Compliments, Comments, Suggestions and Complaints

To compliment, comment, complain, suggest? Should I? What if the staff take it out on Dad? Will the staff be offended? Will anything be done? Will they not like me or see me as “just a complainer”? or see Dad as “demanding”?

These are some of the concerns people have when trying to be their friend’s/family member’s advocate, wanting to let the staff know things are not as great as they could be, or wanting to thank them for doing a great job, or just making a comment or suggestion where they have seen something working well elsewhere.

If any of the above applies to you, the best action to take is to talk to the senior staff member on the shift about any issue you may have. Make a time so the staff member is not in the middle of administering medications or some other care activity, so your concern or issue can be given the time and attention warranted. Resolution at the provider level, that is, with Prom Country Aged Care Inc. (PCAC) can deliver a faster and more sustainable outcome. You can also arrange to have an advocate with you to support you at meetings with us. If it cannot be resolved at that initial face-to-face level, we, as do most residential aged care services, have a system in place where you are able write your compliment, comment, complaint, or suggestion and it will be actioned by a more senior staff member. You are encouraged to document your concerns so they can be followed up. All of these are reviewed by the CEO. On the form is a section for completion if you want direct feedback from the follow up.

PCAC takes all such issues raised very seriously. We want to ensure our residents receive the best available care and that their families/friends are heard when they also have something to say.

We have bi-monthly resident/relative meetings at both sites where you can also be heard. We rotate the meeting days and times to enable all to come to at least one meeting every now and then.

If you feel you are still not being heard there is another avenue available.

Aged Care Complaints Scheme

The Department of Health and Ageing has revised its complaints system and the previously known Aged Care Complaints Investigation Scheme is now called the Aged Care Complaints Scheme.

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme is available to anyone who has a complaint or concern about an Australian Government-subsidised aged care service (residential and community care).

Do you have a concern or want to make a complaint?

As an approved aged care provider PCAC does its best to provide quality care and services for our residents. However, issues may occur so it is important to have a way for people to raise their concerns in a constructive and safe way. 

If you have a concern about the care you or someone else is receiving, it is important that you talk about it. Complaints can help us improve the services and quality of care we provide to you or your loved one. This can also mean one such comment or complaint may help others as well.

Lodging a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Scheme

If you don’t want to discuss your concern with PCAC or you are unable to resolve your issue with us, you can contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) on 1800 550 552. You can also lodge a complaint online.

What can you complain about?

The Scheme provides a free service for people to raise their concerns about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving residential or community aged care services which are subsidised by the Australian Government. The issues which may be raised include quality of care, choice of activities, personal care, catering, communication and the physical environment. 

Complaints which fall outside of the scope of the Scheme can be referred to the appropriate agency. If you lodge a complaint with the Scheme and they cannot help you, they tell you why and who you can contact.

Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint, including:

  • care recipients
  • their representatives
  • family members
  • friends
  • legal representatives
  • aged care staff
  • volunteers
  • health professionals.

What types of services are covered by the Scheme?

The Scheme examines complaints about the following Australian Government subsidised aged care services:

  • residential aged care (such as Prom View Lodge and Banksia Lodge)
  • community aged care packages (CACP)
  • extended aged care at home pages (EACH)
  • extended aged care at home – dementia packages (EACHD).

What happens after a complaint is lodged?

Once a complaint is lodge with the Scheme, the process and actions to be taken are explained. You may be asked to clarify your issues, provide acceptable evidence and discuss your expectations. It is important that as much information as possible when lodging a complaint. This helps all the issues and concerns to be better understood and options for resolution maximised.

The Complaints Principles 2011 made under the Aged Care Act 1997 contain detailed procedures regarding the operation of the scheme. 

Review of a decision or process

If you are not satisfied with the Scheme’s decision or how the Scheme handled your complaint, you can contact the Aged Care Commissioner to ask for a free review. The Aged Care Commissioner is independent to the Scheme.

Phone 1800 500 294 (a free call from fixed lines; calls from mobile phones may be charged)
Fax (03) 9663 7369

Aged Care Advocacy

You may want to talk to someone independently about your concerns and options before speaking with the Scheme or, you may feel uncomfortable speaking to the staff at PCAC on your own; if so, advocacy may be able to help you.

An advocate can:

  • provide you with information about your rights and responsibilities
  • help you resolve your problem with PCAC, including speaking for you if you wish
  • listen to your concerns about the complaints process.

Advocacy services are free, confidential and independent. Services are available in each state and territory.

You can call Aged Care Advocacy directly on 1800 700 600 or with your permission the Scheme may phone an advocacy service on your behalf to explain your concerns and arrange for the service to contact you. To learn more about what advocacy is and what advocacy agencies do, visit the Advocacy Services for Older People website.

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme News website is a useful website for the most current information about the Scheme.

Printed products and reports

The Department of Health and Ageing offers printed products and reports. These can be ordered online at

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further information about this or any other aspect of residential aged care and our services; … and do remember, as I have said in previous columns, moving into an aged care residential service is not a death sentence; it is just a change of address.