Elder abuse in Australia is a growing concern. Older people in residential aged care are deemed particularly vulnerable to abuse given their dependence on others to provide care.
The introduction of the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) will change residential aged care procedures and improve standards on elder abuse. Effective from 1 April 2021, the SIRS will require that residential aged care providers will be required to identify, record, manage, resolve and report incidents.
The aim of the SIRS is to minimise abuse. The legislation will be administered through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (The Commission) whose purpose is to independently accredit, assess and monitor aged care services. Improvements with the management of incidents and their reportable obligations will ensure aged care recipients will receive the respect and support they need.
The key aims of SIRS are to:
- strengthen aged care systems to reduce the risk of abuse and neglect
- build the skills of residential aged care providers, so they can better respond to serious incidents
- enable residential aged care providers to review incident information to drive improvements in quality and safety
- reduce the likelihood of preventable incidents reoccurring
- make sure that consumers receiving aged care have the support they need after an incident - regardless of whether they are the victim, perpetrator, or witness.
What residential aged care organisations need to know
From 1 April 2021, residential aged care providers must report all ‘Priority 1’ incidents within 24 hours. ‘Priority 1’ incidents include those that cause or could reasonably have caused physical or psychological injury or illness requiring some form of medical or psychological treatment. Instances of unexplained absence from care and any unexpected death of a consumer are always to be regarded as ‘Priority 1’ reportable incidents.
- From 1 October 2021, all ‘Priority 2’ incidents – reportable incidents that do not meet the criteria for ‘Priority 1’ – must also be reported within 30 days. (ref: What is the SIRS? Serious Incident Response Scheme A fact sheet for aged care consumers, 19 March 2021)
- The Commission will have the power to take regulatory action with SIRS obligations and to issue compliance notices for suspected non-compliance.
- SIRS strengthens the reporting requirements for providers of residential aged care services, as well as flexible care delivered in residential aged care. It supports the Charter of Aged Care Rights and Aged Care Quality Standards, whereby organisations that provide Commonwealth subsidised aged care services are required to comply with the Standards. Organisations that are assessed must be able to provide evidence of their compliance with and performance against the Standards.
How can Kineo Courses help
Kineo Courses specialises in Aged Care workforce elearning and has updated its digital training: Reporting Abuse and Serious Incidents in Aged Care to include learning content on the new Serious Incident Response Scheme.
Minimising the risk of incidents is everyone’s responsibility in aged care
Key learning objectives from this course will include:
- background to and the definitions and prevalence of the abuse of older people in Australia
- types of abuse that are commonly experienced by older people
- requirements for the reporting of abuse of an older person in your care
- roles and responsibilities of staff around the abuse of a person in their care
- barriers to staff reporting suspected and actual abuse, and
- actions to take if there is imminent threat to an older person.
Want to enquire about this course as an aged care provider for your aged care workers? We can help provide this critical information to assist you with ensuring compliance, fast.
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