Fact sheet – How aged care advocacy can help you
If you are concerned about the quality of the aged care service you or the person you represent is receiving, an advocacy service may be able to help.
What is advocacy and how can it help me?
Advocacy is defined as ‘the process of standing alongside an individual and speaking out on their behalf in a way that represents the best interests of that person’. An advocate will assist the person receiving aged care to achieve the best outcome for them.
An advocate is someone who can listen to your concerns, give you information and speak up on behalf of you if you want them to. They will work at your direction in a way that represents your expressed wishes. An advocate is confidential and will always seek your permission before taking action.
An advocate can:
- provide you with information about your rights and responsibilities
- support you in making decisions that affect your quality of life
- discuss your options for taking action
- support you to raise a concern with the service provider or us
- support you at any stage throughout a complaint process.
What rights do people receiving aged care have?
The rights are set out in the Charter of Residents’ Rights and Responsibilities – Residential Care and the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities – Home Care.
You can also ask an advocacy agency for a copy of either charter.
An advocate can support you to raise your concern with the service provider or us.
How can an advocate help you resolve your concerns with the service provider?
We encourage you to raise your concern with the staff or a manager of the service first as this is often the best way to have your concern quickly resolved. An advocate can support you to do this by contacting the manager or speaking on your behalf.
If you or your advocate are not satisfied with the service provider’s response to your concern, you or your advocate can contact us on 1800 550 552* or lodge a complaint online through our website agedcarecomplaints.gov.au.
Who can access free aged care advocacy?
Anyone receiving Australian Government funded aged care services for help at home or in an aged care home can access free advocacy services. This includes people who:
- are receiving or have previously received aged care services
- are potentially going to receive aged care services, including people who have been assessed as eligible to receive aged care services
- are the family of, or represent the person receiving aged care services.
How do I contact a free aged care advocate to help me?
With your permission, we can phone a free advocacy agency on your behalf to explain your concerns and arrange for the advocate to contact you.
You can also directly call the Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) on 1800 700 600*. Your call will go to the capital city of the state or territory you are calling from, including if you call from a mobile phone (charges may apply if calling from a mobile phone). You can request an interpreter service if required when you contact them. For advocacy services in your state or territory, please go to www.opan.com.au. Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) is the organisation contracted by the Australian government to provide free, independent and confidential advocacy services to older people using or planning to use Australian Government funded aged care services, as well as their families and carers. Services are delivered in each state and territory by experienced advocacy organisations.