Care for Veterans, formerly The Queen Alexandra Hospital Home, believes that a resident who wishes to make a complaint or register a concern should find it easy to do so. It is the Home’s policy to welcome complaints and look upon them as an opportunity to learn, adapt, improve and provide better services. Care for Veterans ensures that complaints are dealt with promptly and that all complaints or comments by residents and their relatives and carers are taken seriously.
It is not Care for Veterans’ policy to apportion blame, consider the possibility of negligence or to provide compensation.
Care for Veterans believes that complaints, if dealt with promptly, openly and honestly, can be sorted at a local level between the complainant and the Home. If this fails, due to either Care for Veterans or the complainant being dissatisfied with the result, the complainant may be referred to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and legal advice will be taken as necessary.
Care for Veterans adheres fully to CQC’s Fundamental Standards.
Aim of the Policy
It is the aim of Care for Veterans to ensure that its complaints procedure is properly and effectively implemented and that residents feel confident that their complaints and worries will be listened to and acted upon fairly and in a timely fashion.
The goals of Care for Veterans are to ensure the following:
- Residents, their representatives and carers are aware of how to make a complaint.
- A named person will be responsible for the administration of the procedure.
- Every written complaint will be acknowledged within two working days.
- Investigations into written complaints will be held within 28 days.
- All complaints will be dealt with promptly, fairly and sensitively with due regard to the upset and worry that they can cause to both staff and residents.
The person with responsibility for following through complaints for Care for Veterans is the Registered Manager with the assistance of a Senior Registered Nurse.
Care for Veterans believes that, wherever possible, complaints are best dealt with on a local level between the complainant and the Home.
- All verbal complaints, no matter how seemingly unimportant, will be taken seriously.
- Font-line care staff who receive a verbal complaint will seek to solve the problem immediately.
- If staff cannot solve the problem immediately they will offer to contact the Senior Registered Nurse on duty/call.
- All contact with the complainant must be polite, courteous and sympathetic. There is nothing to be gained by staff adopting a defensive or aggressive attitude.
- At all times staff must remain calm and respectful.
- Staff must not accept blame, make excuses or blame other staff.
- If the complaint is being made on behalf of a resident by an advocate, it must first be verified that the person has permission to speak for the resident, especially if confidential information is involved. It is very easy to assume that the advocate has the right or power to act for the resident when they may not. If in doubt, it is to be assumed that the resident’s explicit permission is needed prior to discussing the complaint with the advocate.
- After discussion, Care for Veterans’ Registered Manager or the member of staff dealing with the complaint may be able to suggest a course of action to resolve the complaint. If this course of action is acceptable, the member of staff will clarify the agreement with the complainant and agree a way in which the results of the complaint will be communicated to the complainant (i.e. by a meeting or a letter).
- If the suggested plan of action is not acceptable to the complainant, the member of staff or Care for Veterans’ Registered Manager will ask the complainant to put their complaint in writing and provide them with a copy of the Home’s complaints procedure.
- In all cases, details of the complaints are held on file.
- Should a complaint be received in writing, it is to be given to the Registered Manager or in their absence a Senior Registered Nurse, who will make a record in a designated complaints folder. It will be acknowledged in writing for immediate investigation by the Registered Manager. The Senior Registered Nurse will usually be the named person who investigates the complaint and will report directly to the Registered Manager.
- If necessary, further details will be obtained from the complainant. If the complaint is not made by the resident but on the resident’s behalf, then the consent of the resident, preferably in writing, must be obtained.
- A copy of Care for Veterans’ complaints policy will be supplied.
- If the complaint raises potentially serious matters, advice will be sought from Care for Veterans’ legal advisor. If legal action is taken at this stage, any investigation by the Home under the complaints procedure will cease immediately.
- Complainants will be advised of their right to contact the Care Quality Commission.
Investigation of the Complaint by Care for Veterans
- Immediately on receipt of the complaint, Care for Veterans will launch an investigation and within 28 days the Home will generally be in a position to provide a full explanation to the complainant, either in writing or by arranging a meeting with the individuals concerned.
- If the issues are too complex to complete the investigation within 28 days, the complainant will be informed of any delays.
- If a meeting is arranged, the complainant will be advised that they may if they wish, be supported by a friend, relative or representative, such as an advocate.
- At the meeting, a detailed explanation of the results of the investigation will be given and also an apology if deemed appropriate (apologising for what happened need not be an admission of liability).
- Such meetings give Care for Veterans the opportunity to show the complainant that the matter has been taken seriously and has been thoroughly investigated.
Follow up Action
- After the meeting, or if the complainant does not want a meeting, a written account of the investigation will be sent to the complainant.
- The outcomes of the investigation and the meeting will be recorded in the complaints folder and any shortcomings found in Care for Veterans procedures will be identified and acted upon.
- Any incidents of complaints are bought to the attention of the Board at their quarterly meetings by the Senior Management Team.
All new staff are encouraged to read this policy as part of their induction process.
Date issued: October 2009