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.

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.

Mr S and his wife, who was pregnant at the time, were approached about a birth cohort study. He had seen posters about the study before, but didn’t know too much about it.

Age at interview 35

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.

Lucy has been taking part in a study for 30 years. She hopes that it might spot any health problems that are occurring.

Age at interview 30

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.

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.

The health professionals Ian saw after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) were also running research.

Age at interview 54

Gender Male

Age at diagnosis 51

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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.

Steve hopes that by participating in a birth cohort study, his experiences of a turbulent childhood can be used to improve the health and social care support systems for future generations.

Age at interview 64

Gender Male

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