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Cameras Being Used More Frequently to Catch Elder Abuse

Technology changes have altered virtually every area of our lives-from how we communicate to how we travel. Interestingly, it is also playing an increasingly important role in catching nursing home abuse and neglect. Our Illinois nursing home lawyers have previously reported on cases of neglect-and even intentional physical abuse-that have been caught on cameras in long-term care facilities. An increasing number of families are reverted to the technology in an effort to ensure that their loved ones are receiving the care to which they are entitled.

The Star Tribune recently reported on the increase in popularity of the oversight tool. It was explained how the use of surveillance technology was initially a tool used by family members, but it is now being integrated into the procedures of some facility managers and law enforcement officials. The paper notes that at least two specific cases of abuse in that state were uncovered because of the use of these so-called “granny cams.” For example, this spring a son placed a hidden camera in a desk fan and ultimately caught two nursing home workers abusing and physically hitting his 78-year old mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. In another state, officials used cameras to monitor reported instances of nursing home abuse. They eventually arrested 22 different workers after their misconduct was caught on tape.

As one prominent elder care advocate explained, the use of cameras in growing in popularity to catch a wide range of misconduct, from shoplifting to traffic violations. It is only natural for that use to expand to other areas. Some states are adopted the technology more than others. For example, Minnesota recently approved a law that allows foster care facilities to install cameras for overnight monitoring of vulnerable residents. However, while at least 15 states have proposed laws on the topic, only three has so far specifically addressed the issue.

There is disagreement about whether residents and their families have the right to videotape their care regardless of whether legislation has been passed addressing the issue or not. In most cases where laws have specifically allowed the practice, notice must generally be given to care workers that the device is installed. Still most involved in the process believe that the cameras only encourage proper care. One ombudsman noted, “I really do think it is a deterrent…I think it does have the potential to influence the way someone behaves and cares for you in the privacy of your room.”

Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys believe that most cases of abuse on the elderly are never reported. It remains a constant battle to have the victims come forward. It seems logical for technology improvements to be used to aid in that effort and ultimately root out abuse and neglect. Lives literally depend on proper accountability of this care. As always, our lawyers remind families that help is available if they believe that their loved one is or has been a victim of unsatisfactory nursing home care. Please get in touch with our office and share your story to how we might be able to help.

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