How to officially raise a complaint about poor care in a care home

Date Added 01.10.15

Veronica Male is a Chartered Legal Executive for Tollers Personal Injury Lawyers, she provides specialist legal support for families that experience poor care in care homes.

In this article Veronica offers her advice on how to officially raise a complaint about poor care in a care home

Before making a complaint about the poor care your loved one is receiving you need to think about what you and your loved one want out of the complaint?

For most people they just want the poor care to stop and for an acknowledgement of the failings in the care provided.  They may want staff to have additional training so that this will not happen to another resident, or for policies and procedures to change.  They may wish for formal action to be taken against a particular member of staff.

Making a complaint

I recommend making a complaint as soon as possible and usually no later than 12 months after the issue.

I strongly recommend that families keep as much information as possible such as:

  • Keeping copies of care plans and records.
  • Medical assessments.
  • Diary.
  • Letters.
  • Emails.
  • Video evidence

Who should you report neglect or abuse to?

Adult Safeguarding Team

Neglect and abuse needs to be reported to the Adult Safeguarding Team of your local council.  If you don’t feel the issue has been investigated sufficiently refer it to the Complaints Manager.  If still no satisfactory response consider complaining to the Adult Safeguarding Board and also the Local Government Ombudsman.

Care Home or Care Services Provider

You may have raised concerns with the care home previously and feel that they were not addressed.  Care homes have a duty to tell you when care has gone wrong but if you have concerns over the culture at the home or service provider and think there will be a cover up you may not wish to complain directly to the care home but instead refer to Adult Safeguarding Team first.


Abuse needs to be reported to the Police. If it is not reported then it is not on the statistics as a crime. Veronica says “I strongly feel we need a culture change as there can be a failure to prosecute where people have mental health issues or problems communicating.”

Professional Bodies

If your complaint is about a GP then you can complain to the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council for Nurses.

Care Quality Commission or Care & SocialServices Inspectorate (Wales)

You may wish to consider whether you report the abuse to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in England or the Care and Social Services Inspectorate in Wales because the abuse or neglect could be an institutional problem in the home or care provider. Although the CQC does not investigate individual concerns if a number of concerns are reported they may bring forward the inspection of a particular home.

How we can help

Your loved one may be entitled to compensation if they have suffered neglect or abuse.  We, as specialists in these claims, can investigate a claim for you.  We can also discuss with you the best route for raising a complaint in your particular circumstances and, if we are acting for you in the claim, support you during the complaint process.


Making a complaint about the care that your loved is receiving is very difficult and stressful for families Your Voice Matters, a campaign group, focused on improving care in care homes can provide more information and support http://www.yourvoicematters.org.uk.

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