Identifying and responding to an abusive situation

Identifying an abusive situation

It is important always to search for the cause of a change in a resident’s behaviour or unexplained physical symptom. If a resident shows one or more of the possible signs of abuse, it does not automatically mean she or he is being abused, but it must be reported. HHQ employee must report to a supervisor at the facility or next most senior manager if: 

  • a resident shows a change in behaviour or mood or any of the signs described above; 
  • you observe someone behaving towards a resident in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable; 
  • a resident tells you that they are being abused by another person; 
  • a person tells you that they are abusing a resident; 
  • a resident, staff member or visitor tells you that they have observed abusive acts; or
  • you observe an action or inaction that may be considered abusive. Note: Do not dismiss what a resident with dementia tells you as merely ‘dementia talk’. 

Responding to an abusive situation

Procedures for HHQ employee when reporting any form of abuse: 

  • reassure and comfort the older person; 
  • report directly to the supervisor; 
  • complete an incident form; 
  • record observations or discussions with (or concerning) the resident that might indicate that abuse has occurred; 
  • do not attempt to ask extra questions or to investigate in any way. That is not your role;
  • do not disturb the area or remove any items involved in the incident; and
  • report to the supervisor any additional changes or concerns that you think of or observe later. 

*Staff may report allegations or suspicions of physical or sexual abuse direct to the Department of Social Services (DSS)- Aged Care Complaints Scheme on 1800 550 552, if they feel unable to report their concerns to their supervisor or to a more senior manager of the facility*

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