South Australia has launched an $A785,000 aged care CCTV trial, which will see video and audio assessed by AI so as to enhance response times to emergency events.

The trial, which uses Vivotek dome cameras, began at Mount Pleasant Aged Care and Northgate House on 29 March, according to an SA Health spokesperson. Artificial intelligence integrated into devices is being used to identify falls, calls for help and unusual body movements. These trigger an alert, which is sent to operators at an independent monitoring centre, who then notify on-site staff to respond.

Footage of incidents is securely stored onsite for review from authorised personnel. Residents can choose whether the recording devices in their bedrooms are activated and opt in or out of participating at any time.

Meanwhile, SA Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said protecting aged care residents was a key priority.

“The trial will provide the government with valuable information about the viability of audio-visual surveillance and monitoring within residential care settings,” Wade said.

The trial will be assessed by an independent evaluator. A steering committee of consumer, stakeholder and government representatives will oversee the pilot and its outcomes will guide the future use of CCTV in SA Health aged care facilities.

Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney welcomed the trial and said the technology had potential to improve resident wellbeing.

“Providers should be open to discussing the use of surveillance with families and residents particularly in cases where surveillance is requested in response to concerns about care,” Rooney said.

“CCTV in residential aged care has the potential to enhance to the safety and wellbeing of residents.”