Illinois lawmakers have been taking action against the disturbing increases in the amount of nursing home abuse cases in the state. In order to offer attorneys and police officers more concrete evidence of abuse, a bill was proposed in September that would allow patients and family members to elect for cameras to be installed in their loved one’s rooms in order to monitor the activities and behaviors of their caregivers. Missouri already has a similar measure and more states are following suit to thwart the alarming numbers of elder abuse cases.
Privacy versus Transparency
One of the biggest issues that has been raised during the creation of this bill is whether or not the installation of cameras in a nursing home facility (public or private) would violate the privacy rights of residents as well as their visitors. Lawmakers must weigh against the fact that nursing home cases are often relying on the word of the patients against their caregivers – and for some patients, it is difficult to prove abuse simply by their word.
Some amendments that have been added to the bill to make it less of an invasion and more of a protective measure include:
- Patients and roommates as well as family must consent to the use of cameras before they can be installed.
- Signs must be placed in order to notify those visiting as well as working that they are under surveillance.
- Family members that wish to install a camera will incur the costs of installation, monitoring and maintenance.
- Those with limited mental capacity can still have cameras, but family members will need to go through a specialized legal process first.
- Fines and punishments will be used against those nursing home facilities, administrators and caregivers that treat patients unfairly because they elected to use security cameras.
Cameras Could Help Improve Overall Nursing Home Care Too
These cameras will not just catch abusers in the act – they could also be used for facilities that wish to improve their patient care. Family members can also monitor loved ones, and caregivers can use the information they see to:
- Notice when a patient attempts to get out of their bed during nighttime hours.
- Improve response times to patient needs – such as a patient that has knocked over their oxygen tank.
- Instill more powerful self-governing techniques and help identify/remove potential abusers before they become such.
Until these cameras are installed in nursing homes throughout the state, there are likely to still be a disturbing amount of elder abuse cases. If your loved one has been abused or neglected in a nursing home facility, contact Malman Law. We can answer your questions and discuss your options during a free consultation. Call us at 888-307-2051 or fill out an online contact form.