On 1 December 2022, the Serious Incident Response Scheme was extended from residential aged care to home care and flexible care delivered in a home or community setting.
This includes providers of Home Care Package, Short-Term Restorative Care at home, Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP), National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care (NATSIFAC), Multi-Purpose Services Program and Transition Care Program services.
For more information, go to the National aged care reforms page.
On this page:
- Guidelines for residential aged care providers
- SIRS decision support tool
- What is a reportable incident?
The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) is an initiative to help prevent and reduce the risk and occurrence of incidents of abuse and neglect of older Australians receiving Commonwealth-subsidised aged care and services. It commenced in residential aged care on 1 April 2021 and was extended to home services on 1 December 2022. More general information can be found under An introduction to the SIRS.
This page provides information about the SIRS for residential aged care providers.
Visit our SIRS in home services page for further information about the SIRS for providers of home care and flexible care delivered in a home or community setting.
Guidelines for residential aged care providers
Provider responsibilities in relation to the SIRS are described in more detail in the Serious Incident Response Scheme: Guidelines for residential aged care providers.
SIRS decision support tool
Use the SIRS decision support tool to quickly and easily determine the difference between Priority 1 and Priority 2 reportable incidents.
The tool asks you a series of simple questions about an incident to help you decide whether it must be reported to the Commission.
What is a reportable incident?
Reportable incidents under the SIRS for residential care include:
- Unreasonable use of force – for example, hitting, pushing, shoving, or rough handling a consumer
- Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct – such as sexual threats against a consumer, stalking, or sexual activities without consumer consent
- Neglect – for example, withholding personal care, untreated wounds, or insufficient assistance during meals
- Psychological or emotional abuse – such as yelling, name calling, ignoring a consumer, threatening gestures, or refusing a consumer access to care or services as a means of punishment
- Unexpected death – where reasonable steps were not taken by the provider to prevent the death, the death is the result of care or services provided by the provider or a failure by the provider to provide care and services
- Stealing or financial coercion by a staff member – for example, if a staff member coerces a consumer to change their will to their advantage, or steals valuables from the consumer
- Inappropriate use of restrictive practices – where it is used in relation to a consumer in circumstances such as:
- where a restrictive practice is used without prior consent or without notifying the consumer’s representative as soon as practicable
- where a restrictive practice is used in a non-emergency situation, or
- when a provider issues a drug to a consumer to influence their behaviour as a form of restrictive practice
- Unexplained absence from care – where the consumer is absent from the service without explanation and there are reasonable grounds to report the absence to the police.
The Commission must be notified of all reportable incidents. This includes reportable incidents that occur, or are alleged or suspected to have occurred, and includes incidents involving a consumer with cognitive or mental impairment (such as dementia).
Incidents that are not one of the 8 reportable incident types listed above are not required to be reported to the Commission. However, depending on the circumstances, they may need to be reported to another government body.
Providers should always consider their local regulatory environment when determining whether an incident must be reported and to whom.
All incidents that occur in the provision of care, whether reportable or non-reportable, must be managed in line with a service’s incident management system.
You can find all the SIRS resources on our dedicated SIRS provider resources page.