Serious Incident Response Scheme reforms to better protect against elder abuse passes into legislation

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New legislation amendments designed to better protect Australia’s aged care residents were passed this week.

The Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Serious Incident Response Scheme and other measures) Bill 2020 was amended to offer “security and peace-of-mind for all older Australians in residential and in-home care”.

Residential aged care providers will be required to manage all incidents, with a focus on the safety and wellbeing of consumers and reduce preventable incidents from reoccurring.

The SIRS expands the responsibilities of residential aged care providers with regards to identifying, recording, managing, resolving and reporting assaults and a range of serious incidents in residential aged care.

Reporting under the SIRS will include a host of new matters such as sexual misconduct, neglect, psychological abuse, inappropriate use of restraint, and unexpected death amongst others.

Significantly, the SIRS will lift the current exemption on the reporting of resident-on-resident incidents, where the perpetrator has an assessed cognitive impairment.

Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Services Richard Colbeck said the legislation is intended to drive quality and safety improvements in residential aged care.

The first stage of the SIRS will start on 1 April.

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