Nurse bodycam use shows reduction in some violent incidents at mental health trust

Study shows a decrease in patient restraint and tranquilisation when nurses wore cameras

Study shows a decrease in patient restraint and tranquilisation when nurses wore bodycams, but RCN calls for more research into their use 

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The short-term use of body cameras worn by nurses reduces the number of restraints requiring injections, according to a new study.

Fifty cameras were supplied to West London NHS Trust for nurses to wear in seven mental health wards. 

The study was carried out from March to October 2018. Data was compared with the same time period in the same ward between March to October 2017.  

Before body cameras were introduced, there were 14 restraints requiring tranquilising injections, but this dropped to four when cameras were worn.

There was also a decrease in verbal aggression with 75 incidents in the trial period, down from 94.

RCN spokesperson questions study results and calls for greater focus on the cause of aggression  

However, the study also recorded an increase of incidents of patient violence not requiring restraint, from 64 to 82.

RCN mental health forum chair Ed Freshwater said there needed to be a focus on the cause of aggression and that a therapeutic staffing approach to care would do more to prevent violent situations developing.

‘Cameras may have motivated staff to try new approaches, but they are not demonstrably effective at reducing incidents of violence and aggression,’ he said.

Mr Freshwater also questioned why the study recorded fewer restraints requiring injections but an increase in violence not requiring restraint.  

‘Is that simply staff being more tolerant or feeling they must "let things go" for fear of being filmed?’ he said.

Calls for more research into the use of body cameras by nurses 

RCN national officer Kim Sunley said more research is still needed on body cameras.

She argued the aim should be for government to invest in the workforce and deliver safe staffing levels for mental health and social care.

In presenting the results, the research authors acknowledged the study needed to run for a longer period to assess whether the changes would be sustained.

They added the fact that four of the wards were female and three were male and had different patient capacity, also needed to be taken into consideration.

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