CURRENT exemptions for reporting resident-on-resident assaults may not be effective in ensuring an abuse-free environment for aged care recipients.
A new report released by the Morrison government details options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme for aged care, including findings that a broader range of incidents should be reported.
Options canvassed on what should be considered a reportable incident include physical, sexual or financial abuse; seriously inappropriate, improper, inhumane or cruel treatment; and neglect.
The report recommends the new scheme be overseen by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.
The recommendation to develop a Serious Incident Response Scheme was made in the Carnell-Paterson Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes 2017.
The government committed through the 2017-18 budget to develop options for such a scheme and engaged KPMG to complete the development of models and options.
More than 130 aged care sector stakeholders, with representatives from consumer advocacy groups, approved providers and the aged care workforce, participated in consultations during the report's development.
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Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt said the report was another step in building better guidelines and standards of care that will ultimately provide safer environments for people accessing federal government-subsidised aged care services, including those living in residential aged care.
The government has still to respond to the proposals in the report.
A survey of nursing home staff by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association revealed more than 20 per cent of respondents had witnessed resident-to-resident assault including hitting, pushing, kicking and verbal abuse, once or twice a week.
The report, Strengthening protections for older Australians - Development of models and options for a Serious Incident Response Scheme for Commonwealth-funded aged care service providers, prepared by auditors KPMG, is available at the Department of Health's website, www.health.gov.au and searching the report name.