Duty of care is the moral or legal obligation to provide care for others. In care homes, elderly people are reliant on their caregivers to provide a high standard of care for them. However, there are copious reports of issues with aged care facilities, like medical neglect and emotional abuse for example. A report by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency found that in 2015, 93 NSW nursing homes had failed to meet accreditation standards over the previous three years. This shows that nursing homes are failing to get the right accreditations and qualifications to provide a reliable level of care to their residents. This blog will explain the required duty of care standard in aged care. 

What does duty of care mean in aged care homes? 

There are basic standards of care in aged care homes. These are:

  • Consumer dignity and choice.
  • Ongoing assessment and planning. 
  • Personal care and clinical care.
  • Services and supports for daily living.
  • Organisation’s service environment.
  • Feedback and complaints.
  • Human resources. 
  • Organisational governance.

[Source: Aged Care Quality Standards | My Aged Care]

This means that even negligence is against the duty of care in an aged care home. Negligence brings a variety of issues, like leaving restraints on for too long, not providing enough water, or the aged person not being able to move around enough. 

What are common aged care complaints?

There are common complaints that regularly stem from aged care facilities. Aged care negligence is obviously an important issue that should not be overlooked or ignored by family members. Common signs include: 

  • How staff interact with residents. 
  • How residents interact with certain staff. 
  • Bedsores that indicate a resident isn’t being moved properly.
  • Dehydration
  • A lack of change of hygiene in a resident. 
  • Abnormal changes in a resident’s behaviour. 

How do you prove that duty of care standards were not met? 

Residents of the care home may not be able to give evidence, however, there are ways that the families of the person in care can. Images, photos, and videos from CCTV can all support your case against the care home. Plus, medical records can be used to support your claim too. Care homes are required by law to keep all records of clinical care provided, so if you think a family member in aged care is being neglected, you can ask to see these records. The claim would need to be made within three years of any incidents occurring. 

What sort of compensation can you receive?

There is a range of compensation options available, like damages for out of pocket expenses, pain, and suffering. Dependent on the case, damages payable can be for assault or mental harm. Most cases will be settled via negotiation, and conducting a claim prior to legal proceedings being commenced often works best.