trying to make things better so that the service or care provided will improve. Sometimes it is too late to fix the problem for the person who has been affected and we have complained to make things better for others. We don’t want our experience to be shared by someone else. It is important that the people we complain to understand why we are making the complaint. It’s because we are trying to achieve the best care we can for the people we love.
At a recent conference I heard from Jane, a daughter of parents in aged care. Her words came straight from her heart:
“What is good care? Good care is not a tradable commodity; it cannot be advertised on glossy brochures, tweeted, liked on Facebook or bought or sold. Caring is a true measure of our humanity; and offering it vests both the giver and the receiver with dignity. It comes from principled, genuine and dedicated people seeking to give what they would like themselves or their own loved ones to receive. It is offering a smile when it is needed, having the good judgement to know when to speak and when to listen and sometimes giving a voice to a person who may not be able to find the words.”
We often use the term ‘care’ without realising that it is not just about providing a service to an older person, but, as Jane says, showing that we are giving to someone what we would like to receive and we won’t settle for less. It’s about empathy; understanding how our mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, uncles and aunties, can live the rest of their lives as best they can, with respect and dignity. It can be as simple as offering a smile, taking an older person’s hand, or sitting with them.
When we make a complaint it is because we truly care. When we welcome that complaint and promptly fix the problem it is because we care. When we work together to support an older person and make their life better, it is because we care. We want our loved ones to get the best care they can.
Rae Lamb, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner
26 September 2017