There are many useful applications for spy cameras, including protecting relatives and loved ones. Surveillance cameras and other monitoring systems have been. Still, they are used in care homes, installed by worried people wanting to ensure that their elderly or disabled relatives receive the high standard of care they are entitled to. However, the use of cameras in care homes is a controversial topic.

Over the last few years, there have been multiple cases where spy cameras have managed to record footage which demonstrates very poor standards of care in certain facilities and some cases, quite shocking examples of neglect and abuse. Many care workers feel that using private cameras to 'spy' on daily life in care homes breaches privacy, leading to distrust and paranoia.

It was recently reported that the Royal College of Nurses recently held a vote on concealed video and audio surveillance in care homes, with more than 75% opposing their use. This is unsurprising, as the majority of the hard-working, diligent staff who work in the UK's care homes are bound to feel in some way spied upon by the widespread use of cameras. Those also believe in the care sector that cameras alone won't stamp out cases where poor standards of care are exposed and that training, supervision and staff numbers could be a far more effective solution.

However, campaigners on behalf of patients, such as the campaign group Compassion in Care, argue that cameras can be very useful in exposing abuse and protecting patient rights. Eileen Chubb from the group told the Mirror: I am pro cameras because every day, we get calls from staff and relatives who are witnessing abuse in care homes, and nothing is done about it when they report it. I tell relatives to raise their concerns through normal channels and then use a camera when nothing is done.

Guidance for camera use from the CQC

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has issued some crucial guidance to address the many issues relating to protecting privacy, dignity, and the rights of patients and staff and the legal considerations for using surveillance cameras in care homes. If you are considering using cameras in a relative or loved one's care home, consider the following carefully:

  • * If you are using the camera in a person's room, you must obtain permission from them before installing it or filming.

  • * If it is not possible to get permission (i.e. due to issues with dementia or illness), you must be able to demonstrate that filming is in the person's best interests.

  • * If you have concerns about the standard of care your relative receives, you must raise them with the care provider and the Care Quality Commission before installing surveillance cameras.

  • You must not install cameras in any location that would infringe on anyone's right to privacy, such as bathrooms, changing rooms or a location that would film other care home members without their permission.