Edith Cowan University has embarked on a study to assess views and attitudes toward using closed-circuit television to improve patient safety in aged care homes.

WHY IT MATTERS

In a previous pilot study by ECU, it was found that 57% of family members would like for CCTV systems to be used within public spaces. The study was conducted at a Perth aged care facility, of which only 38% of residents said the same.

ECU hopes that its new study will build on its previous pilot study to guide the potential use of CCTV within residential aged care facilities.

This comes after evidence provided to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety identified that some families installed hidden security cameras in loved ones' rooms out of concern, according to lead researcher Dr Caroline Vafeas.

The project is titled ‘CCTV use in Residential Aged Care Facilities in Australia: The viewpoint of residents’ family and facility staff’.

WHAT IT DOES

The new ECU study aims to take a deep dive into exactly how security cameras could be used to heighten patient safety in aged care homes. According to the university, the study’s objective is to field views regarding the use of CCTV within common areas, and within private bedroom or bathroom areas of aged care facilities.

Researchers seek to achieve this by surveying family members and residential aged care facility staff, who have been invited by ECU to complete a questionnaire for the project. According to ECU, the survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete.

Subsequently, the survey is intended to give a snapshot of community perspectives around the usage of CCTV.

Dr Vafeas also said that the survey seeks to analyse how residents and staff feel about current levels of safety and the quality of care within aged care facilities. She emphasised the importance of needing to engage with residents, families, and staff who would be most affected by any new measures.

THE LARGER TREND

Following findings by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that revealed the abuse of elderly, Australia has ramped up its efforts to study the need for CCTV in aged care homes, and potential implications.

Earlier this year in April, the South Australian government began running an Australian-first trial of CCTV cameras within the rooms of aged care residents. The trials are ongoing at the Mount Pleasant District Hospital's aged care home in the Adelaide Hills, and Adelaide’s Northgate House.

ON THE RECORD

“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,” said Dr Vafeas.

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

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