Open Disclosure – Helping Hand

Open Disclosure

We care for and respect each of our clients and carers, and are proud of our personalised and professional care.

But sometimes things go wrong and an incident may occur, causing unintentional harm. It is important that we listen and communicate openly to prevent situations happening again and to ensure we provide the best care possible. This is called Open Disclosure.

Open disclosure is the discussion we have if something goes wrong that has caused harm, or had the potential to cause harm. Open disclosure is a two-way exchange that may take place over several meetings. Open disclosure is not a legal process or about placing blame. Open disclosure does not affect clients’ rights in any way.

If something has gone wrong, we can find out in the following ways:

  • by a client, family or representative telling us
  • by a staff member identifying the incident
  • through our internal complaints process
  • through our internal quality reviews, or
  • through the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission as part of a complaint or a quality assessment process.

Open disclosure aligns with the values of the Helping Hand Way and is a requirement of the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Open disclosure at Helping Hand

Stage One

Stage One is an informal process where staff talk openly with the client and/or their representative. The staff member will:

  • acknowledge that an incident has occurred
  • apologise or express regret including the words, ‘I am/we are sorry’
  • provide a factual explanation of what happened
  • provide an opportunity for the client and/or their representative to describe their experience
  • discuss any potential consequences of the incident
  • explain the steps being taken to:
    • manage the incident
    • determine what happened, and
    • prevent it from happening again.

The first discussion will normally take place within 24 hours of the incident.

Stage Two

Stage Two is a formal process which follows on from the informal discussion. This stage aids effective and timely communications between the client and/or their representative, the most senior staff member involved and a staff member acting on behalf of Helping Hand. The client and/or their representative may decide to proceed to the formal process for any client incident. If the client does not wish to go ahead with the formal discussion at the time of the incident, Helping Hand will provide details of a person that can be contacted later.

An open disclosure guide for consumers is available from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website.

Need more information? Read our useful fact sheets below.