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Eight in 10 would welcome CCTV in care homes to protect vulnerable and elderly from abuse

EIGHT in 10 people say they would agree to allowing their loved ones to be filmed 24 hours a day when in a care or residential home to protect them from neglect and abuse. It comes as more than half of people questioned in a national survey said their biggest fear when putting an elderly relative into a home would be that they’d be treated with a lack of genuine care and kindness.

The statistics have today been revealed as part of our ‘Love Our Vulnerable and Elderly’ (LOVE) campaign which calls for CCTV systems to be installed in all care and residential homes across the UK, in a bid to prevent cases of abuse and neglect.

It follows an increasing number of cases in which concerned families have caught care home staff either abusing or neglecting their loved ones by secret filming and recording.

Care home abuse and neglect specialists

Our team of care home abuse and neglect specialists at Hudgell Solicitors are currently representing a number of families who have each turned to secret filming after complaints and concerns raised with home operators and managers made little impact on the quality of care provided.

Through our campaign, we hope to gain support across the country – and in Parliament – for CCTV systems, whilst raising awareness of the abuse and neglect currently happening in many care homes.

Ultimately, we are campaigning for the vulnerable and elderly to be loved, protected, respected and treated with dignity at all times when in care.

We are also supporting campaigning mum Lisa Smith, 34, of Rochdale, who took her 86-year-old dementia suffering father out of care on Christmas Eve last year, labelling the four years he was in care as ‘a living nightmare’.

She established an e-petition calling for mandatory CCTV in care homes, a petition which will ensure a Government response if it reaches 10,000 signatures, and a debate in parliament if backed by 100,000.

More the 1,000 have signed the petition since we started campaigning last week, winning support from relatives of those in care, and many who currently work within the care industry.

The national research, commission as part of our campaign and carried out by an independent research company, revealed an increasing openness to CCTV footage being used in care homes, as relatives believe this would make them safer from abuse and neglect.

It found that:

  • 83% of those surveyed would agree to their relative being filmed 24-hours a day – or would go as far as filming secretly if they felt a loved one was not being cared for.
  • 4 in 10 would not trust a care home or residential home to provide a safe environment for their loved one.
  • 55% said their biggest fear when putting a loved one into a care or residential home would be a lack of genuine care and kindness.

Perhaps significantly, the survey also clearly identified a lack of confidence in the care industry, as;

  • 23% said that they were aware of someone that has suffered from poor quality care in a care or residential home.
  • 55% of people questioned said that media stories relating to abuse and neglect have put them off placing a loved one in a care or residential home.

Renu DalyRenu Daly, a specialist in handling claims of abuse and neglect at Hudgell Solicitors, spoke about the issue on BBC Television, and says the survey results demonstrate the need for major change across the care industry.

She said: “What is abundantly clear from these survey results is that there is now a complete mistrust of the care industry in terms of providing a safe, loving environment for elderly and vulnerable loved ones.

“That is a sad situation, as we know there are many superb care providers across the UK, with staff who work exceptionally hard, often in difficult circumstances, to provide a loving, caring environment where vulnerable, elderly residents can feel happy and at home.

“Unfortunately, there have been too many cases, many of which have been in the national media, in which poor standards of care and abuse have not been prevented. It is simply not acceptable to keep hearing the excuses of ‘isolated incidents’. It should not be happening at all.

“The introduction of CCTV cameras can help improve standards across the board, but also protect those homes performing to a consistently high standard, as they will not be subject to false accusations of poor care.

“There should be nowhere to hide, and for those falling below the required standards, CCTV would bring about an immediate improvement in performance.”

Hudgell Solicitors has outlined benefits for residents, families and care home operators and staff it feels would be gained from CCTV use being made compulsory.

It says benefits for families and residents will include;

  • Increased protection against abuse, both physical and mental, by care home staff or other residents
  • Greater confidence when placing their relatives within the care industry
  • Opportunities to view the care on their relatives beyond limited visiting hours.

Benefits for care and residential home operators will include;

  • Protection for staff against false or malicious allegations of poor or abusive care
  • Clear-cut evidence against unjustified legal and insurance claims
  • Extra observational aids for caring for residents when short staffed.
  • Improved security

Ms Daly added: “Residents’ privacy is often used as a reason against having CCTV, but at present, they have no option at all, as there is no CCTV coverage. This survey has shown overwhelming support.

“We know relatives would feel happier with CCTV cameras in use, and surely the option now for relatives and patients should to ‘opt out’ of filming in private rooms if they wish, with all communal areas subject to round-the-clock filming.”

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