Families with concerns about possible abuse their loved ones have to endure in care homes are to receive official guidance on how to implement surveillance.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) guidance is due to be released by the end of this month and is being regarded as official endorsement of spying.
The guidance will also be made available to care-home managers who are considering the use of surveillance for staff members. This move comes after a number of scandals have been revealed by the use of this method.
The chief inspector of adult social care at the CQC, Andrea Sutcliffe, said many people disagree with her suggestion that cameras should be installed, however the method should only be utilised as a last resort.
She said the commission decided that the most appropriate way forward is to issue guidance to allow the relatives and providers to be aware of the issues involved.
She stated that respecting people’s dignity is the most important issue.
There is a division in opinions on the issuance of the guidance.
Some people argue that this is the only way in which to protect the vulnerable, but others fear that care-home residents’ privacy will be infringed and staff will become de-motivated.
The director of the care-home directory, carehome.co.uk, said there is a need to inspire, train and support the next generation of carers, and not to create a big-brother environment where people are afraid to enter this very important career.
There have been several high-profile cases where secret cameras in care homes exposed abuse.
During April, filming done by the BBC at the Old Deanery in Essex showed elderly patients being taunted, slapped and left to cry out for help.
The investigation suggested that hundreds of care homes were ignoring warnings that pensioners are being placed at risk.
The guidance forms part of an overall adjustment to the methods used for inspection of the 18000 care homes and 7000 providers in England, and to try and rebuild the public’s trust in these entities.
The care minister, Norman Lamb, suggested that the use of surveillance has his support.
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