The second and third steps in the Incident Management System (IMS) cycle outline how to respond to, record and report an incident when it happens.
If there's an incident, you must:
- take immediate action to help those involved
- examine the harm and impact on those involved
- make sure there are no more safety issues that need immediate attention.
- Ensure you and your workers know how to respond to incidents. This includes assessing immediate threats and checking in with those involved.
- Ensure your IMS explains how to respond to an incident or near miss. You and your workers must follow these steps if there is an incident or near miss.
- Ensure your policies explain how to involve those affected in the incident response process. You and your workers must follow these policies if there's an incident.
- Determine whether the incident is reportable to us or other parties.
Identifying incidents and near misses
Incidents and near misses can be discovered in several ways. These include:
- a worker or person receiving aged care seeing an incident or near miss as it happens
- a person receiving aged care reporting an incident or near miss
- another person telling a worker about an incident or near miss.
It's easier to identify an incident if you see it happen. However, you must respond to all incidents and near misses as soon as you know them. This will help to reduce potential harm in the future.
You must also report alleged or suspected incidents.
If an incident is reportable under the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS), you must notify the Commission. You'll do this according to the required priority 1 or timeframes.
Your IMS should outline expectations for workers who identify any alleged or suspected incidents.
For more information, visit our Reportable incidents page.
Supporting people involved in an incident
When you respond to an incident, the health, safety and wellbeing of those involved must be your first priority.
It's essential to:
- take immediate action to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of those involved
- assess the support needed for those involved
- think about the physical and psychological impacts of incidents on people who receive aged care
- deliver training on how to help and support affected people.
You must take all incidents seriously. You should also be aware that people with cognitive impairments may make allegations based on delusions.
Someone with a cognitive impairment may keep reporting incidents that investigations show didn't happen. In that case, you must continue to support them and record the incidents in your IMS.
Our Managing an incident tool (PDF, 867 KB) has questions to help you meet your obligations.
Open disclosure is an organisation's discussion with people receiving aged care. This could relate to an incident that has harmed or could potentially harm people.
When you respond to an incident, your disclosure should be timely and honest. If you respond slowly or people think you're covering something up, it will damage the trust of those you care for.
Some people may feel uncomfortable about reporting incidents in case others find out. Open disclosure will give your people insights and help ensure their voices are heard.
Giving your workers open disclosure training will help them engage in this way.
Incident response plan
When you respond to an incident, refer to your organisation's policies, procedures and incident response plan. This will outline the steps to follow and ensure you know what is expected of you.
Here are some typical actions you may see in an incident response plan:
- ask affected people if they're okay
- seek timely and appropriate medical or psychological treatment for affected people
- shape your response to consider the views of all affected people
- stop, prevent and reduce the risk of an incident happening again
- contact family members or representatives as soon as it's practical
- report to the relevant supervisor or manager
- help those affected access advocates or support services
- record the incident and relevant details in your IMS
- determine if the incident is reportable, and notify authorities in line with requirements.
Our Reportable incidents workflow tool (PDF, 274 KB) outlines the steps to follow after an incident.