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.
Cameras in Nursing Homes- Good or Bad?
As parents and grandparents get older and require more attention and care, one solution for many people is to enlist the help of a nursing home or assisted living facility. However, due to the influx of news stories and negative reports, it seems that some nursing homes are no longer safe- especially when no one’s there to watch.
One of the main issues in nursing homes is the inability of residents to speak up for themselves due to their age, disability, or fears. Reported by the National Center on Elder Abuse, one study showed that 44% of nursing home residents said they had been abused, while a staggering 95% of residents say they had been neglected or had observed neglect around them. Many of these instances remain unreported and unresolved, keeping friends and family members in the dark about the abuse and neglect happening right in front of them.
So… what’s the solution?
All the scary stories and disturbing reports about nursing homes may beg the question… “Should cameras be allowed in nursing homes?”
Laws Regarding Cameras in Nursing Homes
As it stands today, only seven states have specific rules governing the legality of surveillance in nursing homes. All 43 remaining states are left in a grey area, leading to an influx of tension, confusion, and lawsuits.
In states such as Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington, both the resident and the roommate (if applicable) must consent to the installation of a camera. In other states, there are no set laws and the resident or family is able to do what they like. Situations can become sticky, however, when the resident is unable to make their own decisions. In these cases, the choice is oftentimes left up to the family representative, which means that these representatives risk making decisions in which the resident would not have agreed to on their own.
Although cameras may be a good option for some residents and their families, it may not always be the best solution.
Some issues with surveillance devices include the determination of consent as listed above, whether the device could record audio instead of just video, at what point the camera needs to be turned off (dressing/undressing, private medical talks with doctors and nurses, etc.), and more.
Ohio Nursing Homes
As of 2019, Ohio does not have a law dealing with the use of surveillance devices in nursing homes. Precaution should be used by residents and family members before placing a device in a nursing home due to the risk of breaking privacy and wiretapping laws in some situations.
It’s always best for families and friends to stay involved in playing an active role in the resident’s care. Diligent observation and monitoring could help identify signs of nursing home abuse or neglect
If you have any questions about whether or not placing a camera in a nursing home is legal, contact an experienced nursing home neglect and abuse attorney first.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected at a nursing home, don’t wait to take action. Visit the resources on our page, fill out a contact form, or call 216-285-1991 for a free consultation.