Aged Care Charter of Rights signals commitment to consumer choice and quality

A disabled senior man in wheelchair indoors playing with a pet dog at home. Copy space.

The Charter of Aged Care Rights, announced this month by Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt AM, was created to simplify and replace four separate charters covering care recipients’ rights and responsibilities.

Applying to all recipients of government-subsidised aged care services, it has been heralded as a signal that abuses heard at the Royal Commission into Aged Care will not be tolerated.

The simple, easy-to-read document lists 14 fundamental rights for aged care consumers, from safe, quality care to independence, information, personal privacy, control, fairness and choice.

Peter Scutt, CEO of Mable said of the announcement:

“We welcome the Charter as an important declaration of the government’s commitment to ensuring safety and fairness in the aged care industry.”

The Charter is intended to build on the existing Aged Care Quality Framework and will be enforced by new laws which require all aged care providers to sign and commit to the protections. The new Charter includes:

“I have the right to:

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

Importantly, providers must also give consumers an opportunity to co-sign the document – a move that’s designed to ensure consumers, their families, carers and representatives have a clear understanding of their rights and what to expect from an aged care service.

As one of its key commitments, the Charter also recognises the importance of consumer choice as a fundamental right of aged care recipients. Scutt said of the inclusion:

“The Mable model is built on the foundation that consumers are the experts in their own lives, and are in the best position to decide what support they need. We see this Charter as a validation of our mission to provide that choice above all else.”

The Charter will come into force on 1 July 2019, giving providers more than three months to inform their customers of their legal rights. Residential and home care providers have until 30 September and 31 December 2019, respectively to implement this important Charter of Aged care Rights into operations.