In Australia, retailer’s are reporting that they’ve experienced a rise in ‘spy camera’ purchases as an increasing number of resident’s families say they want to keep an eye on their older loved ones.
This sale spike might have something to do with the current Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, where a number of shocking and sad stories have emerged. Families may be fearful that their loved ones are being abused, and believe the technology could give them peace of mind. Such camera’s have also been used in New Zealand rest homes for the same reasons. The Commission has heard plenty of calls for the mandatory use of CCTV cameras in all common areas of aged care homes – something that most homes in Australia already have.
While it is very understandable that families want to guarantee the highest level of safety and care for their parents or grandparents, legal experts are also urging anyone who is seriously considering the use of cameras in a loved ones’ home to make sure they’re doing their research before installing a device – and consider any potential legal consequences.
Firstly, if you are considering the use of a camera, it’s vital that you first get consent from the facility you plan to use it in. It is illegal to secretly install surveillance without the facility’s knowledge – because it’s not just the privacy of your loved one or other residents that is involved, but also the privacy of aged care staff who work in the home.
Secondly, it is incredibly important that the person whose room you want to install the camera in gives their permission too – and is completely aware of all aspects of the surveillance. And even in the instance that you obtain consent from both the facility and a resident, remember that publicly publishing the footage you record may not be legal either.
Seek legal advice before moving forward with any use of a camera, if that is what you want to do.
There are other roads to go down if you do suspect abuse or neglect is occurring. If you do suspect any form of elder abuse there are other things you can do. This includes making use of the Elder Abuse Response Service. Freephone: 0800 32 668 65. Registered nurses will listen and advise anyone who needs information or support. If needed, callers will be referred to a local Elder Abuse Response Service.
If there is immediate danger call 111 for the police or ambulance.
Bring your concerns up with the facility manager, they will have procedures in place for this type of thing. If this is not successful, or if the concern is about management, or if you think it would be better addressed elsewhere you can ‘talk it over’ with Age Concern or contact NASC for advice. You can also call the nationwide health & disability advocacy service. This service is free, independent and confidential. Call 0800 555 050.
Any abuse or neglect should not be tolerated. Seek immediate professional advice.