Granny Cams

What’s wrong with Illinois’ plan to prevent nursing home abuse

A new law proposed in Illinois would permit the use of cameras in nursing homes to monitor patient care.

The use of the cameras would be voluntary, although there are questions about obtaining consent from elderly residents, their visitors, and the nursing home staff.

Nursing home safety (if you can afford it)

Patients and their families would have to purchase and set up the equipment themselves, and then monitor the footage.

In this plan, a patient’s safety is contingent upon their ability to finance and install an expensive surveillance system. Many senior citizens in long-term care facilities (which are hugely expensive) can’t afford that.

Additionally, this plan assumes that there are family members who are willing and able to watch hours of video footage on a regular basis.

Who’s in charge here?

Families should be allowed to monitor the care of elderly relatives. “Granny cams” have recorded elder abuse in other cases.

And there’s a good argument that the mere presence of a camera would decrease the risk of nursing home abuse: surveillance in itself changes behavior.

But should the State of Illinois place the burden of ensuring nursing home safety on the patients themselves?

Nursing home abuse and neglect is a big problem. Illinois received a failing grade in a national study released in May 2014. Voluntary surveillance captured and monitored by those who can afford it may help, but overall, this plan does not come close to solving the problem.

Increasing Acceptance of "Granny Cams"

Most of us have heard of nanny cams. Now, the tiny hidden cameras, used for parents who are suspicious of their nannies, are gaining greater acceptance as a way to stop elder abuse or nursing home abuse.

A video still shows a nursing home aide stuffing latex gloves into Eryetha Mayberry’s mouth

A video still shows a nursing home aide stuffing latex gloves into Eryetha Mayberry’s mouth

According to the NY Times’ Well blog, Doris Racher decided to use a granny cam to catch a petty thief who was stealing from her mother, a 96-year-old dementia nursing home patient.

Instead of catching the thief, Doris found an aide stuffing latex gloves into her mother’s mouth, while another taunted her, tapping her on the head, laughing.

Despite concerns about privacy, some state attorney generals have used hidden cameras to go after some suspected of nursing home patient abuse and neglect.

In June, Mike DeWine, the Ohio state attorney general, announced that his office, with permission from families, had placed cameras in residents’ rooms in an unspecified number of state facilities. Mr. DeWine has moved to shut down at least one facility, in Zanesville, where, he said, cameras caught actions like an aide’s repeatedly leaving a stroke patient’s food by his incapacitated side.

As for the Mayberry story, there is now a new Oklahoma law that allows cameras in residents’ rooms if consent forms are filed to notify the facility, according to prior coverage by News9. The law gives the family exclusive rights to the recording and allows it to be used in court.

 

About Kevin

Kevin Coluccio was recently named one of the Top 10 Super Lawyers in Washington State. He has long history of successful elder abuse/neglect cases and has a stellar reputation for getting results for his injury clients in serious car crashes, pedestrian accidents, trucking accidents, maritime claims, and asbestos injury cases.