Illinois’ attorney general addressing nursing home abuse with camera bill
Illinois, like most other states in the nation, is experiencing a growing epidemic in elder abuse. Many of the most common occurrences of abuse occur in the state’s nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that as many as 95 percent of nursing home residents are neglected or have seen another resident neglected, and 44 percent are the victim of abuse. These statistics may be shocking to most people, but not to an Illinois nursing home abuse attorney. In order to combat the severe problem, the office of the Illinois attorney general has been composing legislation that would allow the families of nursing home patients to place monitoring equipment in their elderly loved ones rooms.
About the legislation
The Fiscal Times reports that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office recently took interest in nursing home neglect and abuse after hearing multiple reports about the severity of the issue. Her office is in the middle of drafting the legislation that they will be proposing, but key points that they plan on putting in the law include the ability for nursing home residents and their family members to place cameras or other recording devices in their rooms. Patients or their legal guardians and roommates would be required to consent to the use of the cameras, but nursing homes or other care facilities would be unable to forbid the practice or retaliate against those who chose to use the monitoring devices. Additionally, residents or their families would be responsible for the purchase and installation costs associated with the cameras.
An important part of the law would allow for any recordings or footage to be admissible as evidence in both civil and criminal cases, something for which any nursing home abuse attorney would advocate. Another vital part would create felony and misdemeanor penalties for anyone who knowingly tampers with or destroys a recording. The belief is that many aid workers and facility staff will be less likely to neglect or abuse their patients if they know that their actions may be used to incriminate them or make them civilly liable for the damages they cause.
According to Madigan’s office, The Illinois Department of Public Health receives almost 19,000 calls every year due to suspected abuse and injury in the state’s nursing homes. It also responds to over 5,000 complaints annually. Many other states already have laws in place allowing the use of surveillance in patient rooms, and it is time that Illinois started offering their elderly patients the same protections. Those who have been injured by the negligent or abusive acts of a nursing home worker can find relief by seeking the counsel of a nursing home abuse attorney. An attorney can help patients receive the relief they need for their injuries.