Is Surveillance In Care Homes Needed

Date Added 01.03.16

When someone we love goes into a care home because we are not able to meet their health and care needs we assume they will receive good care.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

People in Care Homes can suffer neglect and abuse.

I act for those clients. The majority of these clients do not have the capacity to act for themselves, normally because of a medical condition such as dementia, so it is family members who approach us.

In order for them to come to me they will have raised concerns with members of staff and management of the Care Home but they are not listened to and without evidence the neglect or abuse continues with their concerns are not addressed by the management of the care home.

Families I speak to are distressed and anxious, they are often left in a situation where they feel they have to prove that their loved one is being neglected or abused before their concerns are taken seriously by the Care Home or the Local Adult Safeguarding Team.  This can lead them to take the decision to install a recording device in order to obtain evidence to prove the neglect or abuse.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) issued guidance on the use of hidden cameras to monitor care in   February 2015 as a result of families highlighting abuse and neglect by the use of hidden cameras but I do feel that families need more than this guidance.

Cameras and Privacy

When we talk about surveillance in a Care Home we are not just talking about cameras or CCTV in every room.

I appreciate a lot of the press regarding surveillance in care homes has been about cameras and maintaining a person’s dignity.  There are ways to ensure people are protected by using appropriate surveillance and ensuring their human rights and dignity are not affected.

The right surveillance can be used to protect a person’s privacy and be a preventative measure from abuse or neglect. It can provide evidence of abuse and neglect so that action can be taken to put a stop to it and improve the resident’s life.

As well as cameras there are Care Homes that have been testing audio recording, movement and activity monitoring such as motion activated audio-recording or cameras. Video footage can be pixelated to protect a person’s dignity.

Recordings can ensure that images, speech and data can be scrambled and held securely so that the information is only accessed in particular agreed circumstances therefore ensuring that the dignity of the residents are protected.

An example of when recordings can help: a resident is losing a significant amount of weight.  If that person has been assessed as needing one to one support when eating and drinking but they are being left with the food in front of them which is then later taken away, untouched, the recording would identify if support is being offered, what support is being offered and if that support could be improved.

Surveillance and Care Staff

We talk about protecting residents but let’s not forget that surveillance can also add protection for care staff.

If allegations are made against a particular care worker, the surveillance footage can be reviewed to investigate those allegations.

At the moment it is only when families identify neglect or abuse that steps are taken or if a carer is brave enough to whistleblow that abuse and neglect are identified. We are aware of considerable problems within the care home industry about the quality of care that is provided which can often be the result of understaffing.  If a carer raises an understaffing issue with their employer at present, there is nothing to persuade the employer to ensure more staff are on shift.

Your Voice Matters

Tollers Solicitors are proud to support “Your Voice Matters” a community interest company set up by Jenny Moore to highlight the issues of poor care in care homes and provide advice and support to families and care staff.

Jenny has done a number of radio interviews over the last week highlighting the benefits of surveillance in care homes and discussing the difficulties that families have when they feel that their loved ones may be neglected or abused but cannot prove them.

Your Voice Matters is campaigning for legislation to ensure that surveillance is placed in all care homes to protect both residents and staff.

This the link to their website They have a specific area dedicated to advice and support for care staff and families, here is the link to their campaign for surveillance in care homes.

Do I support surveillance on Care Homes?

Yes. It is my view with appropriate surveillance, which take into account a person’s dignity and human rights, residents will be offered protection and remedy when abuse or neglect has occurred. Therefore I support the right surveillance in care homes. I also acknowledge the protection surveillance can give to care staff.

Whatever the type of surveillance obtained it is very important to ensure that the data is encrypted and securely stored to enable it to be available if any concerns are raised and that the people who have been recorded have their personal dignity protected.

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