Families increasingly using cameras to capture nursing home abuse

22 Sep, 2014
By: Donald W Fohrman

Few decisions may be more difficult for families to make than whether or not a loved one should be placed in a nursing home or care facility for extended care. The constantly rising rates of patient neglect and abuse in Illinois and across the country only add to the difficulty of the situation. To combat the issue of abuse, families are increasingly choosing to put cameras in their elderly loved one’s room at their care facility. This is often done as a deterrent for abuse, and to ensure that families will always be aware of the quality and extent of care that the nursing home is providing their family member.

Proposed law

Families in Illinois may soon have legal support behind their decision to put a camera in a relative’s room at a nursing home. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently proposed a law that would allow families to install audio recorders and video cameras in private rooms at care facilities in order to prevent instances of nursing home abuse. Anyone who is being monitored would have to give prior consent, and in the instance of shared rooms, any roommates would also have to approve the use of the recording devices. While no law currently exists banning the use of cameras in nursing homes, many care facilities are opposed to the practice and may resist their installation and use.

A preventative tool

Lawmakers hope that cameras will act as a deterrent to the millions of instances of abuse and neglect that occur every year. The National Center on Elder Abuse reported in a research brief that 44 percent of residents in long-term care facilities admitted to having been abused, and 95 percent stated that they had witnessed another resident being abused or neglected.

Additionally, the report indicated that more than 50 percent of care facility staff admitted that they were physically violent, mentally abusive, and neglectful to their elderly patients. If care providers are aware that there is a camera recording their actions, they may be less likely to abuse and neglect their patients.

Know the signs

Those who suspect their loved one is being abused in a nursing home should immediately remove the elderly individual from the facility. Common signs of abuse include bruises, bed sores, poor hygiene, and an unexplained change in weight. Less common signs may include listlessness, strange behaviors, emotional withdrawal, and unusual financial transactions.

Families who have been affected by nursing home neglect in Chicago can find help through contacting a personal injury attorney with experience in elder abuse. An attorney can help families receive the compensation they need in order to heal and move on.

Category: Nursing Home

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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