Burt MP may support use of CCTV in aged care homes but warns it could cause problems

Labor Candidate for Burt Matt Keogh. 453308d
Labor Candidate for Burt Matt Keogh. 453308d

THE Federal Member for Burt, Matt Keogh, has not ruled out supporting a proposal to introduce closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras in aged care homes to monitor people with dementia.

The move follows revelations on the ABC’s 7.30 Report story of elder abuse caught on hidden cameras.

Senator Nick Xenophon warned the shocking footage of an Adelaide nursing home resident being abused by a carer could “be the tip of the iceberg and highlights the need for safeguard mechanisms to be urgently implemented, such as CCTV”.

Mr Keogh said the potential use of CCTV cameras in aged care facilities, particularly in bedrooms, could lead to a host of difficulties.

“But it is important to consider all proposals as part of a wider approach to issues in the sector,” he said

“Obviously I am appalled and concerned at the footage of elder abuse aired by the 7.30 Report.

“Many elderly Australians and their families, including my own, rely on our aged care system for support; it is vital that Australians are able to place their trust in these services.”

Alzheimer’s Australia national president Graeme Samuel was appalled at the footage but said CCTV was not an option to address the issue.

“It is easy to jump to the conclusion that we need 24/7 monitoring through CCTV cameras in every aged care facility, but this is not the answer,” Professor Samuel said.

“We need to address the fundamental issues in the aged care system, rather than simply creating a system of compliance and monitoring which could violate the privacy of residents.”

Mr Keogh said the Australian Law Reform Commission’s National Elder Abuse Inquiry would help to identify how older Australians can remain safe in care.

“There is no one solution or action that will protect against elder abuse in care,” he said.

“But the inquiry is an important step towards ensuring that the legal frameworks around aged care properly support holistic care and protect vulnerable people in the aged care system.”

More than 353,800 people have dementia in Australia.

This number is projected to reach more than half a million by 2030.