Damaging media stories are knocking the public’s confidence in the elderly care sector, according to new research.
The Panelbase survey, carried out for Care Protect, found that 85% of those questioned were concerned by the number of negative care home stories in the press.
Philip Scott, founder of Care Protect, said: “At a time when many care providers are suffering significant financial constraints, this research demonstrates that the public perception is of a sector in crisis.
“It is very concerning that the vast majority of people do not feel that our care homes are safe places to live, and this is reinforced by the media regularly highlighting issues of abuse and poor care standards.”
More than three-quarters (76%) of respondents did not believe that care homes do enough to ensure the safety and welfare of residents.
Better training for staff and camera surveillance were considered to be the best ways to improve the safety and welfare of residents.
Philip added: “The care industry can no longer bury its head in the sand about what is happening as even in the best homes, individual cases of poor care delivery can occur. Staff training is very important when looking at raising quality standards, but there is undoubtedly a growing appetite for using new technology, including camera surveillance to safeguard people in the care sector.
“Understandably, the use of cameras in a care setting is an emotive subject and I am sure any debate will trigger concerns about intrusion into people’s privacy. However, such fears should not stifle an informed debate about technologies that can materially improve safeguarding for vulnerable people.
“By explaining how the technology can work in the interests of both service users and employees, I believe any apprehensions can be overcome. Individual privacies and liberties can be protected and respected by using intelligent cameras, which provide monitoring on an ‘events’ only basis.
“In addition, any camera system could and should operate independently of providers, with third party trained health and social experts reviewing any events.
“Technological advances and monitoring systems have the potential to boost confidence in the sector and drive up standards as well as protecting staff and service users and this needs to be recognised by providers, commissioners and industry regulators in the same way as the public does.”