Can body cameras reduce violence and aggression in Care Homes?

Can body cameras reduce violence and aggression in Care Homes?

29/05/2019

A staggering 71% of care home workers have faced violence and aggression in their workplace, with the most common type of abuse being verbal. In the UK alone, police recorded 1200 assaults between residents living at care homes between 2014 and 2016.

Able Training Support (ABS)said that the anger, confusion and fear that people with dementia experience can sometimes result in aggressive and violent behaviour, which puts care workers at risk.

Professor Martin Green, chief executive of Care England, believes the industry needs to find ways to deal with rising aggression towards staff: "As we see more people with different types of dementias and exhibiting more challenging behaviours, we have to have a system that's ready to respond to that."

Care homes are not alone in facing a growing number of attacks and violence. The NHS is experiencing a similar epidemic of aggression. The NHSBA Physical Assaults on Staff Report revealed that since 2010 there has been a 24% increase in the number of incidents against staff.

The most recent NHS Staff survey showed that more than 15% of NHS employees have experienced violence from patients, their relatives or the public in the last 12 months – the highest figure for 5 years.

As a result, The NHS Violence Reduction Strategy was launched in October last year, demonstrating that the challenges are being taken seriously, and steps are being introduced to better protect nursing staff whilst also improving quality of care. 

The Strategy includes £2m dedicated to programmes around reducing violence, bullying and harassment against NHS staff. With this backing, Trusts around the country are looking to introduce specialist body cameras as a tool to address the rising challenges.

Body cameras have already proven themselves to be an effective deterrent of aggression and false complaints within policing, with every police force in the UK now routinely utilising the technology. But it’s not just police who could benefit from them being used.

The NHS have demonstrated that it is feasible to roll out the technology in an inpatient, care focused setting. In a published study, body cameras were shown to reduce the level of violent incidents and instances of use of emergency restraint at Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (NHFT).

Compared to the same period the previous year the need for emergency restraints (where there was a high or immediate risk of harm) went down from 41 incidents to 18. There were also no complaints regarding restraints during the study period compared to two, in the same period a year earlier.

These results are particularly interesting as the Violence Reduction Strategy includes a strong emphasis on a “No Force First” approach, aimed at finding alternatives to physical restraints as a means of supporting people who become distressed.

Body cameras are only part of the wider strategy being actioned, but, as a standalone solution that can make significant improvements to patient and staff safety, are they something that should also be considered in the Care Home Industry?

Learn more about how the NHS are using body cameras here

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