A Guide to NDIS Incident Reports and Templates
Producing clear, useful incident reports can be challenging, and that’s where incident report templates come into play. By having a template, you can ensure that all incident reports contain the necessary information — no matter how complex the incident or client’s supports are.
Read on as we explore how to support your team in writing effective and accurate incident notes.
Incident Reports vs Progress Notes: Understanding the Differences
After an incident, your staff may think they just need to fill out a regular end-of-shift progress note. However, incident notes are a key part of your incident management system and need to be treated differently.
Although incident reports can be written up within progress notes, you need to include specific information in them (more on that to come!). They also have to be stored in a set location that is easily accessible. You may want to share them with external bodies, including the participant and/or their friends and family, so make sure you have the infrastructure for this in place.
What’s more, after reportable incidents, you’ll also need to make a separate report to the NDIS via PRODA. For most reportable incidents, you’ll have 24 hours to do this. However, for certain incidents, you can take up to five working days. The NDIS recommends having established Authorised Reportable Incidents Approvers and Authorised Reportable Incidents Notifiers in charge of these steps.
Perhaps most importantly of all, your incident reports process needs to be detailed in an incidents report system document that staff can access.
Why Use an NDIS Incident Report Template?
Having a ready-made NDIS incident report template will help your support workers write clear, detailed notes. Without it, they may omit important details, such as who was present or witnesses’ contact details.
Since incidents will hopefully be infrequent, your staff are more likely to forget what to include or use their standard progress notes structure instead. This is particularly probable after an unsettling incident, such as the types that need to be reported to the NDIS. However, a template will help support workers structure the report and ensure that all the required information is included.
You can even create different templates for different types of incidents. For example, you might include more categories for suspected reportable incidents, e.g. “Reported to Authorised Reportable Incidents Approver?”.
How to Create an NDIS Incident Report Template
Designing an NDIS incident report template requires a little bit of planning, but it’s an investment that will pay off.
First, outline the information that you want in your incident reports, along with the corresponding categories that you could add to your template. At a minimum, the reports should include:
Who is filling in the report
Who the NDIS participant is
A description of what happened
The impact on the NDIS participant
The time, date and place of the incident
Who was involved in the incident
Contact details for any witnesses
A description of the actions taken to support the participant
Whether the incident was reported to the police and/or other organisations
However, you may want additional details. For example, when reporting an incident to the NDIS, you will be expected to also report:
Description of ongoing support in response to the incident
Why you consider this a reportable incident
Details of any investigation into the incident
An updated risk assessment based on how you will avoid this happening again
As such, you may wish to include categories in your NDIS incident report templates that will demonstrate that you immediately begin planning for ongoing support and investigations, e.g. a “Flagged as requiring additional support?” header.
Once you have your list, run through some hypothetical incidents to see if an incident report generated with this template would meet your standards. If not, add any additional categories you want.
Finally, you’re ready to build your NDIS incident report template. This should be as simple as creating customised headings in your NDIS software. However, if your software doesn’t allow you to custom-build templates, you may need to create a .docx file that support workers can copy and paste from instead.
Make sure the template is easy to access and linked to from your incident report system documentation.
How to Write an NDIS Incident Report
With your template in place, support workers should find writing an NDIS incident report straightforward. However, they should also bear these tips in mind:
Where possible, use objective language
Where possible, use quantifiable data, i.e. numbers
Use active voice, i.e. make the sentence subject the person doing the action — “I helped the participant to their feet” instead of “the participant was helped to their feet”
When reporting something the participant said, use their own words where possible
It’s important that support workers know they should never interview the person who is allegedly responsible for the incident. You can also download and share the NDIS’ six-step guide for workers responding to incidents.
Incident Reports Made Simpler for a Better Quality of Care
Incident reports are far too important to be left to chance. A systematic approach to them, including the use of NDIS incident report templates, will empower your team to always produce clear, well-written and detailed reports.
In turn, this will help you ensure better safety standards and quality of care, more accurate record-keeping and better audit preparation.
At ShiftCare, we consider documentation a priority. Our NDIS software makes incident and progress notes easy, with custom templates and a simple on-shift process for creating them. Plus, we have a raft of tools for incident report and progress note sharing, staff and client documentation, scheduling, billing and more.
Discover how ShiftCare can support you in running an NDIS-compliant, safety-first business with a free trial.