CANBERRA, AAP – Aged care providers must now keep a register of incidents such as neglect, stealing or abuse in a national bid to better protect older Australians.

From April 1, providers must used the Serious Incident Response Scheme to identify, record, manage and resolve all episodes.

Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck said the $67.2 million program would offer greater security and peace-of-mind for residents and their families.

Under the scheme, residential aged care providers are required to manage all incidents of abuse or neglect, with a focus on the safety, health, wellbeing and quality of life and reduce preventable incidents from occurring.

“Any mistreatment or assault of a care recipient is unacceptable and it is important that these incidents are managed and prevented from occurring in future,” Senator Colbeck said.

The scheme builds on the previous compulsory reporting and expands the range of incidents that must be reported to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

This includes unreasonable use of force, unlawful sexual contact and sexual misconduct, neglect, psychological or emotional abuse, stealing or financial coercion by a staff member, inappropriate use of restraint, unexplained absences and unexpected death.

Resident-on-resident incidents caused by someone with an assessed cognitive impairment will no longer be exempt from reporting.

The commission, which oversees the scheme, will also have stronger powers.