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How to make an Effective Complaint

It’s ok to make a complaint

Raising concerns you have about the quality of care you or someone you know is receiving isn’t ‘being difficult’. It’s a normal part of service delivery. Raising concerns provides an opportunity for aged care services to become aware of issues, find solutions and improve their care.

Anyone can make a complaint about aged care in Australia by discussing issues directly with a service provider or by contacting us. Most  complaints can be addressed quickly by discussing the issue(s) with your service provider, in person or over the phone. If you don’t feel able to do this directly, we can help you do this.

Here are a few things that will help make your complaint more effective and easier to resolve.

Put your concerns in writing

More complex or less urgent concerns are best put in writing. Writing a letter allows you to collate relevant information in one document and present it in a logical flow, making it easier for service providers or us to understand your complaint. It also provides you with a written record of your concern.

Focus on the facts

You may feel distressed, angry or frustrated about issues that affect you or a loved one. A complaint that details facts and events clearly will assist the service provider or us in understanding and assessing your complaint.

Include important information

Provide concise background information on the issue and outline any steps taken by you or the person receiving aged care to fix the problem. If you can , include times, dates and names of staff that you spoke to and their responses. It’s also useful to include copies of any forms, letters or documents that relate to the complaint.

Be clear about the outcome you want to achieve

Your complaint will be most effective if you are seeking an outcome that is realistic and aims to improve the quality of services provided to the person receiving care.  If you come to us we will discuss the complaints process and possible resolution options with you, and keep you updated on outcomes throughout the process.

Ask for help

Making a complaint can be a confronting experience for many people, particularly when it concerns staff or service providers with whom you have an ongoing relationship. If you feel this way, ask a friend or family member to help you write out your complaint, or contact an Advocacy Service for support.

More tips and advice

You can visit the Commonwealth Ombudsman’s ‘Making a Complaint’ page for more information on making an effective complaint.