Are hidden cameras the answer to nursing home abuse?

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The decision to place a loved one into long-term residential care is a difficult one, and an issue facing many Tennessee families. Many fear that their elderly relative might receive substandard care while in residence, or could be subjected to nursing home abuse. Technology may provide a measure of reassurance for families facing this difficult decision, in the form of small but powerful video cameras.

There are a range of cameras currently on the market that would allow a family to record the interactions that a loved one has with nursing home staff. While many facilities are against this practice, hidden camera video has formed the base of many investigative reports and lawsuits. A recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that as many as 85 percent of all nursing facilities reported at least one allegation of abuse or neglect during 2012.

The main argument against the use of video surveillance in nursing homes is that such filming is an invasion of the resident’s privacy. Because many residents are in an advanced state of illness or dementia, it is argued that they are unable to provide their consent. However, for families who are truly concerned about the quality of care that their loved ones are receiving, privacy issues are secondary to those of safety.

For those in Tennessee who are considering a long-term residential care placement, the option of having video surveillance in place may provide a measure of comfort. In addition, should it be discovered that nursing home abuse or neglect is taking place, having footage of mistreatment can be essential in having those concerns addressed. For families who suffer from the mistreatment of the elderly, legal recourse is available in the form of an abuse lawsuit.

Source: The Fiscal Times, “Nursing Home Surveillance Raises Hue and Cry“, Jenni Bergal, Sept. 25, 2014