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Aged care rights

We all have rights, no matter where we live or how much assistance we need.

The Charter of Aged Care Rights sets out the rights of all people receiving Government-subsidised aged care services. The Charter applies regardless of the type of care or service.

The Charter aims it easy to outline what quality care looks like and provide expectations about the services supplied by aged care providers. The Charter is a requirement of the Aged Care Act 1997.

Aged Care Rights

As a person using aged care, I have the right to:

  1. safe and high-quality care and services
  2. be treated with dignity and respect
  3. have my identity, culture and diversity valued and supported
  4. live without abuse and neglect
  5. be informed about my care and services in a way I understand
  6. access all information about myself, including information about my rights, care and services
  7. have control over and make choices about my care and personal and social life, including where the choices involve personal risk
  8. have control over, and make decisions about, the personal aspects of my daily life, financial affairs and possessions
  9. my independence
  10. be listened to and understood
  11. have a person of my choice, including an aged care advocate, support me or speak on my behalf
  12. complain free from reprisal and have my complaints dealt with fairly and promptly
  13. personal privacy and to have my personal information protected
  14. exercise my rights without it adversely affecting the way I am treated.

Provider responsibilities

Providers must:

  • comply with the Aged Care Quality Standards
  • help people using aged care understand their rights about the services they receive
  • help people using aged care understand their rights under the Charter
  • make sure people using aged care or their representatives are given a reasonable opportunity to sign the Charter
  • sign and give the person receiving care a copy of the charter (representatives can also receive a copy)
  • keep a record of the Charter given to the person receiving care.

Asking the person using aged care to sign the Charter allows them to acknowledge they have received and understood the Charter. People using aged care don’t have to sign the Charter. They can receive aged care whether they sign it or not.

What are my aged care responsibilities?

Your responsibilities include:

  • Treating staff and other residents with dignity and respect
  • Keeping a safe working environment for staff, that complies with Workplace Health and Safety requirements
  • Paying the agreed fees and informing the service if you can no longer pay that amount. You can contact Seniors Rights Service about options if this is the case.

Read the Charter of Aged Care Rights

Can someone help me to understand my rights?

Your aged care provider is required to help you understand your rights before you begin receiving services.

Your provider is also required to sign the Charter of Aged Care Rights and give you the option of signing it, too. If you don’t sign it, you can still receive care and services. If you do sign the Charter, you acknowledge that you have received it and understand your rights.

If you want to speak with someone other than your provider, you can get independent advice, we call this advocacy. In New South Wales oyu can speak with an advocate about your rights by calling Seniors Rights Service on 02 9281 3600. In other states, call  1800 700 600 or visit the Older Persons Advocacy Network website to find your state’s local advocacy service.

What should I do if I have concerns?

If you are made to feel unsafe or uncomfortable or have a concern about your rights, you should tell someone. This could be your aged care provider, a staff member, a friend, family member, an aged care advocate, or anyone you trust.

If you are concerned about the quality of your or someone else’s care, or believe that 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.

If you are not comfortable talking to your provider, or feel that they haven’t resolved your complaint, give Seniors Rights Service a call. Our advocates listen to your situation and provide independent assistance that is in your best interests.

An advocate is always on your side and will be guided by what you want and need. Importantly, they won’t talk to anyone unless you want them to.

Our aged care advocate can help with:

  • understanding aged care services or fees
  • getting the most from your services
  • guardianship information
  • knowing and understanding your rights
  • speaking with your service provider at your direction
  • resolving concerns or complaints with your aged care provider about the services you receive
  • speaking with your service provider at your direction
  • increasing your skills and knowledge to advocate for yourself
  • concerns that you may not be treated respectfully, fairly, or appropriately.

Making a complaint

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.

Your aged care rights coexist with other rights

It’s important to know that you still have all the same legal rights as every Australian. 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 are in addition to these.

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