Stakeholder views on using Body Worn Cameras in Acute Mental Health Wards: A scoping study

Body worn cameras (BWC) are being introduced to mental health wards as part of a violence reduction strategy as studies suggest their use may increase patients’ subjective feelings of safety and lead to a reduction in aggression and restrictive practices. However, evidence remains poor in quality with very limited focus.

We will undertake an exploratory qualitative interview study with 60+ stakeholders. We will conduct semi-structured face-to-face and telephone interviews with a range of stakeholders, employing an iterative approach across five phases. We will explore the experiences and perspectives towards the use of BWC technology in acute mental health wards amongst staff managing or working on wards and those with experience of having been a patient on acute wards. To allow a comparative approach we will recruit across ward settings where BWC technology is currently being used and wards where this technology has not been used. This will allow us to explore and compare the experiences of introducing, employing and being subject to use of the technology, as well as the perceptions, motivations, expectations and/or concerns of those where it may or may not be implemented in the future.

To guide our understanding of the policy context, motivators and barriers to implementing such technology at a strategic and policy level we also will recruit and telephone interview Mental Health Nurse Directors via the National MHN Directors Forum. This will allow the findings of the study to be placed within the wider national context to ensure that recommendations made as a result of this work account for the relevant policy frameworks.

Alongside ward-based recruitment we will also aim to have a rolling recruitment via social media for service users who have been discharged from mental health services to explore these voices and their experiences and insights into the use of BWCs in ward settings. This is in response to requests made on social media during the recent debates and will allow us to compare the views of those recruited via NHS Trusts and those recruited via social media. This method allows us to compare whether the experiences and voices presenting publicly via social media reflect those collected within NHS Trusts. Thematic analysis will be used to analyse the qualitative data.