The system will provide families with a direct feed from their relative's room [Credit: Tom Cherry]

Surveillance system lets families monitor care of loved ones

A monitoring system that uses sound and motion sensors designed to protect vulnerable people like the elderly in care homes was launched today.

Discreet cameras will be able to detect motion and see in infra-red while microphones will pick up sound allowing them to flag up unusual incidents, according to creator Care Protect and the footage will be monitored by health or social care sector-trained staff.

The system will give family members a live feed of their relatives room that they can access via smart phones, tablets or desktop computers, but the system will also include privacy settings to block the cameras from monitoring agreed zones.

The firm said the system will help reassure families after several recent cases of abuse and malpractice in care, such as at the Winterbourne View care home where 11 staff were found to have ill-treated and neglected residents.

Care Protect founder Philip Scott said: "This innovative service model combines surveillance capabilities with third party monitoring by a team who have expert understanding of health and social care.

"By adopting a transparent and independent review of images that may constitute 'incidents', the wellbeing of adults and children is improved and they are better safeguarded and protected.

"This will contribute to the raising of standards and lead to greater confidence among service users and their families."

As well as uncovering any cases of sub-standard care, the firm pointed out that the system should also protect workers as it will be able to prove if any allegations made against them are false.

Health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) published guidance for families thinking of setting up hidden cameras to check up on the care of their loved ones for the first time earlier this year in response to several high-profile cases.

The body warned that they should consider how installing such systems may intrude on the privacy of others and to think about raising their concerns with the relevant parties first.

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