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Problems with a care home

There could be a number of reasons why you might be unhappy with the care home that either you live in or your friend or relative lives in. You may be concerned about things such as cleanliness of the home, the quality of personal care, or staff behaviour. On this page you’ll find:

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 problem hasn’t been resolved by raising it with the care home, then you should contact the relevant Health & Social Care (HSC) Trust.

Step three

If you’re unhappy with the response from the HSC Trust, then you need to approach the Northern Ireland Public Service Ombudsman, who may be able to investigate further.

Can I complain to the RQIA?

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) is the regulator for social care services in Northern Ireland. They register and inspect a wide range of health and social care services. They do not investigate individual complaints against care homes.

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.

Age NI Advice Service

Every year our Advice Service deals with thousands of calls from older people in need. Call us today to make sure that you are receiving all the help and support available to you.

Call freephone 0808 808 7575
Monday - Friday 9am – 5pm 


Last updated: May 05 2020

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