These guidelines aim to help and support attendant care service providers to meet their responsibilities when dealing with serious incidents or alleged incidents that involve, or impact upon, TAC- or WorkSafe-funded clients.
- Attendant Care (inclusive of Oncall)
- Shared Supported Accommodation
- Client Independence Skills Service
As part of the TAC and WorkSafe registration requirements attendant care service providers must maintain an up-to-date Incident Register.
1. What is a serious incident?
A serious incident is where a certain act or event has occurred or is alleged to have occurred, in connection with the provision of TAC-funded disability supports or services and which resulted in harm or has the potential to harm a client.
The meaning of the phrase ‘in connection with’ covers incidents that:
- may have occurred during the course of supports or services being provided;
- arise out of the provision, alteration or withdrawal of supports or services; and/or
- may not have occurred during the provision of supports but are connected because it arose out of the provision of supports or services.
2. Reporting a serious incident
It is important to report serious incidents immediately to ensure appropriate action can be taken. Early reporting is essential to:
- ensure timely and effective responses are taken to address immediate client/injured worker safety and wellbeing
- ensure strategies to address the serious incident or allegation can be effectively implemented as soon as possible
- ensure the attendant care service provider complies with their duty of care to the client/injured worker
- support the provision of high-quality services to clients/injured workers through comprehensive reporting
- enhance the quality of service and supports to clients/injured workers through monitoring and acting on individual incidents as well as trends identified through the analysis of incident reports
- ensure the attendant care service provider continues to meet its legislative and compliance obligations, and
- help mitigate against future incidents.
3. Process for reporting a serious incident
1. Respond to the immediate needs of the client
The attendant care service provider must ensure the client’s health and safety needs are attended to immediately, including their mental and physical needs. Providers should seek medical assistance when required.
2. Contact emergency services when required
Call 000 for emergency services (fire, ambulance or police).
3. Notify the client's family/guardian
You must notify the client's or injured worker’s family or guardian as soon as possible to explain the incident or allegation and the action being taken to remedy it.
4. Complete and submit the form
The Serious Incident Form must be completed and submitted to the TAC or WorkSafe within 24 hours of the provider becoming aware of a serious incident.
5. Serious Incident Form is added to the provider's Incident Register and a copy placed in the client's file
As part of the TAC and WorkSafe Victoria’s registration requirements, providers must ensure a copy of the Serious Incident Form is kept in the client/injured worker’s file and they maintain an up-to-date Incident Register.
4. Incident types
The Serious Incident Form provides a list of incident or allegation types. When choosing an incident type, please choose the incident type that best describes the circumstance of the incident or allegation.
- Absent / missing client: Where a client is absent and there are concerns for their safety and welfare or that of others.
- Abuse: Abuse, neglect or exploitation of any kind. Incidents under this category may be financial, physical, psychological /emotional and/or sexual in nature. Also includes failure to act which places client at risk of harm.
- Abuse can include but is not limited to: inappropriate physical contact/force, intimidation, threats and coercion.
- Neglect can include but is not limited to: rejection, isolation, intimidation and denial of a client’s cultural or religious preferences.
- Exploitation can include but is not limited to: misuse of client assets, property and possessions and sexual exploitation.
- Breach of privacy / confidentiality: The inappropriate disclosure of confidential client information.
- Community concern: Notification by a member of the public of incidents of alleged abuse, neglect, exploitation of a client.
- Death – client: The death of a client during service delivery.
- Death – other: The death of a person other than a client or staff member that involves or impacts upon a client.
- Death – staff: The death of a staff member that involves or impacts upon a client.
- Illness: An unforeseen illness that is not described in the client’s care plan.
- Injury: Actions or behaviours that unintentionally cause harm or serious injury to the client which requires medical attention.
- Medication error: An error in the administration of prescribed medication that results in harm or potential to harm the client. Includes missed medication, pharmacy dispensing error, incorrect dosage or unauthorized administration of medication.
- Poor quality of care: Inappropriate or inadequate care by staff, support workers or caregivers resulting in harm or potential harm of a client.
- Provider disruption: A provider experiencing significant organisational disruption, changes to executive management or concern regarding ongoing financial viability impacting continuity of client care.
- Provider conduct: Conduct which is or is potentially fraudulent, illegal or is engaged in other criminal activities, about which suspicion is raised, or a complaint, an allegation or other evidence is received or obtained by a provider, the TAC or WorkSafe.
- Self-harm: Actions that intentionally cause harm or injury to self.
- Suicide attempted: Actions that intentionally cause harm with the intention to end one’s own life.
5. Additional information
Reporting alleged criminal acts
It is an expectation that attendant care service providers report alleged criminal activity to the police as soon as possible once being made aware of the allegation.
Reporting to the Coroner
In addition to reporting client or injured worker deaths through the serious incident reporting processes, a statutory obligation to report deaths to the Coroner may also apply. A ‘reportable death’ to the Coroner includes deaths that appear to be unexpected, unnatural or violent or to have resulted, directly or indirectly, from accident or injury.
For more information, please consult www.coronerscourt.vic.gov.au.
Third party information
A Serious Incident Form may include personal information obtained from a third party. A third party includes someone who is not a client/injured worker or staff member of an attendant care service provider. A third party may be involved in witnessing an incident or making an allegation. Where a third party is involved in an incident or allegation, the provider should notify them that the information will be shared with the TAC or WorkSafe.
Do not send information by email
As the TAC and WorkSafe cannot guarantee the privacy or security of information sent by email, attendant care service providers must submit the completed Serious Incident Form online.