You have a right to receive high quality care and services and to always be treated with respect and dignity.
These rights and more are protected by the Charter of Aged Care Rights. The Charter provides the same rights to all consumers. These rights apply no matter what type of Australian Government funded aged care services you receive.
It is a good idea for you and those involved in your care to familiarise yourself with your rights. All providers of Australian Government funded aged care must comply with the Charter.
You have the right to:
- safe and high quality care and services
- be treated with dignity and respect
- have your identity, culture and diversity valued and supported
- live without abuse and neglect
- be informed about your care and services in a way you understand
- access all information about yourself, including information about your rights, care and services
- have control over and make choices about your care, and personal and social life, including where the choices involve personal risk
- have control over, and to make decisions about, the personal aspects of your daily life, financial affairs and possessions
- your independence
- be listened to and understood
- have a person of your choice, including an aged care advocate, support you or speak on your behalf
- complain free from reprisal, and to have your complaints dealt with fairly and promptly
- personal privacy and to have your personal information protected
- exercise your rights without it adversely affecting the way you are treated
You can get a copy of the Charter from your service provider or the Department of Health website.
If you do not understand your rights, what something means or how it applies to you:
- ask your service provider to help you understand your rights
- seek advice from an advocate
- visit the Older Persons Advocacy Network website, or
- visit the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.
Aged care providers must help you to understand your rights
Your provider is legally required to help you understand your rights under the Charter. They must give you a copy of the Charter before or when you start receiving aged care. Your provider is required to sign the Charter and to also give you the option of signing it.
By signing the Charter, you acknowledge that you:
- have received it,
- been assisted to understand it, and
- understand your rights.
Your aged care rights coexist with other rights
People receiving aged care have the same legal rights as all Australians. For example, you have rights to privacy, consumer rights, and the right to be free from discrimination under relevant laws. The rights described in the Charter add to these.
Your right to quality care
You have the right to safe and high quality care and services. All government-funded aged care providers are monitored, and have to meet Aged Care Quality Standards.
In addition to your rights, you also have responsibilities.
Treat others with respect
You are expected to be respectful and considerate. All people involved in aged care, including consumers, their family, carers and visitors should make sure that their behaviour does not adversely affect others. Any kind of violence, harassment or abuse towards staff or others is not acceptable.
Respect the rights of staff to work in a safe environment
You are expected to maintain a safe environment for staff members and others. For example, if your provider is delivering services in your home, keep pets away from staff members and do not smoke near staff.
Assist your provider by giving relevant information
You should give your aged care provider the information they need to provide you with safe and quality care. This may include:
- up to date information
- any problems you have with the provider’s care or services.
Pay agreed fees on time
You are expected to pay any agreed fees on time and comply with the condition of your care agreement. If you are unable to pay your fees, talk to your provider to find a solution.
What to do if you have concerns
If you are concerned about the quality of your care or believe that your rights are not being upheld, it is important to talk about it. You should talk to your aged care provider first.
It’s okay to complain. Just as positive feedback can reinforce things that work well, your complaints can help improve care and services.
You have the right to raise concerns easily and without fear of how you will be treated. All aged care providers must have their own complaints systems, and manage complaints fairly. It is your provider’s responsibility to act promptly on matters related to the quality or safety of your care and services.
If you feel uncomfortable talking to your aged care provider or feel that your complaint hasn’t been resolved, these organisations can help you:
National Aged Care Advocacy Program (NACAP)
You have the right to call on an advocate of your choice to represent you in your dealings with your service provider.
Find out more about advocacy.
Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission
If you, your carer, or anyone else is concerned about the care or services you receive, you can make a complaint to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
Read more about how to make a complaint.