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Problems with a care home

If you’re not happy with your or a friend or relative’s care home, there are steps you can take. 

How do I make a complaint?

Step one

The usual first step is to complain to the home manager. You may find that asking for a chance to speak to them informally about your concerns may be enough to resolve the matter, or you could put your concerns into a letter if you prefer. 

Tips for your complaint

  • Be specific about what happened and when – include dates and times or staff names, where possible.
  • Keep copies of any letters or emails you send or receive.
  • Note down when you have had phone calls and meetings about the complaint with the care home. Write down who you spoke to and what they said.
  • It can help to be clear about what you want to be done or what you expect to change as a result of raising the matter.

Step two

If the care home place is being funded by the local council, and the problem hasn’t been resolved by raising it with the care home, then you should contact the local council.

Step three

If you’re unhappy with the response from the local council, then you need to approach the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, who may be able to investigate further.

Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

Get more information about the ombudsman

How do I complain if I am self-funding?

If you are a self-funder and you haven’t been able to resolve the complaint with the care home in the first instance, you’ll need to approach the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman and ask about its independent complaints review service.

Can I complain to the Care Quality Commission?

The Care Quality Commission is the regulator for social care services. They inspect care homes and provide them with ratings.

They do not investigate individual complaints against care homes. However you can contact them to let them know your concerns and to tell them that you are raising a complaint against a care home.

Find out more about the Care Quality Commission

What do I do if the home says my relative is refusing care?

Your relative can refuse care if they don’t want certain things. The care home may say that this is the reason that the care is not the standard that you would expect. 

However, the carer should always note down that your relative refused the care in their daily report sheets. 

Make sure that the home has a record that your relative actually refused the care, and talk to the home about what solutions there could be to help your relative.

What should I do next?

Read more in-depth information on complaining about social care.

Download our factsheet

Your first port of call should always be the care home manager.

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We offer support through our free advice line on 0800 678 1602. Lines are open 8am-7pm, 365 days a year. We also have specialist advisers at over 140 local Age UKs.

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Last updated: Dec 04 2019

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