State-run aged care facilities in South Australia will take part in a $500,000 trial of surveillance and monitoring systems under a federally-funded initiative commencing in the second half of this year.
The 12-month trial of smart monitoring technology that can be personalised for each resident will run across at least five aged care facilities managed by SA Health.
SA Health will deliver the Australian-first pilot in partnership with UK company Care Protect, which specialises in audio-visual monitoring systems for residential care settings.
Care Protect’s technology, which has not been implemented in Australia before, detects noise, movement and light changes and sends an alert to a reviewer who can view the footage within seconds 24 hours a day.
An independent team of experienced and qualified clinicians monitors the footage, which is stored off site in a secure and protected setting.
The pilot is in response to widespread concerns about the quality and safety of aged care residents, said Commonwealth aged care minister Ken Wyatt, who announced the trial in a joint statement with the South Australian Government on Thursday.
“The community has been asking for this and today we deliver an initiative which will result in stronger protections for our elderly residents, reduced adverse incidents and improved standards of care,” he said.
The announcement comes almost two years after the damning report of the aged care wings of the Oakden facility run by the Northern Adelaide Local Health Network, which led to the centre being closed and several state and commonwealth inquiries.
South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said only residents and families who provided informed consent would participate in the trial.
“The Care Protect technology can allow for personalised access rights, so different people can view different cameras.
“Relatives of residents, a unit manager, through to senior staff responsible for a group of units would only be able to monitor footage within a clear framework,” Mr Wade said.
Residents’ care, safety and privacy is the priority and if any resident does not want their room to be filmed, the camera in their room will be disabled, he said.
SA Health will work closely with residents, families and staff to shape the pilot and a steering committee with a diverse range of consumer, stakeholder and government representatives will oversee it, Mr Wade said.
The committee is tasked with assessing the trial and how the technology is received in the community and the outcomes will guide the future use of the technology in aged care facilities.
The project is being funded through the Commonwealth Dementia and Aged Care Services fund.
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