Australian-first trial of CCTV in aged care facilities to begin in SA

South Australia will lead the nation in the rollout of a cutting-edge surveillance and monitoring system in aged care facilities, to better protect the safety and wellbeing of vulnerable residents.

The Morrison Liberal Government is investing $500,000 in the 12-month trial which will run across at least five SA Health managed aged care facilities, starting in the second half of the year.

Premier Steven Marshall said the State Government will deliver the Australian-first pilot in partnership with Care Protect – a company which specialises in audio-visual monitoring systems and services in health and social care settings.

“In the shadow of Oakden and the Commonwealth Aged Care Royal Commission, protecting South Australia’s most vulnerable is one of my Government’s highest priorities,” Premier Marshall said.

“This CCTV pilot will strengthen the safeguards in place for our frail, older population, provide greater transparency than ever before and hopefully give loved ones greater peace of mind that their loved ones are receiving quality care.”

Federal Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, said it’s evident that there are widespread concerns about the quality and safety of vulnerable adults across Australia.

“Covert filming by individuals has sadly exposed poor quality of care and malpractice in some aged care settings,” Minister Wyatt said.

“The community has been asking for this and today we deliver an initiative which will result in stronger protections for our elderly residents, reduced adverse incidents and improved standards of care.”

Care Protect successfully provides the video and audio surveillance system in residential care settings in the UK but this is the first time the smart technology will be rolled out in Australia.

The technology detects excessive noise and movement and light changes, triggering an alert to a reviewer who can view the footage within seconds of an event happening.

All footage is stored off site in a secure and protected web-based setting and is monitored 24/7 by an independent team of highly experienced and qualified clinical experts.

South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing, Stephen Wade, said the trial will only be conducted with residents and families who have provided full informed consent.

“The Care Protect technology can allow for personalised access rights, so different people can view different cameras. Relatives of residents, a unit manager, through to senior staff responsible for a group of units would only be able to monitor footage within a clear framework,” Minister Wade said.

“The resident is our priority – their care, their safety and their privacy. Should a resident not want their room to be filmed, the camera in their room will be disabled.

“SA Health will work closely with residents, families and staff to shape this important pilot.”

A steering committee with a diverse range of consumer, stakeholder and government representatives will oversee the pilot. The committee will then assess its success and how it’s received in the community.

The outcomes of the pilot will guide the future use of the technology in SA Health aged care facilities.

The project is being funded through the Commonwealth Dementia and Aged Care Services fund.

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