Complaining about care

This page covers:

  • The importance of talking about concerns with care providers,
  • Examples of problems and how they were resolved.

Most people we spoke to were pleased with the quality of care they were paying for, whether this was care at home, day centres or care homes. There could be teething problems when care was first arranged but these were often ironed out over time. However, sometimes people felt that the care they or their loved ones were getting could be improved. People told us about times when they had complained about care or perhaps just suggested to care providers some ways to improve the care they were giving.

Getting the best from care providers

People told us how much they rely on care providers to look after their loved ones and keep them safe and happy. Family and friends try to make sure people are getting the care they need by discussing this with their care providers.

Sally says that good two-way communication is key to getting the best care.

Age at interview 66

Gender Female

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Unfortunately, things did not always go smoothly. Some people said they worried for others who perhaps did not have anyone to look out for them.

Deryck says it is unfair that people are dependent on family to get things done.

Age at interview 71

Gender Male

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Local councils and some charities can help find advocates. An advocate is a spokesperson who can help someone through the process of getting and receiving care, including making a complaint. Local Carers Centres might also be able to help. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) website explains how to make a complaint and the different steps to take.

Problems with care at home

People who were managing care at home said that the timing of visits was the most difficult thing to get right. A few people told us about more serious problems and how they resolved them by changing care agencies or care workers.

Tracey refused to have a care worker visit her parents again after a mix-up with medication.

Age at interview 59

Gender Female

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Problems in care homes

People told us the best way to find out about the quality of care in a care home is to visit. They said it is really helpful to be present sometimes when care is being provided, for example at mealtimes or when someone is being helped to get from one room to another. Some people said that considering how expensive care home fees are, they felt that the quality of the service provided was below what they expected.

June’s daughter complained to the manager of the care home about her father’s care.

Gender Female

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Sarah’s parents usually had care in their own home but Sarah arranged for them to have a short stay in a care home when she went on holiday. The care home could not cope with their challenging behaviour. Sarah said she learnt from this experience that in the future she needs to look carefully at what type of care is available as her parents would need a care home that offered nursing and dementia care.

Sarah complained to the local ombudsman about the standard of care and was awarded a part refund of fees.

Age at interview 55

Gender Female

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Sometimes, families were unhappy about their dealings with the management of the care home, even though the care itself was good.

Andrew and his sisters are happy with the quality of care but have had disputes with the management.

Age at interview 58

Gender Male

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Moving care homes

This page covers: Reasons why people may move to another care home Care home costs and how long they can be afforded Balancing the benefits...

Ways to pay for care

This page covers: Using allowances and pensions, Buying a guaranteed income for life to pay for care, Options for using the value of property. Paying...