Over seven in ten back mandatory CCTV in care homes, Signature poll shows

Kay Cox, chief operating officer, at Signature Senior Lifestyle
Kay Cox, chief operating officer, at Signature Senior Lifestyle

Over seven in ten (71%) people favour making CCTV mandatory in care homes, a poll commissioned by Signature Senior Lifestyle has found.

The poll, which was commissioned by Signature at Reigate Grange via Savanta, shows 51% of the public want cameras in resident bedrooms and 69% would be more likely to choose a care home with CCTV in communal areas.

Kay Cox, chief executive officer, Signature Senior Lifestyle, said: “The data shows there is a clear desire amongst the public for care providers and the government to drive forward improvements across the sector. From improving training to using technology to keep older people safe, the public wants to see concerted action to transform social care.”

Signature at Reigate Grange installed cameras in the bedrooms of residents who are living with dementia having secured universal backing from family members. Signature now plans to expand the project to nine more care homes as part of a comprehensive dementia care support package. 

Cox added: “The Reigate Grange safety monitoring pilot has been game changing by allowing us to offer truly personalised care and employee coaching. The technology is especially valuable in supporting residents living with dementia given they are particularly vulnerable and less able to communicate their needs and experiences.”

Signature has partnered with Care Campaign for the Vulnerable (CCFTV), a campaigning organisation run by Jayne Connery that is calling on the government to make safety monitoring technology (the name given to the use of CCTV in a care setting) mandatory in all care homes.  

In further findings from the poll, 76% agreed the government should introduce a professional register for care workers and 79% agreed there should be higher minimum training standards for care workers, rising to 90% of those aged 55+. Despite this, care work was still viewed as a respected career choice by 61% of respondents. 

Jayne Connery, director of CCFTV, told Caring Times: “CCFTV is simply delighted that Signature Senior Living has fully embraced independent safety monitoring as an integral part of their quality audit processes. It really is encouraging to not only see the positive impact at Reigate Grange, but also to note that management have committed to further systems at most of their other care homes.

“We are hopeful that as Signature continue to see the benefits both in terms of quality outcomes and greater levels of occupancy, other providers will then follow suit. It is clearly in all stakeholders interests to adopt safety monitoring.

“Families have much greater reassurance about care standards, residents themselves have an independent advocate in the reviewer role, staff can benefit from more targeted training and be protected from vexatious complaints and regulators can view footage around an untoward event and make a decision based on visual evidence.

“Providers should also see improved business performance levels as families prioritise selecting homes with independent safety monitoring in place.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “Abuse of any kind is abhorrent and we’re determined to stop it. Any use of surveillance must consider and protect the human rights, privacy and dignity of those it seeks to record and cannot be seen as the only way to ensure people are receiving safe and compassionate care.

“Tougher inspections aim to ensure abuse is caught and dealt with, and the government has made sure that across the country, the police, councils and NHS are working together to help protect adults with care and support needs from abuse or other types of exploitation.

“The Care Quality Commission has published clear guidance on using surveillance in care settings, which states this must consider the privacy and dignity of those it seeks to record.”

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