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Better Practice Guide to Complaint Handling

The resources in this Guide are designed to support better practice in complaint handling in aged care services. Many of these resources and templates are customisable. We encourage you to download, print and tailor them to the needs of your service.

Better Practice Guide to Complaint Handling in Aged Care Services (booklet)

Better Practice Guide to Complaint Handling in Aged Care Services (booklet) Cover

This booklet provides an evidence-based approach to complaint handling in a plain English, easy-to-understand format. It highlights the role of communication in effective complaint handling and the benefits of resolving complaints within a service.

Quick Reference Cards and Posters

The following ‘quick reference’ cards cover areas important to effective complaint handling in aged care. Information is presented in a highly visual and engaging format.

The cards are also available in other languages (Hindi, Italian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and Tagalog).

The Complaints Journey

The Complaints Journey Cover

This resource tells the story of a complaint from the issue arising to complaint resolution. The journey contrasts the different paths to resolution, including assisted resolution and the role of communication in complaint handling.

The Stages of Complaint Handling

The Stages of Complaint Handling Cover

Based on an evidence-based complaint handling process, this resource describes the seven stages of complaint handling, as referenced by the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

Complaints and Workplace Culture

Complaints and Workplace Culture

This card describes how workplace culture influences complaint handling. It highlights how a blame-free, continuous improvement culture supports effective complaint handling.

Staff Journey

Staff Journey Cover

This card provides step-by-step instructions for aged care staff and volunteers on how to respond to a complaint within a service. It emphasises the role of communication in complaint handling.

Assisted complaints resolution (external resolution mechanisms)

Assisted complaints resolution (external resolution mechanisms) Cover

This resource provides options for aged care staff and volunteers on how to assist complainants when a resolution has not been found within the service, or where a complainant does not wish to engage directly with their provider. It includes information on the roles of external services that can assist in resolving complaints including aged care advocacy; and the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

‘Choose your own adventure’ interactive learning exercises

‘Choose your own adventure’ interactive learning exercises Cover

These exercises are designed to help aged care staff understand the complaint journey from different points of view. The format supports an interactive learning approach that reflects real life situations.

Case studies

These case studies are built on better practice complaint handling. With guiding questions, they can be used to support team discussions and self-paced reflection.

The learning exercises are based on real aged care industry case studies. The document is designed to be used as a starting point for discussion and can be used or adapted by service providers to discuss different approaches to complaint handling in aged care settings, for example in a group setting at staff meetings. Service providers should adapt this document in consultation with staff and care recipients to ensure it meets the specific needs of their own service.

NB: This is a text template, not a fully formatted print-ready template. Service providers may need to adjust margins, column spacing and text wrapping to suit their service’s printing and IT set-up.

Templates, forms, letters and tools

These templates, forms, letters and tools have been developed for use by aged care service providers and can be adapted to suit internal procedures and processes:

  • Template 1 – Compliments and Complaint Handling Policy
  • Template 2 – Compliments and Complaints Support Statement
  • Template 3 – Compliments and Complaints Trifold Brochure
  • Template 4 – Compliments and Complaints Form
  • Template 5 – The Quick Fix Form
  • Template 6 – Letter acknowledging a complaint
  • Template 7 – Letter confirming a complaint has been resolved
  • Template 8 – Individual Complaint Tracker
  • Template 9 – Complaints Tracker
  • Template 10 – Continuous Improvement Plan

Further reading

For further resources with information on complaints handling related topics.