Ethical and Practical Issues in Video Surveillance of Psychiatric Units

  • Yahel E. Appenzeller, Paul S. Appelbaum, Manuel Trachsel
  • Psychiatric Services, December 2019, American Psychiatric Association
  • DOI: 10.1176/

What is it about?

The main ethical conflict with regard to video surveillance in psychiatry lies between patients’ autonomy and privacy versus patient and staff security and safety. Empirical evidence suggests that video surveillance is not useful in increasing security of shared spaces on psychiatric wards. Some empirical evidence exists for clinical benefits of video surveillance in private spaces of psychiatric wards (e.g., to allow patients to sleep undisturbed). Video surveillance can increase patients’ choices during coercive measures such as seclusion and restraint.

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The following have contributed to this page: PD Dr. med. Dr. phil. Manuel Trachsel