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Rights of Residents in Institutional Care - Charter of Residents' Rights and Responsibilities in Australia


The following is the Charter of Rights for the Elderly Living in Residential Care enacted by the Australian Government in 1991 to ensure that the rights of residents of Government-funded nursing homes and hostels are promoted and protected.

For further information, contact:

Office for the Aged
Commonwealth Department of Human Services Health
PO Box 9848
Canberra, Australia 2601 Fax: 61/6 282 4412

Charter of Residents' Rights and Responsibilities in Australia

Every person has the right to freedom and respect and the right to be treated fairly by others. A person's rights do not diminish when he or she moves into a nursing home, regardless of his or her physical or mental frailty or ability to exercise or fully appreciate his or her rights.

A positive, supportive and caring attitude by family, friends, nursing home proprietors and staff, carers and the community will help people who live in nursing homes to continue as integral, respected and valued members of society.

Australian society has a strong commitment to social justice principles. Those principles recognize the aspirations of all Australians to a dignified and secure way of life with equal access to health care, housing and education, and equal rights in civil, legal and consumer matters. They form the basis of a society which is free of prejudice and is caring, just and humane.

This Charter affirms those social justice principles.

The personal, civil, legal and consumer rights of each resident are not diminished in any way when he or she moves into a hostel.

The Charter also recognises that residents of nuring homes have the responsibiliy to ensure that the exercising of their individual rights does not affect others' individual rights, including those providing care. The Charter recognises that residents have specific rights and responsibilities which balance the needs of the individual against the needs of the nursing home community as a whole.

Each Resident of a Nursing Home has the RIGHT:

  • to quality care which is appropriate to his or her needs.
  • to full information about his or her own state of health and about available treatments.
  • to be treated with dignity and respect, and to live without exploitation, abuse or neglect.
  • to live without discrimination or victimization. The resident is not obliged to feel grateful to those providing his or her care and accommodation.
  • to personal privacy.
  • to live in a safe, secure and homelike environment, and to move freely both within and outside the nursing home without undue restriction.
  • to be treated and accepted as an individual. Each residents individual preferences are to be taken into account and treated with respect.
  • to continue his or her cultural and religious practices and to retain the language of his or her choice, without discrimination. to select and maintain social and personal relationships with any other person without fear, criticism or restriction.
  • to freedom of speech.
  • to maintain his or her personal independence, which includes a recognition of personal responsibility for his or her own actions and choices. Some actions may involve an element of risk which the resident has the right to accept, and which should not then be used to prevent or restrict those actions.
  • to maintain control over, and to continue making decisions about, the personal aspects of his or her daily life, his or her financial affairs and his or her possessions.
  • to be involved in the activities, associations and friendships of his or her choice, both within and outside the nursing home.
  • to have access to services and activities which are available generally in the community.
  • to be consulted on, and to choose to have input into, decisions about the living arrangements of the nursing home.
  • to have access to information about his or her rights, care, accommodation, and any other information which relates to him or her personally
  • to complain and to take action to resolve disputes.
  • to have access to advocates and other avenues of redress. Reprisal in any form shall not be made against any resident who takes action to enforce his or her rights.

Each Resident of a Nursing Home has the RESPONSIBILITY:

  • to respect the rights and needs of other people within the nursing home, and to respect the needs of the nursing home community as whole.
  • to respect the right of staff and the proprietor to work in an environment which is free from harassment.
    for his or her own health and well-being, as far as he or she is capable.
  • to inform his or her medical practitioner, as far as he or she is able, about his or her relevant medical history and his or her current state of health.