Do we need ‘spy cameras’ in our aged care homes?

With the latest ICAC report into the Oakden Older Persons Mental Health facility released this week, there has been a lot of stories in the media about whether we need cameras in our aged care homes to protect residents.

The idea of rolling out surveillance cameras in aged care is not new. Occupational Therapy Australia (OTA) again raised the issue during the recent Senate inquiry into aged care abuse as a way to keep carers accountable.

It’s well-intentioned, but it does raise some serious issues.

While cameras would give some families peace of mind, the privacy and dignity of residents also needs to be considered.

Many residents are showered in the bathroom, but for those that are bed-bound or unwell, carers usually bathe them in bed.

The use of cameras in rooms also goes against the ‘home-like’ feel that many aged care facilities are trying to achieve as we move away from institutionalised models of care.

A question of privacy

It’s important to note the OTA submission says surveillance should only be allowed with the permission of residents or their families and guardians.

It’s also worth remembering that the majority of aged care facilities already have CCTV in public areas to monitor residents and their wellbeing – and are meeting standards on care and safety.

If you do have any concerns about your loved one’s care, raise the issue with the facility first. You can also contact the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner on 1800 550 552.

Certainly there is more we can do to keep residents safe. Currently there are no laws for mandatory reporting of elder abuse to police and other agencies by health professionals who work in aged care such as myself.

Better feedback to families on the progress of aged care complaints would also help to ease any worries.

Both steps could help to prevent another ‘Oakden’ – something we all want. 

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A special thanks to our contributors

Antonia Norris

Researcher and Contributor

Antonia has led the operations and growth of the and within the DCM Group in Australia and New Zealand for several years. This has included the research and creation agedcare101 in 2016, the creation of the DCM Institute and Te Ara Institute, the joint contribution of Care & Living with Mercer (CaLM) and the TV series, The Best 30 Years, screened on NINE nationally.



Caroline has a wealth of experience writing within the retirement and aged care sector and is a contributing journalist for the and agedcare101 blog and accompanying newsletters.

Ian Horswill


Ian is a journalist, writer and sub-editor for the aged care sector, working at The DCM Group. He writes for The Weekly Source, agedcare101, and the DCM Institute fortnightly newsletter Friday. Ian is in daily contact with CEOs of retirement living, land lease and the aged care operations and makes a new contact every week. He investigates media releases, LinkedIn and Facebook for a good source for ideas for stories.

Lauren Broomham

Retirement and Aged Care Journalist

Lauren is a journalist for, agedcare101 and The Donaldson Sisters. Growing up in a big family in small town communities, she has always had a love for the written word, joining her local library at the age of six months. With over eight years' experience in writing and editing, she is a keen follower of news and current affairs with a nose for a good story.

Jill Donaldson


Jill has been practicing as a clinical physiotherapist for 30 years. For the last 13 years she has worked solely in the Aged Care sector in more than 50 metropolitan and regional facilities. Jill has also toured care facilities in the US and Africa and is a passionate advocate for both the residents in aged care and the staff who care for them. She researches and writes for DCM Media.

Chris Baynes

DCM Media, agedcare101

Chris has been a journalist and publisher in the retirement village and aged care sectors for 11 years. He has visited over 250 retirement villages and 50 aged care facilities both within Australia and internationally. Chris is a regular speaker at industry conferences plus is a frequent radio commentator.

Annie Donaldson

Nurse and Carer

Annie has a long career in both nursing and the media. She has planned and co-ordinated the medical support from both international TV productions and major stadium events. In recent years she has been a primary family carer plus involved in structured carer support.