We depend upon care homes to look after those who are most vulnerable. This includes making sure that residents and staff are protected from security threats such as vandalism, theft and abuse.
While security guards still have a role in care homes, especially for main entrances and exterior patrols, residents and staff typically prefer less visible forms of security such as CCTV and access control.
Care home security must be designed to protect its residents without unnecessarily intruding upon their comfort and feeling of autonomy, making CCTV an ideal security tool.
CCTV and signage on the exterior of the building can deter criminals who see care homes as easy targets, while CCTV inside the building can monitor resident and staff behaviour to make sure residents are receiving the best care possible.
As with any building where strangers live amongst each other, disputes, theft, harassment, aggression and even violence can occur amongst residents in care homes, especially if the home is caring for people with mental illness.
CCTV footage can be vital in providing evidence for reports of poor behaviour amongst residents, or to identify behaviours which may be symptoms of medical conditions.
Unfortunately, we must also acknowledge the role that CCTV plays in monitoring staff. A number of recent abuse scandals in care homes have highlighted the need for CCTV, with parliament discussing in 2018 whether or not it should be mandatory – though, despite strong public support, the verdict was that it should still be left up to individual care homes.
CCTV can safeguard against abuse by care home staff while also making residents and relatives feel reassured that they will be protected.
A BSIA survey found that the primary security concerns of care home providers were the well-being of their residents and the threat of intruders. Access control systems are the ideal method to preventing both.
Access control systems ensure that everyone in the care home, from residents to staff and visitors, can only access areas of the building or buildings that they have security clearance for.
This prevents opportunist thieves from accessing communal areas, prevents residents from accessing the rooms of other residents and prevents vulnerable residents from leaving the site unattended.
Of course, access control is only as good as the system that is implemented. There are a number of access control systems available and which is best for your site should be determined by a risk assessment from a professional, ACS-accredited security company.
The controlled barriers can either consist of locks attached to doors – which has the advantage of being unintrusive and easily retrofitted to existing structures – or you can opt for turnstiles and speedgates to limit access to one person at a time, ideal for front entrances and high security areas.
Then there is the method of identification, ranging from pin pads on the lower end to RFID proximity cards and biometric scanners at the higher end. When choosing the ID method, always consider the accessibility requirements of the people using them. For example, PIN codes should never be used for people who may have memory and recall limitations.
Finally, there is the wider control system. Instead of having single locks linked to single doors, you should consider implementing a site-wide system with a centralised control room or connected to an off-site network.
When combined with individualised IDs, a centralised control system can be used to to track, monitor and record the movements of residents, visitors and staff. A centralised access control system plus live CCTV can allow security and staff to take immediate action should someone be where they shouldn’t.
Also, note that if your access control system was installed before 2005, it may need to be replaced to be compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act.
At Magenta Security, we provide bespoke security solutions for care homes and nursing homes across the country, which all starts with a no-obligation risk assessment from one of our SIA licensed and trained security managers.
To book your risk assessment, contact our award-winning customer service team now on 0800 772 3786.
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