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Good complaints practice

Good complaint handling leads to better outcomes for older Australians.

Service providers must have a system for resolving complaints. This is required by the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Here are some tips to help providers resolve complaints fairly and promptly:

  • Make it easy to complain. Tell people from the outset how to do it.
  • See complaints as an opportunity to improve care. Complaints are part of providing a good service. It’s how you respond that matters.
  • Listen carefully and acknowledge the complainant’s concerns.
  • Ask what the complainant wants to achieve and record this.
  • Nominate someone senior to manage the complaint. Pass on their contact details to the complainant.
  • Actively involve the consumer in the resolution process. Speak with their representative if appropriate.
  • Work towards a resolution straight away.
  • Be clear about what you will do to resolve the concerns. Provide timeframes for your proposed actions.
  • Give regular updates even when there’s little to report.
  • Provide a clear outcome at the end of the process. This should include any findings and all actions taken.
  • Apologise if things went wrong. This helps resolve matters quickly and improves your relationship with the people involved.

More information

Our Better practice guide to complaints handling in aged care services includes case studies.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman also publishes a Better Practice Complaint Handling Guide.

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