Surveillance cameras in resident rooms may help families catch the abuse and neglect of their loved ones who are living in nursing homes. Choosing to install video cameras may also help to prevent neglect or abuse from happening because the staff will be on notice that they will be on tape when they enter the room.
Nursing Home Staff Caught on Camera
Two disturbing cases that both happened in Georgia demonstrate the power of video surveillance in uncovering nursing home neglect and abuse. One case involved an 89-year-old veteran of World War II. His son suspected that he was being neglected and secretly installed a hidden camera in his room. When his father passed away, the son discovered that the nurses who were on duty failed to respond to his calls for help when he was having trouble breathing. They fumbled around with his oxygen and laughed. When he stopped breathing, they made inconsistent attempts at CPR. The nursing home staff also waited for an hour to call 911 when the victim slipped into unconsciousness. Two of the nurses were not terminated from their positions with the nursing home until ten months after the incident occurred, and none of them surrendered their nursing licenses until the footage was sent to the Georgia Board of Nursing more than three years later.
The second case involved an 84-year-old female nursing home resident who suffered more than 100 ant bites. While the three nurses on staff claimed that they had checked on her several times during their 11-hour shift, the video revealed that they never went into her room. All three were convicted of neglect and placed on probation. One was ordered to surrender her nursing license to the state.
Illinois’s Law Allowing Surveillance Cameras
In 2015, Illinois Gov. Rauner signed a bill into law that allows the family members of nursing home residents to install surveillance cameras in the rooms of their loved ones. They must get the consent of their loved ones’ roommates, and a sign must be posted on the door to warn visitors and staff that a camera is installed in the room. Families are responsible for the cost of installation.