No hid­den cam­eras in long-term fa­cil­i­ties

Journal Pioneer - - THE ISLAND - BY DAVE STE­WART

Prince Ed­ward Is­land will not be fol­low­ing Que­bec’s lead in al­low­ing hid­den cam­eras in long-term health-care fa­cil­i­ties. Last month, CTV News aired a story that Que­bec has de­cided to au­tho­rize the use of hid­den cam­eras in the fa­cil­i­ties in an ef­fort to curb pa­tient abuse. The de­ci­sion fol­lows nu­mer­ous cases of abuse from across the coun­try that came to light af­ter the per­pe­tra­tors were caught on hid­den cam­eras in­stalled by the fam­i­lies of pa­tients.

CTV News noted that three years ago, for ex­am­ple, two em­ploy­ees of a St.-Lam­bert in­sti­tu­tion were jailed af­ter they were caught abus­ing pa­tients. An­drew MacDougall, Health P.E.I.’s pro­vin­cial di­rec­tor of long-term care, said P.E.I. won’t be fol­low­ing suit, at least not yet. “Health P.E.I. has been mon­i­tor­ing the de­ci­sions be­ing made by other ju­ris­dic­tions,’’ MacDougall said. “Fol­low­ing in­ter­nal dis­cus­sions, we have de­cided that we will not be mov­ing for­ward with per­mit­ting the use of hid­den cam­eras by res­i­dents and their fam­i­lies in pub­lic long-term care fa­cil­i­ties at this time.’’

Under the new rules in Que­bec, pa­tients or their fam­i­lies will not have to no­tify staff or man­age­ment that these cam­eras have been in­stalled, but live stream­ing will be for­bid­den.

MacDougall said pri­vacy was a paramount con­cern of Health P.E.I. in its de­ci­sion.

“En­sur­ing the pri­vacy of all res­i­dents and their fam­i­lies in our fa­cil­i­ties is a key con­sid­er­a­tion in the use of any video sur­veil­lance,’’ MacDougall said. Karen Jack­son, pres­i­dent of the Union of Pub­lic Sec­tor Em­ploy­ees (UPSE) in P.E.I., which rep­re­sents health-care work­ers such as licensed care work­ers and reg­is­tered care nurses, said they like the idea, but much more work needs to be done.

“UPSE is cer­tainly in­ter­ested in poli­cies which can help pro­tect res­i­dents in long-term care fa­cil­i­ties from abuse,’’ Jack­son said.

“UPEI sup­ports the idea, in prin­ci­ple. How­ever, sig­nif­i­cant consultation with the em­ployer would be nec­es­sary to make sure all the im­pli­ca­tions are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion for both the res­i­dents and the staff.’’

The union rep­re­sent­ing health-care work­ers in Que­bec said the cam­eras would not only catch abuse but could also high­light that the great ma­jor­ity of health-care work­ers are do­ing a good job and might even show there are de­fi­cien­cies in staffing.

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