Legislation and guidelines on the aged care sector’s new incident reporting scheme has been released ahead of the program’s 1 April start.

The Federal Government released the Serious Incident Response Scheme subordinate legislation on Tuesday while the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission published the new guide last week.

In an email  to providers, the Department of Health said the guide along with fact sheets, other available resources and webinars planned during March reflect the subordinate legislation and are closely aligned to the Model for Implementation paper published on the Department’s website in September.

The guide includes information on the different types and priority of reportable incidents, role of the aged care regulator and two-stage rollout.

Priority one incidents are any reportable incidents that cause, or could have reasonably caused, a physical or psychological injury or discomfort requiring medical or psychological treatment such as:

  • distress requiring emotional support or counselling
  • cuts, abrasions, burns, fractures or other physical injury requiring a nurse, doctor or allied health professional
  • bruising
  • head or brain injuries which might be indicated by concussion or loss of consciousness
  • injury or impairment requiring attendance at or admission to a hospital
  • death.

Priority two incidents result in a low level of harm to the resident, such as where a resident is momentarily upset or experiences temporary redness or marks that do not bruise.

From 1 April, providers must report all priority one incidents to the regulator within 24 hours of becoming aware of the incident also to the police within this timeframe if of criminal nature.

Any additional information related to the incident must be provided to the regulator through a second notice within five days. If internal or external investigations are required a final report must be provided to the quality and safety commission within 84 days of submitting the first notice.

From 1 October, providers must report priority two incidents to the commission within 30 days and respond to requests for further information as soon as possible.


In its final report released last week, the aged care royal commissioners welcomed the new scheme  and said it “will greatly improve the regulator’s oversight of abuse and neglect in residential aged care”.

However, they said SIRS only addressed defects in current arrangements and needed to expand to cover home care, purposeful action on reports of serious incidents and greater transparency, or the abuse would continue.

The commissioners said the SIRS must have the capability to detect patterns in reports that indicate an ongoing risk to the safety of people receiving aged care services and recommended government ensure the quality commission can match names of accused individuals with previous reports.

The commissioners also recommended the government require the quality regulator to publish the number of serious incidents on a quarterly basis and for providers to show the regulator a plan on how it intended to respond to the incident.

View the guidance, subordinate legislation, resources and model for implementation.

Online SIRS training launched

Aged care training organisation Altura Learning has developed a course to help aged care staff understand the SIRS and how to implement the first phase of the scheme.

Yvie Webley

It includes an explanation of each reportable incident, the responsibilities of providers and the incident management process.

Altura Learning CEO Yvie Webley said training on elder abuse awareness was key to reducing abuse.

“If staff have a thorough understanding of the different types of abuse and their signs and symptoms, they are in the best position to recognise it and report it immediately,” Ms Webley said.

The course will be updated prior to the start of the second phase in October.

The course launches on 17 March. Find out more here.

Read our related coverage

SIRS legislation passes, but guidance unavailable

Govt announces funding, start date for incident response scheme

SIRS start date brought forward to April 2021

Feedback sought on incident reporting scheme

Further consultation will inform new incident reporting scheme

Proposed models for reporting incidents in aged care released

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2 Comments

  1. My understanding is that the SIRS doesn’t take the place of the existing incident report but is additional. Essentially we are duplicating the same information in a different manner for a different part of the department.
    That makes good sense and time well used… Not.

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