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Resident Rights and Responsibilities in Residential Aged Care Homes (Nursing Homes and Hostels) in Australia

The Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act) includes provisions that set out the key rights and responsibilities of residents in aged care homes. These rights and responsibilities are the same for everyone, regardless of which aged care home you may be in.

Section 96.1 of the Act provides that the Minister may make "Principles" regarding a number of listed matters. Item 23 in the list relates to User Rights. The User Rights Principles were made on 23 June 2014 and in addition to several specific provisions they incorporate the rights and responsibilities set out in an annexure called the Charter of Care Recipients' Rights and Responsibilities – Residential Care, which are as follows:

Each care recipient has the following rights:

  • to full and effective use of his or her personal, civil, legal and consumer rights;
  • to quality care appropriate to his or her needs;
  • to full information about his or her own state of health and about available treatments;
  • to be treated with dignity and respect, and to live without exploitation, abuse or neglect;
  • to live without discrimination or victimisation, and without being obliged to feel grateful to those providing his or her care and accommodation;
  • to personal privacy;
  • to live in a safe, secure and homelike environment, and to move freely both within and outside the residential care service without undue restriction;
  • to be treated and accepted as an individual, and to have his or her individual preferences taken into account and treated with respect;
  • to continue his or her cultural and religious practices, and to keep the language of his or her choice, without discrimination;
  • to select and maintain social and personal relationships with anyone else without fear, criticism or restriction;
  • to freedom of speech;
  • to maintain his or her personal independence;
  • to accept personal responsibility for his or her own actions and choices, even though these may involve an element of risk, because the care recipient has the right to accept the risk and not to have the risk used as a ground for preventing or restricting his or her actions and choices;
  • to maintain control over, and to continue making decisions about, the personal aspects of his or her daily life, financial affairs and possessions;
  • to be involved in the activities, associations and friendships of his or her choice, both within and outside the residential care service;
  • to have access to services and activities available generally in the community;
  • to be consulted on, and to choose to have input into, decisions about the living arrangements of the residential care service;
  • to have access to information about his or her rights, care, accommodation and any other information that relates to the care recipient personally;
  • to complain and to take action to resolve disputes;
  • to have access to advocates and other avenues of redress;
  • to be free from reprisal, or a well-founded fear of reprisal, in any form for taking action to enforce his or her rights.

Each care recipient has the following responsibilities:

  • to respect the rights and needs of other people within the residential care service, and to respect the needs of the residential care service community as a whole;
  • to respect the rights of staff to work in an environment free from harassment;
  • to care for his or her own health and well-being, as far as he or she is capable;
  • to inform his or her medical practitioner, as far as he or she is able, about his or her relevant medical history and current state of health.

More Information?

This Aged Care Guide comprises the following pages:

  1. Overview

  2. Eligibility and Assessment

  3. Fees and Charges

  4. Accreditation Standards and Compliance

  5. Resident Rights and Responsibilities

  6. Residential Respite Care

  7. Advocacy and Complaint Resolution

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