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Sunday, October 24, 2021

New study to shed light on surveillance cameras in aged care

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A new ECU project will investigate how security cameras could be used to improve patient safety in aged care homes.

ECU researchers are surveying residential aged care facility staff and family members to understand their views and attitudes about closed circuit television monitoring (CCTV) and how it is used. 

The survey follows a previous ECU pilot study at one Perth aged care facility, which found that 57 per cent of family members and 38 per cent of residents would like CCTV used in public spaces. The study also found 48 per cent of family members and 25 per cent of residents would like it used in bedrooms.

Lead researcher Dr Caroline Vafeas said she hopes the findings from both studies will help inform the potential future use of cameras in residential aged care facilities.

“At the moment CCTV monitoring is not widely used by the aged care sector for patient safety, however there are growing community calls for cameras to provide stronger protections for vulnerable residents,” Vafeas said.

“Evidence provided to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified that some families have installed hidden security cameras in their loved one’s room because they are concerned regarding their care and safety.

“We want to identify people’s concerns and opinions of surveillance in the residential aged care sector, how it may be used, for what purposes and if the use of cameras may be beneficial for private or common areas or both.

“We are also seeking to understand how family members of residents and staff feel about the current level of safety and quality of care and how this is being monitored by aged care facilities.”

Vafeas said the royal commission has highlighted the need for more input from residents, family and staff into safety and privacy issues.

“[It] has uncovered some very concerning issues around the protection and care of our most vulnerable population,” she said.

“CCTV is one tool that is being explored in some states, but importantly we need to engage with the residents, families and staff who will be most affected by any new actions or measures.

“The rights, privacy and safety of residents should be at the very heart of any decisions.”

Aged care staff and families of residents are being invited to complete the 10-15 minute survey that will give a snapshot of community attitudes and views around the potential use of CCTV. Complete the survey here.

The study is part of ECU’s new Centre for Research in Aged Care, which was established in 2020. Click here to learn more about their work.

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