Legal Advice Referrals

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Legal Advice Referrals

ALARM seeks to close the gap between those who have suffered harm in residential aged care and the Australian justice system. It does so by assisting victims to access its partnered law firms and their services.

We endeavour to ensure that residential aged care homes are held responsible for breaches of law and to ensure that victims receive the legal redress they deserve.

 

Connecting Complainants to Allied Law Firms To Reduce Substandard Aged Care

 

Substandard Aged Care

The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety found unacceptable levels of substandard care in Australia’s aged care system, particularly in residential aged care. Commissioner Briggs found that at least 1 in 3 people accessing residential aged care and home care services have experienced substandard care. The many recommendations made to overhaul the system include that the voices of people receiving care must be a priority to
ensure that the system is fixed.

To break the cycle of substandard care the victims of that substandard care and their loved ones need to speak up and, where appropriate, seek legal recourse against those perpetuating unacceptable, substandard care.

Victims often don’t speak up for many reasons including that the aged care resident (and their loved ones):

  • are uncomfortable raising a complaint as the resident is fully reliant on the aged care home for all of their care;
  • don’t want to be a problem or exasperate the matter further;
  • have insufficient knowledge of their rights;
  • do not know who to contact to initiate an inquiry;
  • are isolated in the aged care home and are unable to access help;
  • do not think they have sufficient finances to seek legal advice.

The time has come to improve Australia’s aged care system. Part of that involves those in aged care and their family and friends, speaking up and taking action. It will not only make the system better for the individual, it will help break the cycle of entrenched, inadequate care, and hopefully create a better system for the next generation.

 

ALARM’S Role

ALARM is a not for profit organisation, with charitable status, that supports the comprehensive reform of Australia’s aged care system, including ensuring that aged care residents and their loved ones have a voice and can pursue their rights.

If you are concerned about your treatment, or the treatment of a loved one, contact ALARM at www.alarm.org.au or (03) 9016 3248, and we will arrange access to a suitably experienced lawyer.

ALARM will:

  • make it easy to access help – if you have a phone or a computer you can contact us;
  • connect you to lawyers who not only understand the legal issues that are involved but also understand the emotional support needed because they are experienced in elder law;
  • seek to connect you with appropriate assistance regardless of your financial situation;
  • educate you, and the community, about the rights of aged care residents;
  • be there to discuss further options if you have problems in seeking redress.

 

ALARM’s Panel of Legal Firms

ALARM’s associated legal firms are required to offer a first consultation to an aged-care complainant at no charge.

Complainants referred by ALARM are required to be assessed by the firm to determine whether they qualify for pro bono relief. The test is: Can the person afford a lawyer? If the complainant does not qualify for pro bono services, commercial arrangements should first be agreed if the complainant wishes to proceed as a client of the firm.

If the complainant does qualify for pro bono services, the firm should offer to provide such services and enter into a solicitor-client relationship, unless the firm does not have capacity to provide same. In that case the matter should be referred back to ALARM to seek to identify alternative, and appropriate, pro bono legal services.

 

ALARM’s Request of People Referring Matters to Us

We understand that this is a difficult time for complainants; and that they might not want to discuss their matters in detail with us for various reasons, eg, confidentiality, “referral fatigue”, or the sensitive nature of their concerns.

However, we do ask you to contact us immediately if you are not happy with the law firm we refer you to and we will identify another firm to assist.