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All approved aged care providers – residential, community and in-home – should inform care recipients of their rights as well as the ways to lodge complaints.

The first port of call should be the provider. However, if complaints are not being dealt with at that level, they may need to be escalated.

For the past two years, the independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner has been receiving notifications after the care people have received in residential, in-home or community care – and communication around that care – has broken down.

Those complaints have also come when a person has tried to address concerns but does not feel heard by their provider.

The Commissioner has emphasised the importance of complaints, saying they are “great opportunities to improve care” and are a positive.

Service providers are also encouraged to welcome complaints, “treating them as part of the opportunity to improve their service”.

Complaints can be made by calling the Commission’s national 1800 550 552 number or online via its website (at www.agedcarecomplaints.gov.au).

With elder abuse an issue nationally, each state and territory provides information about abuse and abuse prevention as well as useful contacts and options for getting help. The MyAgedCare website indicates these include:

State/territory Organisation or resource Contact
Australian Capital Territory Older Persons Abuse Prevention Referral and Information Line (APRIL) 02 6205 3535
New South Wales NSW Elder Abuse Helpline 1800 628 221
Northern Territory Northern Territory Police 131 444
Queensland Elder Abuse Prevention Unit 1300 651 192
South Australia Aged Rights Advocacy Service
Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
08 8232 5377 (Adelaide)
1800 700 600 (rural)
Tasmania Tasmanian Elder Abuse Helpline 1800 441 169
Victoria Seniors Rights Victoria 1300 368 821
Western Australia Advocare Inc. 1300 724 679 (Perth)
1800 655 566 (rural)

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