The use of “Nanny Cams” in clients’ homes has serious implications for home care services, says a legal specialist who believes it’s time for providers to develop guidelines on the issue.
Gemma McGrath of West Australian law firm Panetta McGrath says providers should develop a written policy on the use of monitoring devices in homes, and should also question clients about their use of these devices during sign-on conversations.
Staff who provide care in the home also need to be made aware of their right to give consent before being monitored.
“We’ve had a lot of clients contact us about the issue and what they can do to manage it,” she told Community Care Review.
“It’s something that’s obviously relevant to the sector at the moment and seems to be increasing.”
Ms McGrath says most people have good intentions about protecting their loved ones when they install a camera.
“But when a worker goes into a home that is their workplace the employer is responsible for ensuring a safe workplace,” she said.
“And certainly people need to give consent if they’re going to be recorded, so it’s an issue that they need to be cognisant of.”
Ms MGrath also advises providers to familiarise themselves with privacy legislation in their own state, as this may differ across borders.
Having a written policy protects providers from potential breach of privacy or workplace safety claims by aggrieved staff, as well as ensuring staff know their rights.
“It just tells the staff their rights … that if they go in and see (a recording device) they can ask for it to be turned off or not proceed with the services.
“It means people know what they can and can’t do in those circumstances.”
Tips for providers:
- Ask whether cameras are used in the home during initial discussions with clients
- Make staff aware if cameras are present and seek consent from them to be monitored or recorded
- If staff don’t give consent, make sure they are rostered to avoid clients with monitoring devices
- Develop a written policy on the use of cameras in clients’ homes
You can read Gemma McGrath’s blog here.