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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Serious Incident Response Scheme inundated with reports from providers

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The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) says it received almost 4500 notifications of serious incidents from residential aged care providers in just six weeks as part of the new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS).

From April 1 to May 12 this year, ACQSC received 1876 notifications which fall into the Priority 1 reportable incident category.

Priority 1 is an incident in a residential aged care service that has caused, or could potentially have caused physical or psychological injury to a consumer, requiring medical or psychological treatment.

Each of these notifications is assessed by the Commission for the purpose of identifying whether further information is required from the service and/or regulatory action is warranted by the Commission.

The most common type of reported incident was unreasonable use of force, followed by neglect.

“The notifications received to date indicate that providers are responding actively and swiftly to their new reporting obligations under SIRS,” Commissioner Janet Anderson said.

Anderson is an independent appointee who reports directly to the Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care.

She has held a range of executive positions at Commonwealth, State and regional levels, working in the areas of health and aged care policy, strategy and planning.

A key part of SIRS is the requirement for providers to have in place an effective incident management system to reduce injuries and other incidents impacting consumers, and to respond appropriately to incidents if and when they occur.

“An aged care organisation which has an effective incident management system is well-positioned to collect and use incident data to build a learning culture, helping staff to prevent similar incidents from occurring and to better protect the health, safety and wellbeing of aged care consumers,” Anderson said.

This is the first in a series of insight reports on SIRS that is aimed at providing relevant data and information to the sector, drawn from serious incident notifications and the regulatory treatment of these notifications.

Information from incident notifications is intended to inform the Commission’s broader regulatory actions and also indicate areas where the Commission can clarify and build on its initial SIRS guidance.

SIRS is a new initiative that aims to help prevent and reduce the risk of abuse and neglect of older Australians in residential services.

It complements existing provider obligations under the Aged Care Act and strengthens responsibilities for providers to prevent and manage incidents.

It requires providers to use incident data to drive quality improvement, and to report serious incidents.

Providers notify the Commission of reportable incidents by completing a notification form on the My Aged Care Provider Portal.

The SIRS Insight report is available on the Commission’s website.

Detailed guidance about SIRS and the new reporting obligations is also available on the Commission’s website.

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