The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) requires all aged care providers and Home Care Services to have effective incident management systems in place. In addition, providers and services must notify the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission when eight types of reportable incidents occur:
- Unreasonable use of force – for example, hitting, pushing, shoving, or rough handling a resident or client
- Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct – such as sexual threats against a resident or client, stalking, or sexual activities without consent
- Neglect of a consumer – for example, withholding personal care, untreated wounds, or insufficient assistance during meals
- Psychological or emotional abuse – such as yelling, name calling, ignoring a resident or client, threatening gestures, or refusing a resident or client access to care or services as a means of punishment
- Unexpected death – where reasonable steps were not taken to prevent the death, the death is the result of care or services provided or a failure to provide care and services
- Stealing or financial coercion by a staff member – for example, if a staff member coerces a resident or client to change their will to their advantage, or steals valuables from the resident or client
- Inappropriate use of restrictive practices – for example, where a restrictive practice is used without prior consent or in a non-emergency situation
- Unexplained absence from care – where the resident is absent from the Home without explanation and there are reasonable grounds to report the absence to the police.
Incidents that are not one of the eight reportable incident types listed above are not required to be reported to the Commission. However, depending on the circumstances, they may need to be reported to another government body.
Reportable incidents must always be reported within set timeframes depending on the level of harm and/or discomfort caused to the resident or client. Incidents with a higher level of harm need to be reported to the Commission within 24 hours, and incidents with a lower level of harm need to be reported within 30 days.
For further information about the Serious Incident Response Scheme, refer to the Commission’s website.