You have a right to receive quality care at a standard that meets your needs. For most people, the care they receive will be just right. But if you or someone you love isn’t happy, there are things you can do to get it sorted.


Start by letting your care provider know you’re unhappy. This could be an informal conversation, or care providers should have a formal complaints procedure for you to tell them about your concerns. It’s a good idea to flag a problem if:

  • You’ve been given poor, inaccurate or confusing information about the service
  • You or your family haven’t been treated fairly
  • The quality of care is poor, and if you’re in a care home, the quality of the other services
  • Their complaints procedure is difficult to follow

Sadly, there are no guidelines that limit how much the cost of care services can go up by. So, while a complaint isn’t likely to help if prices go up, you should be given notice to give you time to find another service.

If your complaint to your care provider doesn’t get resolved, you can ask the Care Ombudsman for your country to step in and look into it. You have this option whether you’re paying for your own care or the local authority pays for you.

The things the Ombudsman can investigate include:

  • flaws in policies or decision making
  • poor administrative practice
  • failure to follow statutory guidelines (laws and regulations)
  • failing to consider properly the exceptional circumstances of an individual
  • not properly considering statutory powers or duties
  • failing to give an adequate service

If you’re worried about the quality of care you’ve received, you can also report your care provider to their regulator. They can’t look into your specific complaint, but they can record it and any other complaints they receive, which could trigger an inspection.

If you’re worried that you or someone receiving care is being treated badly, don’t ignore it. You can help by reporting your concerns to the Adult Social Care safeguarding team at your local authority. Or you can call Hourglass on their confidential helpline 0808 808 8141.

Abuse comes in lots of different forms, so it’s important that you know what to look out for.

  • Physical abuse – Includes assault, hitting, pushing, misuse of restraint or sedatives
  • Emotional abuse – Includes humiliation, harassment, verbal abuse, limiting access to support
  • Financial abuse – Includes having money or property stolen, being defrauded or ‘scammed’
  • Sexual abuse – Includes inappropriate touching and indecent exposure
  • Neglect – Includes ignoring medical, emotional or physical care needs

Find out more about how to protect older people from abuse

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