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Around 264 providers were audited by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission in late 2021.

Watchdog reports increased complaints

Staffing levels, medication management and personal hygiene were the most frequently complained about issues in residential care homes towards the end of last year.

Between October and September 2021, a total of 1,639 complaints were lodged against 550 residential care services across Australia, with the majority based in NSW. 

According to the latest sector quality performance report, this shows a slight increase in complaints compared to the 1,517 recorded in the previous quarter.

The report showed a total of 97 aged care services had failed to meet at least one quality compliance standard in the final 2021 quarter.

The requirement to provide “safe and effective clinical and personal care” was the most common standard unmet by residential providers.

Of the 878 complaints filed against home care services, the most common issues were a lack of consultation and issues around service fees and financial management.

Under the 2019 aged care quality standards, all providers must have their own complaints system in place to solve issues locally.  

Federal opposition leader Anthony Albanese has promised to create a new aged care complaints commissioner if Labor is elected.

Under his plan, more powers would be given to the aged care commission to investigate providers, including establishing a new requirement to report how much funds are spent on food and care.

Shadow aged care spokeswoman Clare O’Neil told SMH that while most providers do the right thing, a new reporting plan would help to weed out “dodgy operators”.

“There are dodgy providers out there who have been allowed to continue shocking practices which hurt residents,” O'Neil said, “such as re-serving uneaten food from one resident, pureed for other residents, as well as delays in medical treatment and overuse of physical restraints and drugs”.

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