Utilizing Video Cameras to Check for Nursing Home Abuse

Is There Any Way to Monitor What Goes on in a Nursing Home?

Due to the widespread neglect and abuse of nursing home residents, more and more families are demanding a way to monitor the safety and care of their loved ones. One way this monitoring might take place is through Internet-connected cameras. A bill supported by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago was introduced in February and would allow that to happen under certain circumstances.

Camera monitoring would be permitted in nursing homes in Illinois if residents want the cameras and can pay for them under the bill. Under the proposal, the resident would need to approve the use of cameras. If a resident is not competent to make such a decision, legal guardians and family members would be able to give consent. The bill would also create a $50,000 fund for those who want a camera in their room but cannot afford one.

The proposal is sparking a debate, and supporters claim that such a system may reduce the chances of abuse or neglect. They also claim that if abuse or neglect does happen, it would be much easier to prove and to hold employees and nursing home operators responsible. These claims are being challenged due to concerns that residents, workers and visitors would lose privacy should camera monitoring be allowed.

The bill does contain some measures to address privacy concerns. For example, a sign would be posted at main entrances stating that rooms could be electronically monitored. All those living in a particular room would need to agree to a camera being installed, and if one resident wants a camera but the other does not, the nursing home would need to move the resident wanting the camera to another room.

If this bill is enacted, it could be a powerful tool for residents and the attorneys that represent them. The recorded video could be used as evidence in legal proceedings involving abuse or neglect claims. Similar camera laws are in place in four states, including New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington. Reportedly, the Illinois Department of Public Health gets about 19,000 calls claiming nursing home neglect or abuse each year, but it only investigates about 5,000 of them.

If you believe your loved one has been subjected to abuse or neglect at a nursing home, contact the Chicago, Waukegan and McHenry, Illinois personal injury attorneys at Ryan, Ryan & Landa at (847)416-1989 for a consultation today.

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