Note: Subject to decisions by the Federal Parliament, from 1 April 2021 it is expected that compulsory reporting legislative requirements will be repealed and approved providers will be subject to the legislative requirements of the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS). For further information, please download What is the SIRS? A fact sheet for aged care providers or visit www.agedcarequality.gov.au/sirs. Any enquiries can be emailed to email@example.com.
Compulsory reporting of unexplained absences or missing residents is the responsibility of an approved provider under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Aged Care Act).
A resident is considered missing when they are absent and the service is unaware of any reasons for the absence.
Approved providers should report the missing resident to the police within a reasonable timeframe so an appropriate response and action can be taken to locate the resident.
If a resident is absent from the service, the absence is unexplained and the absence has been reported to the police, approved providers are required to tell the Commission about the missing resident within 24 hours of reporting the absence to the police.
If an approved provider fails to meet compulsory reporting requirements the Commission may take compliance action.
Reporting to the Commission
To report a missing resident the approved provider should, within 24 hours of a report being made to the police submit the compulsory report using the Commission’s unexplained absence webform.
Note: The webform will provide you with a submission number, but will not provide you with a copy of your submission. If you wish to keep a copy of your submission we recommend that you use the Ctrl+print function before submitting the completed webform. This will reproduce the document in full, allowing a copy to be printed or saved to your computer. The Commission is working to address this issue in the next system enhancement, expected in April this year. Once a submission has been made, a receipt number will automatically be issued and a compulsory reporting officer will be in contact to provide a notification case number and to request any further information that may be required.
If you have any additions or amendments you wish to make to a submitted notification, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the receipt number. Please do not submit multiple webforms regarding the same unexplained absence.
Role of the Commission in unexplained absence reports
If a resident is absent from an aged care service, and the absence is unexplained, the police will take any necessary action.
Any information provided to the Commission in relation to an unexplained absence will be recorded and may be used by the Commission as part of its ongoing regulatory functions under the Aged Care Act.
The Commission may take compliance action where approved providers do not meet the compulsory reporting requirements under the Aged Care Act.
What if the resident is returned before an approved provider became aware that the resident was missing?
There is no requirement for providers to report to the Commission if the care recipient was returned to the service before their absence was reported to the police.
However, providers must report to the Commission if the police are aware of the care recipient’s absence or where the care recipient has been returned to the service by the police.
Compulsory reporting telephone line: 1800 081 549