One of the leading care homes for older people chains is set to offer the installation of CCTV cameras in the rooms of residents in a bid to help stop neglect, theft and abuse by staff.
HC-One runs about 227 homes across Britain and after conducting a public opinion survey found the results indicated an 80% support for this service. The service would be offered as an opt-in, which means that residents and their families need to agree to the use of the camera.
This announcement comes ahead of a BBC Panorama programme due to be screened on Wednesday which shows neglect and mistreatment of residents of two care homes – one of which is operated by HC-One.
The Chairman of HC-One, Dr Chai Patel, stated that the secret filming revealed distressing, shocking failings and action had been taken as soon as the company became aware of it. However, he stated that more should be done to ensure that residents are safe.
The use of CCTV in care settings was last autumn floated by the Care Quality Commission. The commission was concerned about the filming of intimate care procedures.
A Comres survey involving 2000 adults was carried out on behalf of HC-One earlier this month. The results indicated that 36% strongly support the installation of cameras, while 44% somewhat supported the installations, and 14% were opposed to the idea.
HC-One’s Head of Risk Management, Martin Lothian, has stated that the company has been considering this move since they first viewed the secretly filmed footage during 2012. However, the use of CCTV cameras in care homes comes with other difficulties.
The company’s care home due to be featured in the television programme is Oban House, based in Croydon, London. Seven of the staff members at the care home were suspended after the footage was made available to the company and they were all later dismissed. Two of the staff members have received convictions for assault, and one is lodging an appeal. HC-One has stated that their staffing levels have been increased, and their training levels have been improved at the care home. They have also spent about £450,000 on physical improvements.
The Chair of the Relatives and Residents Association, Judy Downey, said that they consider voluntary use of cameras to have its place in care homes, but it should not be used as a substitute for kind and good care offered by staff that have been trained professionally, and are well managed and supported.
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