woman falling in bedroom

The  SA Health CCTV pilot programme in aged care is an Australian-first, set up to explore the acceptability and viability of using audio-visual surveillance and monitoring in residential care settings. The pilot programme is a response to the disturbing cases of abuse and mistreatment that were revealed at the Royal Commission probe into Aged Care in Australia.

Initially, it was proposed that five state-run sites would be involved in the pilot, but this has now been reduced to two. The year-long trial will commence shortly in two SA Health operated sites, Northgate House and Mount Pleasant District Hospital’s Residential Aged Care Service.

The pilot programme involves the installation of CCTV cameras and sound recording devices in both common areas and bedrooms of the facilities. Only those residents and families who have consented will be part of the trial. The CCTV pilot project is voluntary and recording devices in residents’ bedrooms will only be activated with the consent of the resident or their guardian/substitute decision-maker. Cameras have also been installed in outside common areas. Consent may be withdrawn at any stage during the trial.

Residents, families/representatives, staff and unions have been provided with information sessions and regular progress updates during the planning and installation phases to assist them in understanding how the technology works and what it means to participate in the pilot.

The recording devices are programmed to detect predetermined visual and sound “triggers” such as falls or calls for help. When this occurs, the analytics in the recording device sends a plain text alert to an independent monitoring centre, who will then immediately contact the facility to advise that an event has occurred.

The trial was delayed after British company Care Protect pulled out of the proposed programme, and was replaced by Adelaide’s Sturdie Trade Services as the technology partner.

Footage of a “trigger” event, including the minutes before and afterwards, is automatically retained and stored securely in a locked server room on-site. This can be reviewed by an authorised person as required.

According to South Australian Health Minister Stephen Wade, they are investing primarily in the quality of the product which meant using fewer sites. They are confident that the basic value of the technology will be able to be properly tested over the two sites.

Given the broad interest from aged care facilities in the use of this technology, SA Health has engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers to undertake a comprehensive evaluation of the pilot. Included in this evaluation will be a range of residents’ experience measures, as well as staff acceptability and quality and safety improvement measures.

Sturdie Trade Services is wholly Australian-owned and has achieved substantial organic growth. It is now an award-winning, multi-disciplined service provider throughout Australia and New Zealand.