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Body cameras could improve safety for staff and patients, study shows

Violence, aggression and use of restraint could be reduced by equipping nursing staff with body-worn cameras, according to a study at a psychiatric unit.

Incidents of violence, aggression and use of restraint could be reduced by equipping nursing staff with body worn cameras (BWCs), according to a pilot study.

body camera
Body cameras could help reduce violent incidents, a study shows.


Reveal Media Ltd provided 12 Calla BWCs to Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Innovation Research team for the three-month trial at psychiatric assessment unit Berrywood Hospital in Northampton.

They were worn by 39 nursing staff and healthcare assistants on five adult inpatient wards, as well as by a prevention and management of violence and aggression team.

Data on rates of incidents were compared with the same three-month period the previous year, while questionnaires were used by the researchers to gather feedback from patients and staff.

Accepted by staff, patients

In the responses 61% said the BWCs prevent confrontational situations because staff behave more professionally while wearing them, and 90% said they prevented confrontational situations because patients improve their behaviour if being filmed.

The effect on rates of incidents was mixed, with violence down on three wards but up on two. Verbal abuse reduced on two wards but increased on three, while use of emergency restraint was significantly reduced on three wards but up slightly on the other two.

Writing in the journal Mental Health in Family Medicine, the study authors concluded: ‘We have demonstrated that it is feasible to employ BWCs in an inpatient mental health setting.

‘Their use is acceptable to both patients and staff. Costs could be offset by the reduction in complaints, incidents and restraints, but further research is required to support this.’

Hardy S et al (2017), The Feasibility of Using Body Worn Cameras in an Inpatient Mental Health Setting. Mental Health in Family Medicine.

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