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Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck. Photo: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Elder abuse reporting rules to change with new aged care scheme

Aged care homes will soon be required to report resident on resident abuse where the perpetrator has an assessed cognitive impairment.

The removal of the current exemption will be part of the rollout of the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS).

The scheme was earmarked in the 2019–2020 Federal Budget and on Sunday, Minister for Aged Care Richard Colbeck said an initial $23 million investment will be rolled out from July 1, 2021.

Under the scheme, aged care providers will be required to manage all incidents.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will receive incident reports and will have enhanced powers to take regulatory action where needed.

The government said reporting under a SIRS will include a broader range of incidents, including neglect, psychological or emotional abuse and inappropriate physical or chemical restraint.

Labor’s spokesperson for ageing Julie Collins said the government is still not doing enough to curb elder abuse.

Collins said: “It has been more than three years since the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) first recommended this action along with other sweeping reforms to tackle elder abuse. Sadly many of the ALRC’s recommendations from 2017 have not been implemented.

“Any abuse of older Australians in aged care is completely unacceptable and it is up to the government to do everything it can to stop it.”

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