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We want to believe that our elderly loved ones will be safe and well taken care of should they need around-the-clock access to medical professionals that a nursing home can provide. Sadly, stories of nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse are all too common. So how do we address and hopefully prevent these tragedies?
One idea has been video monitoring and surveillance in nursing homes. But the cameras don't come without controversy, from employee and privacy advocates. So, are video cameras allowed in nursing home facilities generally or residents' rooms specifically?
Louisiana recently passed a law allowing nursing home residents, and their family members, to set up video monitoring devices in their rooms. Residents or their surrogates must give the nursing home notice of the installation of a monitoring device, however, and provide the device's type, function, and use. Under the law, monitoring devices that visually record activity must also include a record of the dates and time of recording.
And two years ago, New Jersey rolled out its "Safe Care Cam" program allowing relatives rent surveillance cameras installed in nursing homes, facilities for adults with developmental disabilities, and other institutional care settings.
Additionally, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas specifically allow nursing homes or nursing facilities to use video or electronic monitoring in the homes or other facilities. And Washington has state regulations that govern audio monitoring and video monitoring in nursing homes. Texas laws, however, are unique: it is the only state that does not require the consent of the resident or their representative to install video surveillance, and its law only applies to state-supported living centers, not private facilities.
Elder Care and Safety
If you're worried about a family member being abused or neglected in a nursing home, contact authorities immediately. Police or adult protective services may be able to investigate nursing home abuse claims. You may also want to talk to an attorney if you're considering filing a civil lawsuit in response to abuse or neglect, or you want to install video surveillance in a family member's room to prevent such an incident.