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New requirements to protect senior Australians

New requirements to protect senior Australians
Photo: Protection for older Australians
New requirements starting today for aged care providers will better protect older Australians.

Launched today, The Morrison Government has invested $67.2 million to implement the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) which offers greater security and peace-of-mind for Australians in residential care settings and their families.

Under the scheme, residential aged care providers are required to manage all incidents of abuse or neglect, with a focus on the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life and reduce preventable incidents from reoccurring.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services said it was another step forward as the Morrison Government drives generational change of the sector.

“The Australian Government has never been more committed to keeping older Australians safe and supporting the dedicated staff who assist them,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Any mistreatment or assault of a care recipient is unacceptable and it is important that these incidents are managed and prevented from occurring in future.

“Today’s launch of the SIRS is a vitally important step to usher in a new era of aged care in this country – building an aged care system that puts people at its heart, and reassures families that their loved ones are safe and secure.”

From today, providers must implement and maintain an incident management system to identify, record, manage and resolve all incidents.

The scheme builds on the previous compulsory reporting and expands the range of incidents that must be reported to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

This includes unreasonable use of force, unlawful sexual contact and sexual misconduct, neglect, psychological or emotional abuse, stealing or financial coercion by a staff member, inappropriate use of restraint, unexplained absences and unexpected death.

Significantly, resident-on-resident incidents caused by someone with an assessed cognitive impairment will no longer be exempt from reporting. Lifting the exemption is in line with the recommendations in the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which oversees the Serious Incident Response Scheme, will also have stronger powers to hold providers to account and insist on improvements.

A prevalence and feasibility study to inform the possible expansion of the scheme is due to report by 30 June 2021.

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