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Mandatory Reporting of Assaults in Aged Care

January 16, 2017 24 Comments

A new requirement for aged care providers is being implemented to report assaults to the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, the police, and the Department of Health. The new ““reportable incidents scheme” proposal was put forward by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC).

Aged Care Providers

Aged Care Providers need to report assaults

The proposed new scheme will require healthcare providers to investigate alleged incidents in order to identify issues that are needed to be addressed. The investigation and response will be overseen by the Commissioner. This scheme is included in the 43 recommendations for law reform contained in a discussion released by the ALRC as part of their ongoing inquiry into the laws on elderly abuse Australia.

There is also a call for a broader range of abusive conduct to be covered by the new scheme. In addition to “unlawful sexual contact” and “unreasonable use of force”, the ALRC proposes a wider definition for “reportable incidents” including fraud, neglect, and unexplained physical injury.

The commission expressed their concerns on the providers not having the requirement to conduct investigations into incidents. They are worried that there may be instances where the police decide not to pursue an investigation, but there could be significant risks from an incident that may require action from the aged care provider.

“There may still be significant risks to the victim or others that could be identified and responded to if an appropriate investigation were performed,” the ALRC said.

According to reports, the current reporting scheme provides very little information on the number of alleged assaults on the elderly, such as identification of the alleged perpetrator and the action taken in response to the report. The ALRC acknowledged this lack of information and believes that the proposed new scheme could be used to reform policy and system responses.

Also included in the commission’s other proposals are sweeping changes to the laws surrounding the powers of investigations for public advocates and guardians, enduring powers of attorney and guardianship, family agreements, and banking security.

The ALRC proposes new online national registration for enduring documents, as well as a more constricted reporting requirement and expanded roles of public guardians in responding to elderly abuse.

About the Author:

Susan Stephens is the Managing Director and driving force behind Back to Basics Care. She is dedicated to providing quality learning and development opportunities to the Health Care Industry, and bringing you current and useful information applicable to the sector.

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