Should CCTV Surveillance of Staff and their Care be in Healthcare / Care Homes?


The Winterbourne Report in the UK revealed abuse against mentally-ill patients, and then the Care Quality Commission approved using hidden cameras to monitor care in 2015. However the Report of the European Court of Human Rights Use of Surveillance Cameras in the Workplace - Judged Unlawful suggests that relatives and care homes should not monitor staff covertly. What are the implications of this ruling to the care sector?

CCTV Surveillance
Elder Care
Learning Disabilities
Home Care
Home Design
Care Homes for Older People
Retirement Homes
Lawrence Perry MIoD FRSA
35 months ago

3 answers


As a Registered Nurse who has performed and supervised care in private homes, and also as a family member to an Intellectually Disabled Adult residing in a group home, I have some insight on both sides. From a professional standpoint, I would have no issues being monitored while performing my job, and feel that anyone performing professional or personal care services to individuals should always conduct their work as they would in front of anyone else, including cameras. I also understand how snippets of video can be edited and sensationalized, and elements of personal or nursing care could be misconstrued or lead to assumptions and misunderstandings. From a privacy standpoint, vulnerable individuals who are high risk for abuse also have a reasonable expectation of privacy, and closed circuit TV would not necessarily prevent those who would abuse this population from doing so. It merely means they would be more inclined to hide it from the cameras. If I ever had to install cameras, it would be because I was trying to 'catch' something I was already suspect about. Address the problem head on. Perhaps improving the integrity of hiring processes, adequate background checks, conducting reference checks, and screening personnel on the front side should be the first measure for abuse prevention, along with the appropriate supervisory oversight. If something is seen on a video monitor, it's already too late.

Lori Williams
35 months ago
Watch - Monitor - Surveil - Record - Report - Evaluate - Dr. David E. 22 months ago

Considering the population you are dealing with, I disagree that cameras should not be used. Mentally ill individuals are some of the most vulnerable  of our population. Their accounts of incidents may not be believed and they may not be able to speak on their on own behalf.  This would be an added protection. They need to be protected.    

Christine Bastone
35 months ago
Agree - many thanks - Dr. David E. 22 months ago

I couldn't agree with you more, Lori.  As a professional nurse leader, I would expect there to be a leadership team that had direct oversight of care providers to assure that appropriate, quality care was being provided.  Regular rounding by leaders is a must and frequent and open family visits would be encouraged.  It is in the absence of appropriate selection of candidates as well as a lack of oversight by leaders that would allow this vulnerable population to potentially be exploited.  I would use cameras as a last option.

Anne Tanner
35 months ago
Cameras rock - Dr. David E. 22 months ago
Real time surveillance - Dr. David E. 22 months ago

Have some input?