31st July 2017
Update December 2017: For more information about investigations into disability service provision at the time of a person’s death, please see blog entry dated 15 December 2017. Click here to find out more.
Update September 2017: These powers have been strengthened as of 12 September 2017. Click here to find out more.
Starting 31 July 2017, Disability Services Commissioner (DSC) will be responsible for reviewing deaths that occur in Victorian disability services. This new function is the result of an expanded referral from the Minister for Housing, Disability and Ageing (s. 16(c) of the Disability Act 2006), received by DSC on 26 July 2017.
Here are some key things you will need to know.
What will DSC be looking for?
In reviewing deaths in disability services, DSC will focus on identifying the factors that may have led to the death – e.g. health and support planning, risk management, service policies, service provider actions and responses.
In conducting a review, DSC may examine service records and other relevant records such as hospital and GP records. We will also ask service providers to provide more information through documentation, discussions, or other means.
Who will you work with?
DSC will be working with the Department of Health and Human Services (the department) and the Coroners Court of Victoria in conducting reviews of deaths in disability services.
Each division of the department will send Category One incident reports of unusual or unexpected disability client deaths to DSC. DSC will also receive referrals of deaths from the State Coroner if the individual was a person with a disability receiving services at the time of their death.
What happens after a review?
DSC will provide advice biannually to the department on any practice and systemic issues in disability services that have been identified through reviews of incident reports.
Where can I find out more?
If you have further questions, you may contact DSC on 1300 728 187 or DSCDeathReview@odsc.vic.gov.au for more information.
We expect that there will be further changes to this new review function following the passage of the Disability Amendment Bill 2017 through Victorian Parliament. We will continue to update this information when appropriate.