Photo of senior woman looking apprehensive

Guidelines on the use of force in aged care

“Why is force being used against patients in aged care facilities, are there rules around it, and is it ever warranted?” asks an article on the SBS News website.

Published: 25 May 2023
  • national
  • 25 May 2023
  • SBS News

The report details two separate incidents involving elderly women with dementia that have raised questions about the actions of police and the use of force. Both incidents took place in aged care homes and resulted in frail women being hospitalised, with one now receiving end-of-life care.

The article looks at police guidelines on the use of force and states the NSW Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 says a police officer "may use such force as is reasonably necessary" to make an arrest or prevent an escape.

In addition, NSW Police guidelines say an officer can use a stun gun when violent resistance is occurring or is imminent or when an officer is in danger of being overpowered.

When it comes to aged care facilities, SBS says the federal government's Aged Care Quality Standards require aged care service providers to have systems in place to provide protections and safeguards around delivery of care and services.

Facilities are required to respond effectively to incidents of abuse, to report any relevant incidents, and to raise awareness in the organisation to lower the risk of elder abuse.

The government's Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) is designed to be used after incidents and near misses (situations that did not result in harm, but could have) and aims to support those affected and reduce the risk of recurrence.

The government also funds Dementia Training Australia to deliver the Dementia Training Program, and the revised Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) will include mandatory components on supporting people with dementia, reports SBS.

Read the full article here.