There are well over 20,000 care homes across the UK. While the majority of residents are happy and fulfilled in the homes they live in and are satisfied with the care they receive, accidents, errors and misunderstandings can always happen. It could be a specific incident, a general complaint about service or a problem with a member of staff. Whatever the case may be, should a resident or their representatives have a complaint, then they have a right to have it investigated and receive a prompt and detailed reply.
So, every care home must have clear, easily-accessed and effective complaints procedures in place should issues arise. There are regulations that need to be adhered to – and while each nation of the UK has its own regulations and guidance in place, there are also fundamental UK-wide principles of consumer law which underpin the regulatory systems of each nation. Care home owners, managers and staff need to understand these regulations and know how to handle complaints in the right way.
Business Companion, a free online resource provided by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) has published a suite of materials covering the subject of complaints handling.
The guidance discusses all the general key principles of how complaints should be dealt with, from the initial issue being raised through investigation to reporting back once the outcome is known. The materials also explain the rights and principles set out in consumer law that apply to complaints and how you must meet the relevant obligations.
There is a detailed section on what your Complaints Handling Procedure (CHP) needs to contain to comply with the law and how you need to provide copies to residents and their families. Owners and managers will also learn when an internal complaint should be escalated to an outside body. Staff training is covered with a great Q&A resource. This will give staff a clear understanding of what to do if they are approached with a complaint.
For further information:
Business Companion covers trading standards law for England, Scotland and Wales. For guidance on the law in Northern Ireland, please see nibusinessinfo.co.uk.