Ensuring quality aged care for all

14 Dec 2015

Rae Lamb, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner from 1 January 2016

Rae Lamb, Aged Care Complaints Commissioner from 1 January 2016

This week, COTA NT Board members and staff met with Aged Care Commissioner, Rae Lamb, who from 1 January 2016 will be directly responsible for managing complaints about the care and services provided to people receiving Australian Government subsidised aged care in their homes and in aged care facilities. Ms Lamb’s title will become Aged Care Complaints Commissioner.

Ms Lamb will be supported by more than 156 staff working as a national team from multiple sites across the country. “Our vision is for people to trust that making a complaint is worthwhile, that it will lead to resolution for the individual and improve care for others. Our objectives will be to resolve, protect and improve,” Ms Lamb said.

Everyone is entitled to get good quality aged care services. If your care is less than satisfactory, you can – or your family and friends can – and should complain. It’s important to know that you do not have to put up with poor treatment or bad services that contravene your basic human rights. Getting the right care services at home may help delay or prevent you going to hospital or into a care home.

So how do you judge the quality of your care? You can start with your basic human rights which cover issues of dignity, privacy, safety and security, choice and social contact. You should be able to answer ‘yes’ to the following considerations:

  1. Am I being treated with respect?
  2. Am I being listened to and not ignored?
  3. Is there respect for my cultural heritage or religion?
  4. Am I being provided with adequate care as stated in my care plan?
  5. Do I have privacy and respect for my modesty when I am getting dressed and bathing?
  6. Are my personal circumstances treated confidentially and not disclosed to others without my permission?
  7. Is my personal space my own and treated respectfully by care workers?
  8. Can I choose to be alone if I wish to be?
  9. Am I allowed to be intimate with others when I wish to be?
  10. Am I able to keep my letters, documents and personal information private?
  11. Am I able to take phone calls in another room, away from care workers, if I want to?
  12. Am I being physically well-treated?
  13. Do my care workers have enough skill and experience?
  14. Are my care workers using the correct equipment and procedure to move me (e.g. using a hoist)?
  15.  Are my medicines given to me safely and on time?
  16. Are my money, jewellery and other personal possessions kept secure?
  17. Do I get information on the options for my home care?
  18.  Am I getting support to help me make decisions about my home care?
  19.  Am I able to accept or refuse home care services?
  20.  Am I able to make decisions like what to eat and wear?
  21. Do I have a say in what I do during my day and when I do it?
  22. Am I able to maintain relationships with family and friends?
  23. Am I able to participate in my community?
  24. Can I vote in elections if I want to?

If you are unhappy with the care you receive or the way you have been treated or with a particular staff member, making a complaint is an essential step to make towards resolving your problem. It may seem daunting, but it will make aged care services better for you and for everyone.

Ms Lamb said, “We want to work with care recipients and their families and service providers to acknowledge and resolve complaints and make a positive difference for people receiving aged care. We will take timely action on issues raised through complaints to ensure people receiving aged care are well cared for and protected.  We will work with the aged care community to learn from complaints and act on opportunities to improve aged care.”

If you want assistance or help in making a complaint, call COTA on 8941 1004 or the Aged Care Complaints Commission on 1800 550 552 or visit



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