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Mental health nurses in West London have seen a 71% reduction in the use of tranquilising injections during patient restraints following the introduction of body worn video cameras.
According to new research, the number of restraints requiring injections at West London NHS Trust has decreased from 14 to four since nursing staff started wearing recording equipment.
“Cameras helped reduce serious incidents and modified behaviour in a positive way”
The use of cameras was also associated with a significant reduction in the most incidents on wards.
In addition, the number of verbal aggression incidents fell from 94 to 75.
As part of a pilot, 50 cameras were supplied to nursing staff across seven mental health wards at the trust- ranging from voluntary admissions to enhanced medium secure wards.
Camera training was provided for security nurses, nurses in charge and response nurses.
Incident data was then collected over a four-month period following the introduction of body worn video cameras and was compared to data for the same time period in the previous year.
Overall, the number of incidents across all categories and all seven wards fell from 216 to 208 after the introduction of the cameras.
However, researchers said that this was not a large or significant reduction.
Results from a staff survey, coinciding with the research, highlighted that 86% thought that wearing the cameras would help reassure both staff and patients and 80% thought that they would have a positive impact.
Meanwhile, 60% could recall a work incident “where they wished they’d had a body camera”.
“The number of the most serious incidents was significantly reduced”
Stephanie Bridger, director of nursing and patient experience at the trust, said: “The pilot provided us with really useful data which supported the use of body worn cameras on our inpatient wards.
“The data showed that the cameras helped reduce serious incidents and modified behaviour in a positive way, for both staff and patients.”
She described the pilot as a “great innovation” for the trust and noted that there were plans to roll the use of body worn cameras out across the organisation.
Lead author of the study, Tom Ellis, institute of criminal justice studies at the University of Portsmouth, said: “The changes after body worn camera introduction across all seven of the West London trust’s mental health wards in this pilot study are encouraging.
“The number of the most serious incidents, for example, those requiring constraint by use of tranquilising injections, was significantly reduced.”