Useful or Scary? How Do You Feel About Cameras and Caregiving?

Laura lives in one city, her daughter, Ann lives in another.  Laura requires caregivers to help her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Ann arranges these caregivers, and monitors them as best she can, given her distance away.

 

Now that camera technology has become fairly affordable, Ann would like to install cameras to keep an eye on her mom, and also the caregivers.

 

Should she do it?

The Pros:

For the family:

There is an advantage in Ann’s ability to monitor the care that her mom is getting.  She can be more at peace with the care her mother is receiving, and engaged with her day-to-day activities.

 

If the cameras record and store the footage, Ann can use this information to observe her mother’s changing condition, and adjust care as needed, while also monitoring for any type of abuse or neglect.

 

For the caregiver:

If an accident occurs, cameras can provide accurate information about what happened and eliminate any suspicion of abuse or neglect.  Even the very best caregivers sometimes have accidents or falls happen on their watch, so the ability for Laura to see exactly what happened can be very beneficial.

 

The camera can also provide evidence for any changes the caregiver is noticing.  For example, if a caregiver is noticing that Laura is having difficulty walking, the Ann will be able to view this and discuss needed changes in care.

The Cons:

If caregivers have been working with a client for a period of time before the cameras are installed, they may see the introduction of cameras in a negative light.

 

Caregivers can view the cameras as evidence that the family does not trust them, or they may see the cameras as an invasion of privacy.

 

The camera can also hinder the development of a close relationship between the caregiver and the care recipient.  Caregivers may want to appear professional at all times for fear that actions or conversations will be misunderstood or taken out of context.

 

For example, caregivers may be reluctant to hug or hold hands with the care recipient if they are afraid that such actions might be misunderstood.

 

However, sometimes it isn’t the caregiver who objects to the cameras, but the Perennial herself.

 

If Laura requires help with activities of daily living, such as bathing or dressing, she will probably be uncomfortable with having such activities filmed. Or she may simply value her privacy and resist constant monitoring of even the most mundane daily events.

 

So what should you consider before installing cameras?
  • Install them before caregivers start working (if possible)
  • Inform caregivers that cameras are in use
  • Talk openly with existing caregivers about why the cameras will be a benefit for everyone involved
  • Reassure caregivers the cameras are not a sign of any suspected abuse, neglect, or theft, and that they are not suspected of such actions
  • Don’t allow video surveillance to be a substitute for interactions with family members.
  • Don’t use video surveillance to be overly critical of caregivers.
  • Follow state and federal laws for recording audio and video.

Have you tried cameras with loved ones?  What do you see as the pros and cons?  Tell us about it in the comments below!

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