A local electricity and security systems company has been appointed to lead South Australia’s state-run trial of a video monitoring system in residential aged care facilities.

As part of the trial, technology partner Sturdie Trade Services will install closed circuit television (CCTV) equipment and provide a monitoring service at two SA Health operated facilities, the state’s Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade announced on Saturday.

The technology partner was selected via a public tender process for its experience providing solutions-based security services across Australia and New Zealand.

The appointment comes seven months after the state government announced it was searching for a new technology partner following a mutual agreement to end the deal with UK company Care Protect due to “operational and technical issues that could not be resolved.”

The federal and SA government announced the project in April last year with a $500,000 investment for Care Protect to run a 12-month trial of video monitoring and support in at least five SA Health-run aged care facilities.

Mr Wade said the number of pilot sites has decreased due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The trial was initially planned to start across five sites, however, responses to the tender have led to the project initially focusing on two pilot sites,” Mr Wade said.

Stephen Wade

He said work on the pilot at the two participating facilities, Northgate House and Mount Pleasant Aged Care in the Adelaide Hills, has commenced.

“The first site walk-throughs will commence this week. In terms of the precise go-live date, that will depend on the progress of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Wade said in State Parliament yesterday.

“It has already slowed our progress, and as we saw in the events in the last two weeks in Victoria, this pandemic isn’t over yet. It is hard to predict what the impact might be,” Mr Wade said.

He said the pilot will explore the viability of surveillance and monitoring in aged care facilities.

“The 12-month trial will provide the State Government with valuable information about the value of such a monitoring service within aged care facilities,” Mr Wade said.

SA Office for Ageing Well director Cassie Mason said residents and families would be consulted to ensure a smooth rollout.

“As part of the project, Sturdie Trade Services will visit the pilot sites to demonstrate to residents, families and staff how the audio-visual surveillance and monitoring system will operate,” Ms Mason said.

“Residents are able to opt-in or out of participating in the pilot at any time, so a camera can be disabled if there is a change of mind,” she said.

An independent evaluator will work closely with residents, family, staff and the technology partner to assess the response and success of the trial.

The trial will also involve a steering committing consisting of consumer, stakeholder and government representatives overseeing the pilot, with the outcomes guiding the use of the technology in other SA Health-run aged care facilities.

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