06 February 2023

Residents' rights in aged care

9 min read

As one of Australia’s largest residential aged care providers, Estia Health understands the essential role we play in meeting the growing need for older Australians to have access to high quality, safe and affordable residential aged care.

We are committed to continually improving the quality of care and services for our residents. We work cooperatively with government and aged care regulators to implement the ongoing reform program in aged care.

All people receiving Australian Government funded residential care, home care or other aged care services in the community have rights. They have the right to safe and high-quality care that supports their identity, culture and diversity and to have control and make choices about their lives, including where those choices carry a risk.

These rights are protected under the Aged Care Act 1997 and specifically the Charter of Aged Care Rights and the worker code of conduct. The Charter provides the same rights to all older people, regardless of the type of care or service they receive.

The rights and interest of older people receiving Australian Government-funded aged care are also protected by the Code of Conduct that is applicable to all aged care workers.

What is the charter of aged care rights

The Australian Government created the Charter of Aged Care Rights that outlines your right to access quality care while receiving residential care, home care or other aged care services.

They include your right to:

  1. 1. Safe and high-quality care and services
    2. Be treated with dignity and respect
    3. Have your identity, culture and diversity valued and supported
    4. Live without abuse and neglect
    5. Be informed about my care and services in a way you understand
    6. Access all information about you, including information about your rights, care and services
    7. Have control over and make choices about your care, and personal and social life, including where choices involve personal risk
    8. Have control over, and make decisions about, the personal aspects of your daily life, financial affairs and possessions
    9. Your independence
    10. Be listened to and understood
    11. Have a person of your choice, including an aged care advocate, support you or speak on your behalf
    12. Complain free from reprisal, and to have your complaints dealt with fairly and promptly
    13. Personal privacy and to have your personal information protected
    14. Exercise your rights without it adversely affecting the way you are treated
  3. We will help you to understand the Charter by:
  5. • giving you a copy of the Charter signed by the provider

• assisting you to understand the Charter (how this is achieved is up to providers and will depend on the needs of individual consumers)
• ensuring you or your representatives have been given a reasonable opportunity to sign a copy  of the Charter. Even if you choose not to, you can still receive the care and services you have agreed upon
• keeping a record of the Charter we give to you


These rights will also be included in your Residents Agreement, if you are entering an aged care home, or in your Home Care Agreement, if you are receiving home or community care services.

Code of Conduct

When providing care, supports and services to people, I must:

a) act with respect for people’s rights to freedom of expression, self determination and decision making in accordance with applicable laws and conventions; and
b) act in a way that treats people with dignity and respect, and values their diversity; and
c) act with respect for the privacy of people; and
d) provide care, supports and services in a safe and competent manner, with care and skill; and
e) act with integrity, honesty and transparency; and
f) promptly take steps to raise and act on concerns about matters that may impact the quality and safety of care, supports and services; and
g) provide care, supports and services free from:
    i) all forms of violence, discrimination, exploitation, neglect and abuse; and
    ii) sexual misconduct; and
h) take all reasonable steps to prevent and respond to:
    i) all forms of violence, discrimination, exploitation, neglect and abuse; and
    ii) sexual misconduct.

What legislation governs the aged care sector

The aged care sector is regulated by the Aged Care Act 1997. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) functions require the ACQSC to monitor a provider’s conformance with the requirements set out in the legislation and act where there is nonconformance. Other legislation that is also applicable to the community include the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 and State laws regarding confidentiality of medical records and substitute decision makers/guardians.

What are the policies and procedures in aged care?

Policies and procedures in aged care are used to communicate and implement values, responsibilities and standards of a care team.

These policies and values usually lay out the expectations of both staff and clients in the service that an aged care service provides. Linking values and policies puts the resident at the forefront of care, so that aged care groups can uphold care, amenity and facilities requirements for residents.

Estia Health’s Principle and values are:

Creating Happiness
Compassion – we demonstrate care and understanding with empathy

Always Approachable
Responsiveness – we are approachable, we listen and we take action

Taking Responsibility
Accountability – we are responsible and always act with integrity

Embracing Diversity
Respect - we embrace individuality and choice

Growing Together
Collaboration – we positively engage to deliver our purpose

How Policies and Procedures Work Together in Aged Care

In aged care, policies and procedures work together to ensure the proper and efficient care of residents. They are implemented to adhere to legislation and best industry practice while complying with quality standards, and legal and ethical responsibilities.

These policies and procedures should be purposeful and deliberate in the communication between the staff and client while providing ways to measure the success of goals for residents or clients. They can include:
• Customer Service Policies – expectations of staff to provide quality service to clients
• Employee Benefits – expectations of what the organisation can provide staff
• Employee Expectations and Practices – expectations required of staff in a code of conduct or     confidentiality agreement
• Organisational Policies – support from organisation in management of critical events

A good policy is consistently updated and challenged with both staff and client being involved in the process. A policy should have:

• Clearly written rules in simple language (possibly in multiple languages if residents or staff are from differing cultures)
• Be easily accessible for clients and staff
• A consistent, logical framework to promote efficiency and safety

While a policy explains the “why” behind specific actions and decision making, procedures explain the “how” in instructions for specific routines and tasks. Procedures in aged care should clarify the steps that should be taken to assist residents in everyday tasks and management of this care.
Procedures may include:
• Assessing and resolving complaints
• Managing healthcare records and documentation
• Managing patient aggression.

Estia Health remains continually committed to upholding the rights of our residents in every home that we own. Our principles and values give our staff clear tools which they can embody everyday to embody our family code; A family where everyone belongs. With an overarching vision of Trusted Aged care is accessible to all.