After years of delays, an Australian-first trial of CCTV cameras inside the rooms of aged care residents has finally started.
- A trial of CCTV in aged care was announced in 2019
- It has begun at two sites in South Australia
- Residents and families hope it will prevent abuse
The program is being piloted at two South Australian homes and follows the shocking findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality, which uncovered disturbing cases of abuse and mistreatment of some of our most vulnerable.
The South Australian Government announced it would trial the idea two years ago.
Five state-run sites were meant to be involved by the end of 2019, but that has shrunk to two.
The cameras have been switched on at the Mount Pleasant District Hospital’s aged care home in the Adelaide Hills.
Adelaide’s Northgate House is also involved in the trial.
Mount Pleasant resident Peg Roesler previously volunteered at the hospital and recently moved into the same facility after some recent health challenges.
“I’ve been in the place [Mount Pleasant] for 70 years, the same place, and it’s not easy to get up and leave it,” she said.
Ms Roesler, 97, said she felt safe at the nursing home, but her family was nervous about moving her into care after hearing the royal commission’s harrowing findings.
The CCTV technology being used will detect excessive noise and movement, triggering an alert to a reviewer who can instantly check the footage to see if an incident has occurred.
Only residents and families who have provided consent will take part in the trial.
Families will be able to watch their relatives in their bedrooms with their phones, but residents will not know when they are being watched by their loved ones.
The trial is being conducted in South Australia after a hidden camera in an Adelaide nursing home captured footage of a staff member appearing to attempt to suffocate an 89-year-old man.
Delay for ‘best possible product’
South Australian Health Minister Stephen Wade said the delay in starting the 12-month trial came about so the “best possible product” could be tested.
“We are investing primarily in the quality of the product — that did mean we are using fewer sites — but we are still confident that the basic value of the technology will be able to be properly tested throughout the two sites,” he said.
Mount Pleasant District Hospital nurse unit manager Katrina Rose said it was important to get everything sorted out before the trial began.
The trial was also delayed after British company Care Protect pulled out of the program.
Adelaide’s Sturdie Trade Services will be involved instead.