An Australian first trial of CCTV in aged care has commenced in South Australia, as the Marshall Liberal Government aims to strengthen safeguards and enhance the safety and wellbeing of aged care residents.
The innovative trial is underway at two SA Health operated pilot sites – Northgate House and Mount Pleasant Aged Care in the Adelaide Hills.
The trial is the result of a $785,000 co-investment from the Commonwealth and State Governments.
Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said the Marshall Government was focused on enhancing the safety of aged care residents.
“Protecting South Australia’s most vulnerable is a key priority for the Marshall Liberal Government,” said Minister Wade.
“The 12-month trial aims to enhance resident safety and care, by providing greater visibility of adverse events and enabling staff to respond quickly and manage them effectively.
“The trial will provide the Government with valuable information about the viability of audio-visual surveillance and monitoring within residential care settings.
The CCTV trial will see recording devices placed in residents’ bedrooms and common areas, which are programmed to detect trigger movement and sounds, signalling the need for a rapid response.
The technology uses artificial intelligence to identify falls, calls for help, or unusual movements. This triggers an alert to be sent to operators at an independent monitoring centre, who then immediately alert nursing staff to respond.
Footage of the incident, including the minutes before and afterwards, are also retained and securely stored onsite for review by authorised personnel.
Director of the Office for Ageing Well, Cassie Mason, said SA Health has worked closely with residents, families and staff to explain how the trial will operate and will continue to seek feedback to ensure respect for privacy is maintained.
“We pride ourselves on delivering quality care to our residents, and their safety and privacy are top priorities,” said Ms Mason.
“Residents are able to choose whether to have their bedroom recording devices activated or not and can opt-in or out of participating at any time.
“The trial will allow us to assess whether this technology can contribute to improving quality of care, while maintaining the privacy and dignity of residents.”
An independent evaluator will work closely with residents, family, staff and South Australian technology provider Sturdie Pty Ltd to assess the trial and its success.
A steering committee of consumer, stakeholder and government representatives is overseeing the pilot and the outcomes will guide the future use of the technology in SA Health aged care facilities.