Professionalism and trust
By Caring Times editor Geoff Hodgson
There has been a lot of sober discussion recently – via online ‘Linked In’ forums and the like, about the use of CCTV cameras in care homes. There have also been numerous comments on the topic from various organisations representing older people.
The overall sentiment is overwhelmingly anti – most concede that cameras may have a role to play where abuse or neglect is suspected, but are firmly opposed to the routine, everyday use of cameras, visible or hidden. Nor do ‘opt in’ schemes, where residents and their families can choose whether or not to have a camera installed in a resident’s room, find much favour.
I find myself in accord with the prevailing sentiment. The use of cameras gives care workers a clear message from employers and residents’ families, and the message is “We don’t trust you; we have no faith in your training, your professionalism, in your humanity”.
In an ‘opt in’ scheme, the home manager is going to have to explain the option, and the reasons for it, to prospective residents and their families. This is unlikely to be much of a ‘selling point’ – several people I have asked said they would not place their loved one in a home which felt the need to offer the option of installing a camera in a resident’s room.
CCTV is no substitute for staff who are well-selected, well managed, well trained and well rewarded. I recently attended a training day for care home workers and I was impressed with how the trainer made a huge effort to inculcate a sense of professional pride, to reinforce the staff’s role as the residents’ advocate and to make them feel that they could ‘whistle-blow’ without fear. I spoke with several of those attending the training day and I felt hugely encouraged by their enthusiasm, their level of engagement and understanding. I would have had no difficulty in entrusting them with the care of my mum. Cameras are a cop-out.
– The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.