The usage of physique worn cameras in acute psychological well being providers

This paper experiences on a examine exploring the views of sufferers, psychological well being workers and senior administration on using body-worn cameras. Ostensibly, the goal of body-worn cameras is to stop violence on acute psychological well being wards by recording audio and video footage of interactions between workers and sufferers. That is primarily based on tenuous proof across the affect of their use on police and public behaviour. Beginning with the introduction of body-worn cameras by police getting into psychological well being wards (Seni’s Regulation), they had been launched into NHS Trusts in 2017. In accordance with Wilson et al, they’re presently in use in round 20 psychological well being hospitals regardless of ongoing considerations (Rowan Olive, 2019).

I profoundly object to the thought of body-worn cameras in acute psychological well being wards. For me, it’s one other step alongside the journey in the direction of the criminalisation of psychological misery, a journey which we’re too far alongside already. After I first heard in regards to the thought, I may solely see nurses as police and jail warders. The reminiscence of a nurse jangling his keys as he stood by the locked ward door after I was a affected person got here to thoughts. When approached to participate within the examine explored on this weblog, I couldn’t convey myself to take action. Maybe partly this was as a result of I feared the end result: that folks would possibly suppose it was an inexpensive measure and I might discover myself remoted in my outrage. Spoiler alert: I used to be relieved to learn the examine findings, even when I concern it won’t be acknowledged in NHS Trusts’ selections.

A yellow body worn camera on the shoulder of an official wearing a yellow high visibility vest

Physique worn cameras are presently in use in round 20 psychological well being hospitals regardless of ongoing considerations.


This was a qualitative interview examine carried out on-line and in-person throughout 5 acute wards, with members recruited on-line and thru skilled networks. A complete of 24 sufferers on acute wards, 25 workers on acute wards, 9 community-based service customers and 6 psychological well being nursing administrators had been interviewed. Semi-structured interviews and reflexive thematic evaluation had been used. The examine was guided by three questions:

  1. How do sufferers, workers and repair managers on acute inpatient psychological well being wards view using body-worn cameras?
  2. What are the important thing advantages and harms of utilizing body-worn cameras on psychological well being inpatient wards?
  3. Are there various measures sufferers and/or workers really feel can be extra acceptable to scale back violence from workers and sufferers?

Affected person and public involvement was a key factor of the examine. The crew included a lived expertise analysis assistant and lived expertise marketing consultant, who facilitated a Lived Expertise Advisory Panel of eight. Apparently, the paper states that “these concerned within the examine from a lived expertise perspective had been predominantly ambivalent” about using body-worn cameras, however doesn’t state the views of the opposite crew members.

Group of diverse adults sat on chairs in a semi circle talking with each other.

Affected person and public involvement was a key factor of this examine. The paper states that “these concerned within the examine from a lived expertise perspective had been predominantly ambivalent” about using body-worn cameras.


Total, body-worn cameras had been considered as an ‘emotive’ subject and interviewees had been ‘conflicted’ about their use. Mistrust, ambivalence, and uncertainty had been expressed by many. The 4 key themes had been recognized.

1. Violence and aggression is a fancy concern

The examine recognized a scarcity of shared understanding about what constitutes ‘violence and aggression’. This partly centred on the character of company: that some workers perceived acts as deliberate the place others would possibly see it as an expression of misery with a number of causes or triggers.

2. Being protected: bettering bodily security

This theme speaks to the principle goal for sporting the cameras: to discourage violence and enhance security. Nevertheless, just about the primary theme, this could solely be efficient if folks had been in a position to modify their behaviour within the information that they had been being filmed. Folks talked about various types of de-escalating incidents that may grow to be violent. Each workers and sufferers had been involved that sporting cameras would grow to be an alternative choice to excellent care.

3. Feeling protected: precarious psychological security

Findings counsel body-worn cameras can have explicit implications for sufferers who “already really feel criminalised in an setting with asymmetrical energy imbalances between workers and sufferers”.

4. Tradition of distrust

The paper highlights a scarcity of belief between sufferers and workers, probably exacerbated by body-worn cameras. An imbalance of energy between workers and sufferers is accentuated by workers each sporting and controlling the cameras.

A shot from the air of four several lane highways coming to an intersection with each other, creating a cross shape

The examine recognized a scarcity of shared understanding about what constitutes ‘violence and aggression’. Some workers perceived acts as deliberate, whereas others perceived them as an expression of misery with a number of causes or triggers.

I discovered these themes fascinating and nuanced of their understanding of the scenario going through folks as inpatients in addition to members of workers. Figuring out how I felt in hospital, albeit some years in the past, the ability that workers maintain over you can’t be underestimated with or with out body-worn cameras. I bear in mind smashing a cup as soon as in frustration at being adopted by a male affected person. Nurses took me to the isolation room the place they mentioned I might find yourself if I did one thing like that once more. Such was my concern that I couldn’t method them to ask for assist – I didn’t count on them to do something. Undoubtedly, the underlying causes of violence and aggression are obscured by a give attention to policing particular person incidents. A tradition of distrust and ‘precarious psychological security’ are finally exacerbated by these seen symbols of scrutiny.


In conclusion, the examine suggests that almost all sufferers and workers don’t imagine that body-worn cameras will obtain their goal of stopping violence and aggression. They understand violence and aggression to have complicated underlying causes, together with unmet wants within the quick in addition to the broader context. Certainly, there’s a danger that body-worn cameras will “masks structural points” (p.19) and “exacerbate epistemic injustice” slightly than stop violence and aggression. The route of the gaze of scrutiny is important right here: it’s assumed that the cameras are directed on the sufferers, not on the workers, and workers are answerable for them. Except for the plain energy imbalance, this has the chance of fully lacking occasions previous that second, together with poor behaviour on the a part of workers.

Finally, body-worn cameras are a instrument for management dressed up as a security initiative; they’re a fast and soiled strategy to cut back incidents on paper with out bothering to handle their causes.
– Rowan Olive, 2019

The significance of feeling protected is a matter that has preoccupied me for a very long time in relation to inpatient care (Faulkner, 2005; Faulkner, 2018). What hope is there for restoration if you don’t really feel protected? A fast scan of the literature demonstrates the big selection of points affecting security (Thibault et al, 2019). As I identified in my earlier Psychological Elf weblog (Faulkner, 2018), the systemic give attention to danger as an alternative of security lends itself to finding danger inside people, which in flip results in a higher tendency to stereotype these in danger on the idea of race, gender and analysis. Some workers on this examine believed folks recognized with character dysfunction would have higher company and can be extra prone to alter their behaviour in response to being filmed. That is an instance, for my part, of the continued epistemic injustice afforded folks with this analysis. Equally, structural racism locations black service customers at higher danger of coercive practices, making providers removed from protected for them. Additional analysis would possibly assist to determine the demographics of the sufferers that immediate workers to change on their cameras.

A grey spinning top on a brown table

The route of the gaze of scrutiny is important. Cameras are directed on the sufferers, not on the workers, and workers are answerable for them, creating an apparent energy imbalance.

Strengths and limitations

It is a qualitative examine which renders it susceptible to being disregarded by decision-makers in search of sturdy (normally quantitative) proof. Nevertheless, it’s a sturdy qualitative examine in its substantial sampling of sufferers and workers throughout 5 hospitals and bringing collectively totally different views.

With regard to the examine itself, I might have an interest to know what number of interviews had been carried out by the lived expertise researcher and whether or not it made a distinction to the problems raised. In different work (Gillard et al, 2009), this has been a helpful topic for exploration, demonstrating the worth of lived expertise researchers in eliciting extra trustworthy and significant views. Within the pursuits of equality and coproduction, I might have anticipated all the analysis crew to declare their views on using body-worn cameras, not simply these with lived expertise.

The one actual criticism I’ve of the paper is the comparative weak spot of its concluding paragraph, which talks of balancing potential advantages with potential harms. Given the ability of the themes that arose within the examine, this appears nearly too impartial. Maybe, like me, the authors are conscious that NHS Trusts have already begun to make use of body-worn cameras and their primary hope is that Trusts will give some consideration to the moral points raised on this paper.

Two people are talking, one sat on a sofa gesticulating with his hands and the other is a woman holding a clipboard. Both are black

Interviews performed by lived expertise researchers can elicit extra trustworthy and significant views from members; it’s unclear on this examine what number of interviews had been performed by lived expertise researchers.

Implications for follow

Though I might like to suppose that this examine can have implications for follow, I’m sadly not optimistic. I want to suppose that these chargeable for implementing body-worn cameras will learn this paper, be aware of the moral points and considerations concerned, and spend money on alternate options akin to de-escalation strategies and peer help. I might hope that this paper will promote the problem of psychological or felt security, and spotlight the corrosive affect of a tradition of distrust. However, if we now have something to be taught from the introduction of SIM (Serenity Built-in Monitoring), it’s that Trusts are extra persuaded by the worth of higher scrutiny than they’re by improved care and security. Very a lot within the spirit of body-worn cameras, SIM launched elevated policing into psychological well being care with out sturdy proof (see weblog by Wren Aves, 24 March 2023). Each initiatives are indicative of a system giving up on selling security by way of excellent care and compassion, and prioritising short-term fixes for danger.

Assertion of pursuits

I’ve acknowledged my private perspective on body-worn cameras, and I make no apology for infusing this weblog with my views. When you have been a affected person on a ward that felt like jail, you may additionally really feel this measure of ardour about yet one more initiative extra redolent of regulation and scrutiny than care.


Major paper

Wilson, Okay., Foye, U., Thomas, E., Chadwick, M., Dodhia, S., Allen-Lynn, J., … & Simpson, A. (2023). Exploring using body-worn cameras in acute psychological well being wards: A qualitative interview examine with psychological well being sufferers and workers. Worldwide Journal of Nursing Research140, 104456.

Different references

Berzins et al. (2018) Service person and carer involvement in psychological well being care security: elevating considerations and bettering the protection of providers. BMC Well being Companies Analysis 18:644

Faulkner, A (2005),”Institutional battle: the state of play in grownup acute psychiatric wards”, The Journal of Grownup Safety, Vol. 7 Iss 4 pp. 6 – 12.

Faulkner, 2018 ‘Whose Security is it Anyway? Service person and carer involvement in psychological well being care security. Psychological Elf weblog on Berzins et al, 2018. www.nationalelfservice.internet/populations-and-settings/patient-safety/whose-safety-is-it-anyway-service-user-and-carer-involvement-in-mental-health-care-safety/

Gillard, S. et al (2009) What distinction does it make? Discovering proof of the affect of psychological well being service person researchers on analysis into the experiences of detained psychiatric sufferers. Well being Expectations, 13, pp.185–194.

Rowan Olive, R. (2019) ‘If anybody is to be sporting recording gear on psychiatric wards, it must be the sufferers’. Psychological Well being At present, 20 Could 2019.

Thibaut B, Dewa LH, Ramtale SC, et al. Affected person security in inpatient psychological well being settings: a scientific evaluation. BMJ Open 2019;9:e030230. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030230

Wren Aves weblog: Serenity Built-in Mentoring: Previous, Current and Future, 24 March 2023

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