There’s no doubt that Aged Care facilities, home care providers and NFP organisations have been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. With ongoing stories of mismanagement and cases of criminal negligence, Australians have demanded tighter regulations and harsher penalties for those who don’t comply.
Following the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, a mandatory incident report process was introduced along with 148 other recommendations to action within the next 5 years.
While this increase in compliance, efficiency and service is a positive step for the industry, it also puts extra pressure on your organisation and already overstretched staff. Although some reporting technologies in aged care have helped ease the burden, there’s still room for improvement.
Now, thanks to Microsoft Power Platform, that improvement is more accessible than ever before and we tell you how.
The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS)
Launched in April 2021, the Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) is an initiative that helps prevent and reduce incidents of abuse and neglect in residential aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government. In case you didn’t already know, from the 1st of December 2022, the scheme will be extended to include home aged care and flexible care delivered in a home or community setting.
The SIRS categorises 2 key components — incident management obligations and reportable incident obligations.
The official government website introduces 8 types of reportable incidents, involving aged care residents that must be reported to the Commission and the police if the incident is of criminal nature, listed as below:
Unreasonable use of force
Unlawful sexual contact or inappropriate sexual conduct
Neglect of a consumer
Psychological or emotional abuse
Stealing or financial coercion by a staff member
Inappropriate use of restrictive practices
Unexplained absence from care
It is good to note that incidents that are not part of this list are not required to be reported to the Commission. However, depending on the circumstances, they may need to be reported to another government body.
Split into two categories, reportable incidents are listed as either Priority 1 or Priority 2, and require different reporting obligations.
Priority 1 incidents must be reported to the Aged Care Royal Commission or police within 24 hours of becoming aware of it occurring.
Priority 2 incidents do not meet Priority 1 criteria and must be reported to the Aged Care Royal Commission within 30 days of becoming aware of it occurring.
With timelines playing such a critical role in responding to serious incidents, finding a standardised method to lodge incidents from anywhere is now essential, and for many providers, these systems are not yet in place.
Without a viable, long term mobile reporting system, this could see travelling carers not only under more pressure to recall important information well after the fact, but also falling foul of updated regulations.
The risks of being non-compliant
For those who aren’t compliant, disciplinary action can include infringement notices, non-compliance notices on a public register, as well as broader civil penalties. Any combination of these can have negative effects on your reputation, finances and operations.
What does this mean for carers?
Although these reporting obligations are expanding from December 1st, those responsible for remaining compliant have not changed, with pressure still mounting on carers to ensure incidents are reported correctly, explains Bremmar’s Lead Aged Care & NFP consultant, Rushad Billimoria:
‘Although a team is dedicated to handle compliance requirements surrounding incident data, the responsibility of accurate incident reporting ultimately falls on the carers. Having the right reporting technologies in aged care can ease this added pressure, automatically complying with government regulations and making life a lot easier for all involved,’ notes Rushad.
Where does technology fit in with the Aged Care reportable incident process?
Ultimately, new technology creates efficiency in the incident reporting process. It’s there to make life easier for carers and other executive staff like yourself, giving you peace of mind that people can confidently focus on their primary job — to care and assist — accurately and efficiently. And without having to worry about extra admin, staff can enjoy a happier presence and more focused work experience, benefitting every part of the organisation.
‘Information has a habit of getting lost in translation,’ explains Rushad, ‘the more people that pass it down, the more likely it is that something will change. By having standardised processes for incident management and the right technology on hand, no information is missed. Users can access the right reporting form, input the relevant data, submit and respond accordingly.’
With this streamlined compliance, increased accuracy and growth in efficiency, your organisation will be better equipped to facilitate the entire reporting process.
Custom built reporting technology solutions for Aged Care
With so many vendors and technological choices, which is the right one to help Aged Care providers remain compliant?
There are a few options out there, and as specialists in the Aged Care, NFP and Disability sectors, we’ve had years road-testing the best of the best technology for these industries. In our opinion, it’s hard to go by Microsoft Power Apps.
Power Apps is a Microsoft solution that brings together a suite of apps, services, and connectors, that enable organisations to build custom apps to streamline, automate and simplify unique business processes, such as procurement requests, employee onboarding, and incident management & reporting.
Power Apps is part of the Microsoft ecosystem making it easy to access and connect information within the Microsoft 365 platform as well as with third-party applications.
Bremmar Incident Management App for Aged Care
Built in response to industry needs and using Power Apps, the Bremmar Incident Management app is an essential tool for any Aged Care provider, NFP or Disability organisation looking to standardise their incident reporting processes and automate complex workflows.
By consolidating your reporting process into one system, this powerful app enables organisations to connect incident data sources, create custom digital forms, and implement effective business process automation.
Streamline the reporting process
Reporting technologies in aged care have a notorious reputation for being complex and riddled with inaccuracy. The Incident Management app collects incident data — including images or other attachments– and stores it in an easy-to-use manageable register where it can be accessed, shared and analysed by anyone with the organisation that has the right permissions.
At each step of the incident reporting process, the app creates automated workflows to notify appropriate people based on the information that has been entered. Depending on the settings, the incident data can be shared via email, teams, or any other preferred method, ensuring that it is seen and actioned by the right people as soon as possible.
Efficient approval processes
By notifying the right people, the incident approval process is strengthened to guarantee compliance. As incident data flows down the chain, staff can review and approve, or ask for more information if required. This system of checks and balances means your organisation will get it right every time.
Dynamic dashboard through Power BI
Using Microsoft Power BI, our Incident Management app pulls relevant information from the incident data register and places it on a dynamic dashboard. With easily configurable, user-defined metrics, incident data is at the execs and management finger tips, offering a previously unseen level of insight into vital data points.
‘Reporting technologies in aged care have come a long way from where they used to be. With all of the extra insights, aged care organisations can analyse their data at a more granular level. This allows them to identify trends and use this information to make informed decisions moving forward’, highlights Rushad.
Bespoke incident reporting solution
Built upon a base-level package, the app is customisable to meet any organisation’s needs. Through detailed consultation with Bremmar’s Aged Care or NFP specialists, the Incident Management app can include any number of predefined menu options, including drop-down selections for staff and manager names, facility information, and incident type.
This guarantees all the right information is being sent to all the right people at the right time. From automated and built for purpose digital workflows to customised application branding, the Incident Management App integrates into your system.
By standardising the reporting process, Bremmar’s Incident Management app empowers your organisation to increase its data accuracy through streamlined business workflows, even as your business continues to grow, and regulations evolve.
Developing a custom Incident Management app with Bremmar
Although developing an improved digital workflow automation for incident reporting may seem complex and intimidating, Bremmar’s collaborative approach makes life easy for Aged Care, NFP & Disability organisations looking to make the switch.
The process takes 2–4 weeks and can follow 6 core steps:
Initial consultation to understand the current process, and enhancements
Develop a process flow diagram from incident lodgement to approval
Build a base product and provide to Incident Reporting team staff for testing
Take feedback onboard and make relevant changes
User acceptance training highlights any extra issues
Final changes implemented and ‘go live’
Rushad notes that while the whole process may seem challenging, collaboration with champion users is an essential part of the process:
‘By understanding our client’s goals and engaging a champion user, we can deploy an operational app within a matter of two weeks. Through this consistent back and forth, we can build the perfect incident response solution — one that our clients understand and are comfortable using.’
Not just for Aged Care. Not-For-Profit & Disability organisations can also benefit.
While these expanded regulations apply solely to the Aged Care sector, other care-based NFPs and disability organisations can also make the most of the Incident Management app as well. But why should they prioritise this new technology if it isn’t mandatory? Rushad believes it all comes down to risk.
‘It’s all about understanding the risk of what would happen if an incident isn’t properly recorded. The risk to those directly involved, and the risk to the wider organisation. Even if you’re not under the microscope of government agencies such as those in Aged Care, other care organisations and NFPs should think about potential costs, liabilities and negative effects on staff welfare.’ says Rushad.
He also notes that while new tech can seem complex and scary, it’s better for workers in the long run.
‘Yes, these modern reporting technologies in Aged Care and NFPs can sound complex, but the truth is, they’re cost effective and never as daunting as they seem. One of our recent clients had an increase in the number of incidents lodged after we worked with them to standardise their reporting process using the Incident Management app,’ explains Rushad, ‘staff can now capture every bit of critical information thanks to the simplified reporting process. And it’s giving management and executives more clarity on incidents because the information is easier to collect.’
While new reporting technology can redefine workflows, increase efficiency and productivity, and reduce the risk of non-compliance, it ultimately allows care organisations to provide better care — something that should never be undervalued.
Better incident reporting with Bremmar
Are unconnected data and manual processes hindering your ability to remain compliant and provide the best care possible?
Here at Bremmar, we’re experts in assisting Not-For-Profits, Disability and Aged Care providers with customised solutions using Microsoft Power Apps. So, if you’d like to standardise your reporting processes, automate manual workflows, and remove the stress of collecting inaccurate data, don’t miss the deadline of December 1st.
To assist with this transition by the deadline, Bremmar is offering a no cost Power Apps planning, scoping and consultation session as well as adding 3 hours of Power Apps support to our base package for organisations that engage our team before the end of 2022. The support hours can be used towards champion user training or any other Power Apps requirement.
Click here to learn more.