Cameras in Nursing Homes Might Be Key to Cutting Down on Abuse and Neglect

January 12, 2016

Transitioning your loved one to nursing care is a very difficult decision to make. Many times it boils down to your gut instinct when you choose a place. So what happens after you have done all of your due diligence, visited a number of facilities, and settled on the one you think is best? How can you be sure that your loved one will be safe there? Well unfortunately you cannot; you are forced to rely on the staff of the nursing home, with limited recourse. Some families have come up with a potential solution to this problem, and are turning to video cameras to look for signs of abuse or neglect.

The Argument for Cameras

The Illinois Department of Public Health gets almost 19,000 calls every year about suspected abuse or neglect in nursing homes. They respond to more than 5,000 such complaints every year, and unfortunately many of them do result in findings of neglect or abuse. Installing cameras is an easy, inexpensive way to monitor a loved one and the care they are receiving without having to file a complaint.

There is no good reason not to allow cameras. Cameras are already prevalent in daycare centers, another common source of abuse and neglect claims, so that worried parents can tune in any time they want and ensure their child is being treated properly. Police officers are also beginning to wear body cameras throughout the country, also as a means to cut down on abuse. There is no good reason for not allowing residents and their family members the option of monitoring their loved one via camera in the nursing facility.

Legislation authorizing cameras in nursing home was signed into law by Governor Rauner of Illinois this summer, and becomes law January 1, 2016. With the passage of this law, Illinois becomes the fifth state in the country, behind New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Washington, with a law or regulation specifically authorizing residents of nursing homes to install cameras in their rooms. Maryland also allows cameras to a more limited extent, if the facility allows it. South Carolina is still silent on this issue.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General’s Office, 85 percent of nursing facilities in the United States reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect in a single year, with an estimated 60,000 allegations involving staffers abusing or neglecting the residents. 85 percent is a lot. Most nursing homes will undoubtedly begin offering the use of cameras as a method of staying competitive.

Call David Aylor Law Offices

If you are worried, and suspect a loved one has been a victim of abuse or neglect in a nursing home, then in is very important to contact a qualified nursing home neglect lawyer as soon as possible to help you navigate the legal process and keep your loved one safe. You and your loved one may also be entitled to significant compensation.

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