Using physique worn cameras in acute psychological well being companies


This paper studies 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 influence 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 have been launched into NHS Trusts in 2017. In response to Wilson et al, they’re at the moment in use in round 20 psychological well being hospitals regardless of ongoing issues (Rowan Olive, 2019).

I profoundly object to the concept of body-worn cameras in acute psychological well being wards. For me, it’s one other step alongside the journey in direction of the criminalisation of psychological misery, a journey which we’re too far alongside already. After I first heard in regards to the concept, 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 once I was a affected person got here to thoughts. When approached to participate within the examine explored on this weblog, I couldn’t carry 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 affordable 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 worry it is not going to be acknowledged in NHS Trusts’ choices.

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

Physique worn cameras are at the moment in use in round 20 psychological well being hospitals regardless of ongoing issues.


This was a qualitative interview examine carried out on-line and in-person throughout 5 acute wards, with contributors 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 have been interviewed. Semi-structured interviews and reflexive thematic evaluation have 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 different measures sufferers and/or workers really feel could be extra acceptable to cut back violence from workers and sufferers?

Affected person and public involvement was a key aspect of the examine. The staff 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 have been predominantly ambivalent” about using body-worn cameras, however doesn’t state the views of the opposite staff members.

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

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


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

1. Violence and aggression is a posh problem

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: enhancing bodily security

This theme speaks to the principle goal for sporting the cameras: to discourage violence and enhance security. Nonetheless, with regards to the primary theme, this is able to solely be efficient if individuals have been in a position to regulate their behaviour within the information that they have been being filmed. Folks talked about different types of de-escalating incidents that may turn out to be violent. Each workers and sufferers have been involved that sporting cameras would turn out to be an alternative to excellent care.

3. Feeling protected: precarious psychological security

Findings recommend body-worn cameras may have specific implications for sufferers who “already really feel criminalised in an atmosphere 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 attention-grabbing and nuanced of their understanding of the state of affairs going through individuals as inpatients in addition to members of workers. Understanding 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 keep 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 stated I might find yourself if I did one thing like that once more. Such was my worry 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 in the end 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 advanced underlying causes, together with unmet wants within the speedy in addition to the broader context. Certainly, there’s a threat that body-worn cameras will “masks structural points” (p.19) and “exacerbate epistemic injustice” somewhat than stop violence and aggression. The route of the gaze of scrutiny is critical right here: it’s assumed that the cameras are directed on the sufferers, not on the workers, and workers are accountable for them. Apart from the plain energy imbalance, this has the danger of utterly lacking occasions previous that second, together with poor behaviour on the a part of workers.

In the end, body-worn cameras are a software 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 threat as an alternative of security lends itself to finding threat inside people, which in flip results in a better tendency to stereotype these in danger on the premise of race, gender and analysis. Some workers on this examine believed individuals identified with character dysfunction would have better company and could be extra more likely to alter their behaviour in response to being filmed. That is an instance, in my opinion, of the continued epistemic injustice afforded individuals with this analysis. Equally, structural racism locations black service customers at better threat of coercive practices, making companies removed from protected for them. Additional analysis would possibly assist to establish the demographics of the sufferers that immediate workers to modify on their cameras.

A grey spinning top on a brown table

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

Strengths and limitations

This can be a qualitative examine which renders it weak to being disregarded by decision-makers on the lookout for sturdy (normally quantitative) proof. Nonetheless, it’s a sturdy qualitative examine in its substantial sampling of sufferers and workers throughout 5 hospitals and bringing collectively completely different views.

With regard to the examine itself, I might have an interest to know what number of interviews have 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 sincere and demanding views. Within the pursuits of equality and coproduction, I might have anticipated your entire analysis staff 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 major 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 sincere and demanding views from contributors; it’s unclear on this examine what number of interviews have been performed by lived expertise researchers.

Implications for follow

Though I might like to suppose that this examine may have implications for follow, I’m sadly not optimistic. I wish to suppose that these chargeable for implementing body-worn cameras will learn this paper, pay attention to the moral points and issues concerned, and spend money on options reminiscent of de-escalation strategies and peer assist. I might hope that this paper will promote the problem of psychological or felt security, and spotlight the corrosive influence of a tradition of distrust. However, if now we have something to study from the introduction of SIM (Serenity Built-in Monitoring), it’s that Trusts are extra persuaded by the worth of better 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 threat.

Assertion of pursuits

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


Main 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 consumer and carer involvement in psychological well being care security: elevating issues and enhancing the security of companies. BMC Well being Providers 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 consumer 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 influence of psychological well being service consumer 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 Right this moment, 20 Might 2019.

Thibaut B, Dewa LH, Ramtale SC, et al. Affected person security in inpatient psychological well being settings: a scientific evaluate. 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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