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Residential care and nursing home standards and how to complain

Residential care and nursing homes are overseen by the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA), which is responsible for monitoring the standards of private, voluntary and Trust homes.

Minimum standards

The RQIA inspects all registered homes to make sure they meet Minimum Standards, which are set by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS). To provide assurance that these standards are met,the RQIA inspects each home a minimum of two times per year to assess the:

Problems with your residential care or nursing home

Most people have a positive experience of homes but sometimes problems can occur and you may want to make a complaint. You could ask a friend or relative, a voluntary organisation or a charity to help you make your complaint. You could also contact the Patient and Client Council who can provide free, confidential information and advice and help you make a complaint.

Raising a concern can help improve the quality of residential care or nursing home services.

Many problems can be cleared up by having an informal chat with a member of staff or the manager of the home.

Formal complaints

If you're not satisfied that the matter has been cleared up after an informal chat, you may want to make a formal complaint to your residential care or nursing home. All registered care service providers must have a complaints procedure, which should have been clearly explained to you when you moved in. It must set out how service users or those acting on their behalf can complain about the service.

Your complaint should be raised with the manager of the home (registered provider) or with the Trust that has placed you there. If your placement has been arranged by the Trust, you may complain directly to the Trust from the start.

You don't have to tell your residential care or nursing home that you have complained to the Trust, but a full investigation might be difficult without them knowing.

If you are not happy with the response you receive, you can refer your complaint to the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints (the Ombudsman)

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority

The Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority (RQIA) will monitor how complaints about regulated services, including residential care and nursing homes, are handled.