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No hidden cameras allowed in P.E.I. long-term care facilities

['Charlottetown city police are seeking easier access to surveillance cameras installed on the Confederation Bridge.']
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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - 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.

MacDougall said Health P.E.I. is certainly open to having a discussion over hidden cameras in the future.

“In the event a demonstrated need should arise, we will reconsider within the applicable legislative parameters, (such as) the Health Information Act or the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPP), etc.’’

dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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