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Is using cameras in nursing homes a good idea?

Leaving a parent in a nursing home is not an easy decision, and you may worry about how well the staff is treating your mom or dad. It is a valid concern as abuse and neglect are common in nursing homes, even when unintentional. It can be hard to detect abuse or neglect depending on the mental and medical conditions of your parent. A few states have addressed this problem by allowing cameras in nursing homes to monitor safety and help in litigation. However, this solution is not as cut and dry as it may seem.

The advantages of cameras


The biggest advantage is lowering the risk of harm coming to your parent. When staff members know they are under watch, they will be less likely to do something inappropriate. If they do, the act will be on camera, allowing you to hold the nursing home and employee accountable for the behavior. Also, if staff have access to video monitoring, they can catch accidents and wandering patients quickly.


The disadvantages of cameras


Opposition mostly involves privacy issues, even when residents have the choice of installing a camera in the room. Questions that arise about using cameras include:


  • How do you determine patient consent?
  • Should cameras be visible or hidden?
  • Should staff be aware of the presence of surveillance?
  • Who owns and what happens to the video recordings?
  • How do you approach a roommate situation?
  • Who should pay for the cameras?


The biggest cause of nursing home abuse and neglect is understaffing, so some are concerned about how cameras will affect staffing. Employees may not feel comfortable with constant surveillance and leave to work for a facility without cameras, which contributes to the problem rather than resolves it.


The bottom line


Prevention is best: Be careful in your nursing home selection and ask about its surveillance policy. Either way, if you suspect abuse or neglect, talk to a personal injury attorney experienced with nursing home cases to learn about your options.

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