Aged care providers detail 4,496 serious incidents with residents in six weeks

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The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) have revealed it received 4,496 notifications of serious incidents from residential aged care providers from 1 April to 12 May under the new Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS).

However, ACQSC reports that only 1,876 (42%) met the criteria for a Priority 1 reportable incident, which has been required from providers since 1 April.

Priority 1 serious response incidents are:

  • Have caused or could reasonably have been expected to cause a consumer physical or psychological injury or discomfort requiring medical or psychological treatment to resolve, or
  • Where there are reasonable grounds to contact the police, or

  • That is the unexpected death of a consumer or a consumer’s unexplained absence from the service.

From 1 October, residential aged care providers are required to notify Government about Priority 2 reportable incidents, which do not meet the criteria for a ‘Priority 1’ reportable incident. The Commission said many of the balance of 2,620 incidents reported would be classified as a Priority 2 from 1 October – suggesting the numbers will continue to rise.

The Commission did point out that some of the reports of incidents fell outside even Priority 2.

“An example of this kind of incident is one where a resident fell when walking in the garden of the service. They did not fall due to the use of force and there was no indication of neglect or that the service failed to provide care or support in line with the resident’s assessed needs and preferences,” said the Commission.

“The provider is still required to record this incident in their incident management system, to take all necessary action to mitigate the immediate and any ongoing impact on consumer/s, and to pursue options for reducing the risk of reoccurrence.”

As we reported here, the scheme also removes the exemption on incidents of abuse and assault between aged care residents where the alleged perpetrator has an assessed cognitive or mental impairment.

Given 50% of aged care residents live with dementia, the numbers of reportable incidents will sky rocket further.