Morris Care Complaints Procedure

COMPLAINTS INCLUDING DUTY OF CANDOUR

Definition of a Complaint

A complaint may be made verbally, in writing or electronically.  It is an expression of dissatisfaction, however made, about the standard of service, actions or lack of action by the organisation or its staff affecting an individual. 

 
Duty of Candour 

Acting with openness, transparency and candour, enabling concerns and complaints to be raised freely without fear and answers given to questions raised; allowing information about the truth about performance and outcomes to be shared with residents, staff, the public and regulators; any resident harmed by the provision of care is informed of the fact and an appropriate remedy offered, regardless of whether a complaint has been made or a question asked about it. 
 
Policy 

Morris Care encourages a culture of openness and transparency when caring for those who use our services. It recognises that complaints are a valuable tool for improving the services provided to residents and their relatives and intends to ensure that complaints are dealt with effectively and efficiently by responding promptly and positively to the complainant.   
 
If a person using the services wishes to make a complaint or register a concern, they should find it easy to do so and will be treated with respect and courtesy.  Assistance will be given to enable them to understand the procedure in relation to complaints or if necessary advice on where they may obtain such assistance.  Complainants will not be discriminated against or refused services they would normally receive.  A Complaints Policy Statement Poster (QA.APPENDEX.21) will be displayed in a prominent position to ensure that people know how to make a complaint. 
 
It is accepted that many complaints will be made informally and can be dealt with informally however ALL complaints and concerns should be taken seriously and must be recorded.  More serious complaints will be properly investigated and recorded with the outcomes stated. 
 
Morris Care will also ensure that any resident related incidents that may occur are formally recorded and details are reported to the resident/advocate as soon as reasonably practicable after becoming aware that a notifiable safety incident has occurred.  
 
See also H&S.PRO.2.01 – Adverse Event Reporting  

All staff are responsible for ensuring they are familiar with the Complaints Procedure and know how to access it. 
 
Verbal Complaints 
 
1. When a verbal complaint is made to staff they must make every effort to put things right immediately if this is possible.  Efforts to rectify the situation should be recorded on the complaints form QA.REC.21, referenced accordingly and should be clearly signed and dated.  If the complainant is satisfied with the response there will be no need to take further action other than passing the complaints form to the Manager. 
 
2. All contact with the complainant should be polite, courteous and sympathetic and staff should remain calm and respectful. Staff should not make excuses, blame other staff or the Company. 
 
3. If the complaint is being made on behalf of the residents by an advocate, it must first be verified that the person has permission to speak on behalf of the resident, especially if confidential information is involved.   
 
4. If the problem is one that cannot be resolved by the staff member in question, the complaint should be reported verbally to the Nurse in Charge who in turn will attempt to rectify the situation to the satisfaction of the complainant.  If this is not possible the details of the complaint should be given to the Manager for action. 
 
Minor Complaints 
 
5. All minor complaints, with actions taken if appropriate, must be recorded in the “Minor Complaints Register” located in the Administration Office. 
 
6. The Manager will check the register every day and will be mindful of any trends that may occur.  
 
Written Complaints 
 
7. Anyone who wishes to make a written complaint should be directed to the notices displayed and the Residents’ Welcome Pack which gives names and addresses for complainants to use. If the complaint is from a funded resident e.g. Continuing Health Care (CHC), it is important that they have access to the NHS complaint procedure. 
 
8. All written complaints received within the Home should be acknowledged within 5 days, using the standard holding letter sent by the Manager (QA.TEMPLATE.21) which outlines the timescale for responding, explaining that the complainant has the right at any stage to pursue the matter with the CQC. 
 
9. The Manager conducts the investigation with the assistance of a senior manager if needed. 
 
10. If the complaint is about the Manager it will be investigated at Head Office. 

Complaints received at Head Office
 
11. A complaint received directly at Head Office will be passed to the Chief Operating Officer who will acknowledge the complaint immediately and will offer the complainant the opportunity to discuss their concerns either by telephone or face-to-face. 
 
12. A copy of the complaint will be forwarded to the Manager in the Home specified so that an internal investigation can be carried out. 
 
Investigating a Complaint 
 
13. The Manager will investigate the complaint immediately and take any statements they feel necessary using H&S.REC.2.01d.   

14. Complaints will be dealt with confidentially and only those who have a need to know will be informed about the complaint or the investigation. 
 
15. It is essential that all investigations are conducted in a manner that is supportive to those involved and take place in a blame-free atmosphere.  Anyone identified as the subject of a complaint should be provided with a full account of the reason for the investigation, allowed sufficient opportunity to put their case and are kept informed of progress.  It may be necessary to commence the Company’s Disciplinary Procedure, see PER.PRO.23. 
 
16. Advice and advocacy support will be made available to those who wish or need such support. 
 
17. The investigation will be completed within 28 days unless there are exceptional circumstances, which will be explained to the complainant. 
 
18. If the complaint is regarding a potential safeguarding issue, deprivation of liberty or an accusation of abuse, refer to the following procedures: 

  • NU.PRO.3.01 – Safeguarding of people with care and support needs
  • NU.PRO.4.03 – Deprivation of Liberty
  • The Multi Agency Adult Protection Policy.    

19. All communication will be aimed at satisfying the complainant that: 

  • the issues have been fairly and fully investigated;
  • they receive a positive and full response;  
  • they are satisfied their concerns have been listened to;
  • they are offered a suitably worded apology where things have gone wrong;  
  • any action to be taken to prevent a recurrence are referred to;
  • details of how to take the complaint to the next stage if the complainant is not satisfied with the outcome eg the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman. Any letters, other than the standard holding letter must be agreed by the Chief Operating Officer before issue. 

Record Keeping 
 
20. All information relevant to the investigation of the complaint will be recorded on the Complaint Log QA.REC.21a and kept in the complaint file, which must remain on site for easy access.   
 
21. A record of each complaint received should include the following information:

  • Complaint form QA.REC.21
  • Copy of correspondence received  
  • Copy of holding letter QA.TEMPLATE.21
  • Copy of any statements and investigation notes
  • Copy of letter to complainant detailing result of investigation  

Persistent complainants 
 
22. Despite best efforts to rectify complaints there will be at times those individuals, for whatever reason, who will not be satisfied with the service that Morris Care provides.  In these circumstances the following practice should be put in place.  It is important to explain to the complainant why these restrictions have been put in place and to keep a detailed record of the ongoing relationship: 

  • Make sure contact is overseen by the Manager.
  • Provide a single point of contact with an appropriate member of staff and make it clear to the complainant that other members of staff will be unable to help them.
  • Place a time limit on any contact with the complainant and restrict the number of calls or meetings you will have with them during a set period.
  • Always ensure that any contact is witnessed.
  • Record repeated complaints on the complaints form QA.REC.21 and keep together so that a picture can be established.
  • Only acknowledge correspondence received about a matter that has already been closed.  Do not repeatedly answer the same questions.
  • Explain that you will not respond to correspondence that is abusive.
  • Consider seeking assistance from a third party such as a specialist advocate.
  • Should the situation escalate, request assistance from the Chief Operating Officer. 

Quality Monitoring 
 
23. As part of Morris Care’s commitment to best practice all complaints will be reviewed on a monthly basis by the Manager. 
 
24. The review will identify any issues, trends and areas of non-compliance which will need to be addressed.   
 
25. Each Manager is responsible for producing a summary of complaints which will be available during any inspection