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New technology launched this week certainly makes this possible.

After a line of care home scandals, surveillance technology has been developed which could enable relatives to check up on residents via their smartphones.

The Care Protect System, launched by the former Priory Group chief executive Philip Scott, allows families access to CCTV footage of their relatives’ rooms.

The company is offering to install cameras in bedrooms, communal areas and pharmacies of care homes.

Homes around the country are being invited to purchase the Care Protect system, which will also feed footage of any unusual activity or abuse to independent experts for monitoring.

It is intended that relatives will use their smartphones or tablet computers to view to the footage, in order to reassure themselves of care standards from afar.

The system answers longstanding calls for this kind of surveillance from families, spurred on by high profile cases of abuse and negligence in care homes. However the subject to date has proved highly controversial.

There is certainly a fine balance which must be struck between protection of the vulnerable and the maintenance of privacy and dignity. It must also be acknowledged that there are many examples of good care and dedicated staff. However, with harrowing tales of mistreatment exposed in the press, it is no surprise that some have turned to this technology to ensure that their loved ones are receiving the care they deserve.

The company has assured that cameras will only be switched on in the rooms of consenting residents and families and a pilot of the system has received positive feedback:

Ann Willey, manager of the Bramley Court care home in Yardley, Birmingham, where the system has been trialed said that, despite initial apprehension amongst residents and staff, the surveillance technology had led to improved standards and the use of footage in training.

It is hoped that the system will facilitate the provision of effective, high quality and compassionate care, which is of course what everyone has a right to expect.

Written by Jenny Barton

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