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New charter strengthens consumer rights framework


The government has launched the new single charter of rights, which providers will need to sign and give to every aged care recipient in their service.

The Charter of Aged Care Rights, which is part of the Single Aged Care Quality Framework, replaces the four current charters relating to care recipients’ rights and responsibilities and applies to all recipients of government-subsidised aged care services.

The single charter of rights takes affect from 1 July, however residential aged care services and home care providers have three and six months respectively after that date to provide the signed charter to care recipients.

Consumer peak COTA Australia has raised concerns about this implementation timeline (read that story here).

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt said providers will for the first time have to provide a personally signed copy of the charter to every care recipient and give them or their authorised representative the opportunity to co-sign the document.

Ken Wyatt

“The co-signing makes providers’ commitments and obligations under the charter clear to clients, and ensures that clients are aware of their rights,” said Mr Wyatt who announced the new charter on Saturday.

The review of aged care regulation led by Kate Carnell and Professor Ron Paterson found awareness of the existing charters of consumers’ rights were low and recommended the rights of consumers and their representatives be given more prominence (read more here).

The new charter was developed following consultation in 2018 that received more than 550 public submissions including from aged care providers, staff and peak organisations (48 per cent) and aged care recipients, their families and carers (40 per cent).

It is written in plain English and focuses on high-level consumer rights, covering 14 fundamental protections including safe and quality care, independence, information, personal privacy, control, fairness and choice.

The charter underpins the new aged care quality standards, which are also coming into force on 1 July.

“Being treated with dignity and living without abuse and neglect are among the top tiers of the new charter,” Mr Wyatt said.

Residential aged care services have until 30 September 2019 to provide the signed charter to their residents while home care providers have until 31 December 2019.

The charter includes 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.

Information on the new charter is available here and a charter template for signing is available here.

Related coverage

Call to speed up implementation of charter of rights

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6 Responses to New charter strengthens consumer rights framework

  1. Tony Schumacher-Jones March 26, 2019 at 1:17 pm #

    Great! A new Charter of Aged Care Rights. Because Charters of Rights – human rights, aged care rights – have clearly been so ineffective in the past at protecting vulnerable people (or else we would not be having a Royal Commission), so what we clearly need is ….wait for it….a Charter of Rights.

    Some clearly has a rather dark sense of humour.

  2. Anton Hutchinson March 27, 2019 at 8:29 am #

    The new Charter of Rights is seriously missing an important part… RESPONSIBILITIES of residents upon residents has obviously been deleted and this will cause havoc. There now will be no recourse if one resident starts yelling out every night or pulling others out of their beds. Zero responsibility.
    The current charter has been super effective in 99.9% of cases and I’m confident that the few that do the wrong thing won’t be deterred by a new piece of paper.

  3. Tony Schumacher-Jones March 29, 2019 at 2:44 pm #

    Anton, agreed. In our rush to embrace the idea of ‘I have a right” we have jettisoned any concept of ‘I have a duty’.

  4. Robert Russo April 15, 2019 at 2:59 pm #

    As long as the new Charter is taken seriously! Often managers and hierarchy, and the Assessors are more worried about complaints from families and showing them the Charter when they are trying to override the decision making of their loved one (who is fully able to make their own decisions) is like a red rag to a bull. Some of these difficult families think that they have all the rights. Aged care just becomes like child care unless this document is taken seriously and enforced with the families, without fear of reprisal, as many will just make complaints to the Complaints Unit of the government due to not getting their own way, providers are found to be in the Right, but get bogged down in the complaints process proving it. I got out of Aged Care Management, like many others, due to these factors.

  5. Ilona V April 19, 2019 at 10:37 pm #

    Responsibility must be included in a new Charter to ensure others care recipients rights and a workforce safety when there’s an increasing number of incidents of occupational violence and aggression, especially in psycho geriatric homes or where younger care recipients with drugs or alcohol addictions.

  6. Muriel Masters April 23, 2019 at 10:36 pm #

    Totally agree with you Ilona V.. Current Charter is quite outdated and includes a very small section on resident responsibilities. I personally believe it should also include the responsibilities of family members/guests etc when visiting premises due to the reasons you have mentioned.

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