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.
Thanks to the intrepid work of nursing home advocates, patients in long-term care facilities in Missouri can now be monitored via video in order to discourage abuse.
The Eudalays’ Story
The battle began in 2010, when Missouri resident Martha Eudalay found her husband, Tom, slumped over in a wheelchair at his nursing home, unresponsive. He had been left in a room with no air conditioning in the middle of July, and he was covered in urine and fecal matter.
Tom was hospitalized with a high fever and died a short time later. After her husband’s death, Eudalay began advocating for more electronic monitoring at nursing homes.
New Legislation to Prevent Nursing Home Abuse
The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act went into effect on Aug. 28, 2020. The law allows nursing home residents or their legal representatives to install cameras in patients’ rooms.
David Terry, an attorney who practices personal injury law in St. Louis, said the law is long overdue.
“The law gives people an opportunity to keep closer tabs on their family members who are in a nursing home. Particularly in this time period of COVID, when family members have gone months without being able to see their loved ones.”
When the newly enacted bill went up for a vote, some lawmakers expressed concern that installing video cameras in patients’ rooms would violate their privacy. Therefore, the law requires that the patient, as well as others who may be in the room, consent to being recorded. Nursing home staff must be informed that they are being filmed as well.
Elder Abuse Statistics
These laws are much-needed, as disturbing statistics about nursing home abuse and elder abuse reveal these are widespread problems. According to the Nonprofit group Nursing Home Abuse Justice, “As many as 5,000,000 elders are abused each year. It is thought that 1 in 10 elders over the age of 60 have been abused. One study reported that as many as 24.3% of residents experienced at least one instance of physical abuse while in a nursing home…Another study estimates only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are formally reported.”
“Every year, families across the United States make the difficult decision to place their elderly loved ones in nursing homes and extended care facilities. Seniors make the move into long-term care facilities due to deteriorating health and the need for assistance, care and support,” Nursing Home Abuse Justice reports. “Sons, daughters and grandchildren—and seniors themselves—generally assume that high standards of attention, care and treatment will be met with professionalism and compassion. Unfortunately, many nursing homes and care facilities fail to provide the minimum standard of care assumed by residents and their relatives. Instead, abuse of many varieties is perpetrated against elderly residents of nursing homes. In many cases, it puts the individual’s life at risk. Abuse can result in trauma, medical emergencies and even death.”
Take Action Against Nursing Home Abuse with Tittle & Perlmuter
While nursing home abuse is widespread, that doesn’t mean it should be tolerated. If your family member has been abused in a nursing home, give the attorneys at Tittle & Perlmuter a call. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys can guide you through the legal process in order to seek justice for your loved one.