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 Care Campaign For The Vulnerable

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

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Care homes capturing undignified images of vulnerable residents and placing out on public social media forums does not represent 'best practice'

7th February 2021

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is receiving a huge response in support of our raising awareness to Care Homes social media pages that are publicly posting out what families see as 'inappropriate'' and ''undignified photos'' of elderly residents. CCFTV would like to advise care providers such posts are being sent to our organisation from families telling us they are concerned when giving consent for photos of loved ones to be placed on social media for fear of them not being included in activities or worse, will face “repercussions “ if they do not agree. We have received a huge response on this very important matter and we have received correspondance from Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO of Care England suggesting we write an article to place out to his members on the concerns coming to our organisation and to work together to better regulate care home Facebook/social media pages.

Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is receiving a response from care providers after we brought to their attention photos posted on the care homes public social media pages that families flagged up to us as ''inappropriate'' and ''undignfied.'' One Provider wrote to us,

''I want to firstly thank you for alerting me to the concerns with the pictures uploaded to the Facebook page and sharing the information below. We strive to ensure we have consent and consideration when sharing any residents pictures publicly. I have taken the concerns very seriously and we are currently taking companywide action to review the current process and management of our publicly facing media. For the people you are speaking with and for your assurances we are;
• Reviewing all uploaded images and pictures to ensure they are sensitive and dignified.
• All managers in the business are receiving an update on media and engagement policy and standards.
• We are seeking assurances that Home Managers are taking full responsibility and oversight for any shared pictures.
• At the home we are also speaking with residents, contacting all next of kin and legally responsible persons to review consent.” Care Provider.

Just some of the undignifed images captured and placed out on Care Home public social media showing complete disregard for vulnerable elderly residents dignity.

''This isn't about whether consent is given.... but care professionals exercising common sense and to understand this does not represent 'best practice'. Care Campaign for the Vulnerable

“Here at Care Campaign for the Vulnerable, we love seeing photos of our elderly enjoying their hobbies and activities in care homes and especially during lockdown so families can see what loved ones are up to and be reassured they are being stimulated. We have the highest praise for care homes that involve residents in activities and past times. But more recently our organisation is sent correspondence from worried family members telling us they are concerned with elderly loved ones being placed out publicly on a care home social media page showing residents in an undignified light and fear they are being “exploited “ while being seen to promote the care homes. We have been forced to contact many care providers and send them these photos and all of them have agreed that they were inappropriate to be placed out publicly on social media and after investigating took them down while thanking us for bringing it to their attention.

In many of these incidents, it could be an oversight by staff but we should never accept it as being best practice. Care Professionals talk about “consent has been given “ but even with consent many of the photos should not have been placed out. Care professionals must think that just because they can do something, doesn’t mean they should.

In some of the posts that were placed out for public show, families contacted us about one elderly lady in her wheelchair had her catheter bag showing, another resident was laying in her bed with a placard placed on her with the care homes logo and the name of the care provider promoting she’d just had the “Covid jab” and an elderly resident in what seemed to be a see-through nightie in a care home lounge area. We strongly believe this displays a lack of dignity and respect and does everything but 'promote' care homes in a positive light. Carers and managers should reflect on some of these images and think of their own family members. Would they be comfortable placing out on public social media if it were their mother or father or grandparents''? We must all work together to ensure our most vulnerable are respected and seen positively and not have anyone believe our elderly in care homes are being exploited, even when we know that's never the care homes' intention.''

Our official statement

CCFTV has heard from families that on very many occasions inappropriate images of care home residents have appeared in the public arena when associated with happy events at particular sites. Whilst we applaud every effort care staffmake to celebrate resident special days and achievements, we nevertheless are concerned that many shared images just are not suitable for wider circulation.

Several images recently shared have been insensitive to say the least. Pictures of residents in unkempt states, sometimes even wearing inappropriate night attire, have been shocking. It is improbable that families would have approved the use of those images and unlikely that the resident in question consented at all given the content. It is also concerning that the person taking the photo didn’t automatically conclude that an unkempt image should not only have been immediately deleted, but also not for a second ever considered for marketing purposes.

We would therefore respectfully ask Care providers to revisitpublic image and data protection policies, to ensure that residents are not disrespected in such a manner. It is imperative that those policies confirm that staff seek consent to circulate an image and that any image should be fully scrutinised to ensure it respects the dignity and privacy of the resident in question.

It is CCFTV’s experience that the vast majority of homes already meet these proposed standards. We often witness happy smiling residents who have been well presented and agreed to participate in a public event arranged by the home. Their families have usually been involved in supporting a planned event.

A minority of homes exist that too often fail to adequately protect residents when releasing substandard images promoting care home lifestyles and activities. We implore all to revisit policy to ensure everyone involved in the preparation of an event will at some point in the planning process be formally reminded about resident presentation, their right to dignity and choice and their right to give consent for image release and publication.

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Care Campaign for the Vulnerable is learning of the pressures faced by conscientious led Care Providers striving to offer a caring and safe environment to both service users and staff. Safety monitoring is proving to be a invaluable care assist tool - bringing a more open and transparent culture into care homes as well as saving valuable resources within the care home sector and the NHS

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