As we have repeatedly addressed the issue of cameras in nursing homes remains a hot topic. As earlier noted Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s recently came out in support of legislation permitting nursing home residents and their families to install their own cameras in their own rooms. Stories continue to stream in that suggest a continuing need of using cameras to document abuse and neglect. Even more importantly, they may prevent mistreatment through deterrence of nursing home staffers who would think twice about abusing or neglecting a patient knowing it could all be captured on hidden tape. Several states have already moved to make such permission lawful. While Florida is not one of them, sad and unfortunate news of abuse being caught on tape could spur yet another state to at least consider the possibility.
Criminal Charges after Abuse
As recently reported, two nursing assistants, both certified for the profession, were criminally charged with battery. The abuse was perpetrated on a 76 year old patient who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Thus this case also exemplifies the mix of physical and mental challenges that many nursing home residents face in concert and also shows how vulnerable residents are particularly where they are mentally impaired and so easy to take advantage of in any situation.
No resident should be treated the way this patient was treated, but this particular patient had even less of a chance to try to fight back or report it because of his mental condition. As we recently discussed in another post, over 5 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s and types of dementia in the United States. These afflictions largely affect those over 65 years of age, and affect many women, although men suffer as well. It is painful enough for patients like this one in Florida to suffer naturally the way he does on a daily basis, but it is horrifying and unconscionable to think about how he could have been treated this way, especially by people who are charged with caring for him because he needs a certain quality of care on a daily basis so that he can live as comfortably as possible. And let’s not forget that many of these nursing homes are paid handsomely, through private insurance, government insurance like Medicare or Medicaid, and even personal family funds, for their supposed efforts in taking care of residents.
Nursing Home Abuse on Camera
In this particular case, the son and daughter-in-law of the victim spotted bruising on their father’s body which prompted concerns about what was going on at the facility. And as the son commented for the published story, because of the father’s dementia he was unable to tell them what was going on, which further exemplifies the added challenge of caring for someone who is unable to communicate as they would like.
This all led the family to put a “nanny cam” in the father’s room, and within a month found footage of the two nursing assistants harassing and kicking the patient. So while there are obviously some privacy concerns, where it is the wish of the patient and/or their family members to keep a hidden camera, such concerns are not as paramount as the well-being of the loved one in the nursing home. In this case it has clearly led to a family being able to help their father before things got any worse, allowed for them to expose the nursing home, and even has led to criminal charges against the individual perpetrators.
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