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Body worn cameras 'make staff and patients feel safer', concludes pilot

Body cameras (BWCs) have been praised by nurses and healthcare assistants who took part in a three-month long trial of the technology.

Body cameras have been praised by nurses and healthcare assistants who took part in a three-month trial of the technology

According to official NHS figures, there were 70,555 recorded incidents in 2016 which equates to about 193 assaults on NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics every day in England.

Against this backdrop, staff at Berrywood Hospital a psychiatric unit run by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust were issued with the specialist devices to trial their efficacy.

Some went to nursing staff and health assistants on five psychiatric inpatient wards, while the others were given to members of the Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression team.

Feedback from participants

At the end of the pilot, interviews were conducted with almost everyone reporting positive feedback, especially in terms

Body cameras have been praised by nurses and healthcare assistants who took part in a three-month trial of the technology


Staff at Berrywood Hospital have been testing the body worn cameras

According to official NHS figures, there were 70,555 recorded incidents in 2016 – which equates to about 193 assaults on NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics every day in England.

Against this backdrop, staff at Berrywood Hospital – a psychiatric unit run by Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust – were issued with the specialist devices to trial their efficacy.

Some went to nursing staff and health assistants on five psychiatric inpatient wards, while the others were given to members of the Prevention and Management of Violence and Aggression team.

Feedback from participants

At the end of the pilot, interviews were conducted with almost everyone reporting positive feedback, especially in terms of a reduction in violent incidents.

Nurse Laura Kite said: ‘The process is still quite similar, but then we’ve got the added benefit of the camera being there, recording what is going on and supporting the situation.

‘Potentially de-escalating it because you are saying "the cameras are recording" and sometimes that does lower the level of aggression.’

The full findings were published last week in a paper in the Mental Health and Family Medicine journal.

Supporting 

Healthcare assistants George Oteri and Jubida Begum also expressed support.

Mr Oteri said: ‘[Between] having the camera now, and before when we didn’t have one, there’s a massive difference. It makes you feel safer and makes patients feel safer at the same time.’

Ms Begum added: ‘The cameras make us more aware of the situation and can really help to de-escalate a situation.

‘As a staff member I feel a lot safer wearing [a BWC] in the sense that I’m doing the job correctly and I’m protecting staff as well as patients.’

The study also found the level of violent incidents and instances of use of emergency restraints reduced significantly on three of the wards, in one case by 100%, as compared to the same time last year.

There were also no complaints regarding restraints during the pilot period of BWCs compared to two, in the same period a year earlier. This reduction in complaints is predicted to balance the cost of the cameras and the trust has already revealed it intends to continue to use BWCs on its wards.

Costs could also be offset by the reductions in complaints, incidents and restraints. Berrywood Hospital will continue to use BWCs in their mental health wards and look at potential wider roll-outs.

Affecting ability

A spokesperson for Calla, the manufacturer of the BWCs, added: ‘Nurses are regularly in situations where they face disruption or aggression.

‘For some, these unwanted situations are beginning to affect their ability to get on with the job and are in turn negatively affecting their experience at work.’

Rsearchers at the trust say a more comprehensive study on BWCs is now needed to reach firm conclusions.

Further information

Calla and the Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

The Feasibility of Using Body Worn Cameras in an Inpatient Mental Health Setting


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