It is unknown how many of our vulnerable elderly fall victim to neglect or abuse each year since such actions are easily hidden from view and underreported. In fact, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), 84 percent of abusive situations involving older adults go unreported or unrecognized.
For the last 30 months of her life, Esther Piskor was abused, neglected, and mistreated in a nursing home ran by MetroHealth Medical Center.
Although Esther passed away in May 2018, her son, Steve Piskor, wants her legacy to live on forever- and is working with Ohio lawmakers to make that happen.
After witnessing some noticeable changes in his mother like unexplained bruises and quiet moods, Steve decided to place a hidden camera in his mother’s room at her nursing home facility.
The footage he found just a few days later was shocking, to say the least.
In one video, posted on Steve’s YouTube channel, one of Esther’s aids grabs her from her wheelchair and physically throws her onto the bed, causing her legs to hit the wall. In another clip, you can see the same aid yelling in Esther’s face, throwing her in a wheelchair, and hitting her in the face.
Virgen Caraballo, the aid shown in multiple videos, was later sentenced to 10 and a half years in prison for the mistreatment and neglect of her patients.
Before Steve even considered installing a hidden camera in his mother’s nursing home room, he tried to bring up concerns of abuse and neglect to facility management more than once.
Steve claims his multiple attempts to talk to someone about his worries were completely ignored. The camera placed in Esther’s room was Steve’s last resort- he HAD to find out what was happening when no one was looking. After finding several disturbing instances of abuse and neglect, Steve knew this had to be part of a larger, wide-spread problem.
Enter: Esther’s Law.
This new proposed bill by Ohio lawmakers would attempt to protect the elderly community in Ohio from similar forms of mistreatment. Esther’s Law would allow family members to monitor their loved ones using video cameras placed in individual rooms.
State Representative Juanita Brent serves Ohio District 12 and is one of multiple state representatives co-sponsoring this bill. She believes the additional surveillance measures are “crucial” and necessary to protect our elders from any further abuse or neglect.
There has, however, been pushback from the public and other officials about the idea of surveillance in nursing homes. However, backers of the bill believe that if caregivers and aids are performing their job regularly and legally, they have nothing to worry about.
Currently, there are 10 states throughout the U.S. that allow cameras inside nursing homes:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
According to lawmakers, Esther’s law will be modeled closely after the surveillance laws in Illinois, requiring:
- No hidden cameras
- Signs on the door notifying of surveillance
- Consent allowing cameras to be shut off during certain times (bathing, doctor’s exams, etc.)
If Esther’s Law goes into effect, the resident of the nursing home or their appointed power of attorney would be required to agree to a surveillance device being installed in their room.
To learn more about nursing home neglect and abuse, check out Tittle & Perlmuter’s Nursing Home Abuse Blog or talk to one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys by calling (216)-438-9647 or filling out a contact form online.