How can you be certain about staff, service user and visitor behaviour in your care home?

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Dementia care quality: The need for certainty about actions and behaviour

The statistics around dementia illustrate the scale of the challenge facing society in general and the care sector in particular. There are approximately 420,000 over 65s living in care homes and many of those have mental impairment.

In total, in and out of care settings, some 800,000 people aged 65 and over are living with dementia. In the mid-term, the ageing population means there is a significant need to create tens of thousands more care home places.

For anyone faced with the prospect of having to enter a care home, or those considering entrusting care of a relative to an appropriate organisation, the subject of abuse is likely to be the source of considerable anxiety.

Although incidences of abuse are low, they make headline news; the perception of the problem is amplified and it can be made to seem a widespread issue rather than something that is the exception to the rule. The reputation of a care organisation is difficult to rebuild once it has been tarnished by concerns over care quality.

This is not just about the quality of care. In addition to making sure all procedures are performed to the right quality standard, there is a real need to ensure the behaviour from all sides -  staff, service users and visitors - is appropriate.

In some cases, depending on the severity of impairment, service users may not be able fully relate instances of poor treatment and abuse, or the theft of property or money. In other instances, service users may behave inappropriately or be abusive towards staff.

The value of CCTV in assuring dementia care quality

The increasing use of CCTV demonstrates an undeniable fact: It is simply the single most effective method of deterring undesirable behaviour. It follows that CCTV and other compliant, appropriate, integrated security measures are invaluable for ensuring the delivery of safe, high quality dementia and nursing home care.

The position of the highest authority in England, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), is one of ‘conscious neutrality’. It does not provide guidance on whether to use or not use surveillance systems and the CQC does not require providers to use surveillance. Perhaps the best way to interpret this is the CQC believes the decision to deploy CCTV is better left in the hands of each individual care home.  

There is a significant public debate around the use CCTV monitoring. Hi Definition (HD) footage enables individuals to be identified. Civil liberties campaigners warn of the ubiquitous nature  of cameras and the potential for abuse of personal data laws. And they have a point. All CCTV images need to be in handled in full compliance with the regulatory framework.

Compliance, complexity and concern

The use of CCTV in your dementia care or nursing home setting must be in line with the compliance framework, most directly determined by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) CCTV Code of Practice, the Data Protection Act, 1998 (DPA) and additional legislative instruments including the Freedom of Information Act, 2000, the Human Rights Act, 1998 (HRA), and the Protection of Freedoms Act, 2102.

From the 25th May 2018 the ICO will be the enforcing the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which overhauls the protection of personal information, including video footage from which individuals may be identified.

There are a number of factors that create complexity and which may give cause for concern, including:

  • Monitoring of areas designated as Public, Communal and Private

  • The overt use of CCTV and the appropriate use of covert monitoring

  • Liberty and restraint and the use of RFID tagging

However, correctly installed, operated and managed, CCTV and integrated security monitoring is able to provide assurance around such issues and provides certainty of behaviour by staff, service users and visitors to a care home.

Make stretched budgets go further with CCTV

The latest advanced video analytics and automated monitoring solutions simplify operation and reduce the need for human monitoring of footage. The latest software is able to monitor video footage in real-time and send alerts when specified behaviours or conditions are observed by cameras.

Such technology can notify care workers to situations as they happen. With resources stretched, staff may not be able to be everywhere, however, an appropriately designed and operated CCTV solution makes them instantly aware of where they are needed.

Create a safer care home with CCTV security monitoring from iC2

For help and expert guidance on any aspect of using CCTV to create a safer environment in which to give and receive dementia care, simply contact iC2 CCTV on 020 3747 1800 or visit

See us at Dementia Care and Nursing Home Expo 2018 on Stand 7082.