When your elderly family member needs to live in a nursing home, you most likely put a tremendous amount of thought and consideration into this decision. You are trusting that the facility will take care of your loved one’s health and safety exactly as you would. Unfortunately, elder abuse in nursing homes is on the rise with no signs of stopping, and this abuse typically occurs when family members and loved ones are not around or visiting. This may lead you to wonder if you can put a nanny cam in your loved one’s room at a nursing home to ensure that their wellbeing and safety is not being compromised.
What is a nanny cam?
According to Surveillance-Video, nanny cams are camera devices that are usually discreet and placed throughout a home by parents to see what a babysitter or nanny is doing with their child while they are away. However, these devices can be used in other types of facilities, locations, or situations to keep an eye on someone or something for various reasons.
Placing a nanny cam in your family member’s room in a nursing home will usually not be able to stop or deter someone from committing abuse, but the video footage that you record and gain from placing the device in the room can help you see that your gut feeling was right, give you evidence and proof that your loved one is being abused, and ensure that the individuals carrying out the abusive acts are held responsible for their behavior.
States that allow nanny cam devices in a family member’s nursing home room
While you may want to run to the store and purchase a nanny cam immediately to install into your family member’s nursing home room, you must first make sure that the nursing home is located in a state where it is legal to do so. There are specific states that allow camera devices in nursing home rooms, and we will go over each below.
- Illinois: The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act was passed in Illinois in 2016. This gives nursing home residents the opportunity to consent to a camera device paid for and installed by a family member. As a result of this act, nursing home staff members cannot treat those differently or discriminate against them for using these devices. It is also against the law to intentionally break or tamper with the camera device in any way. Illinois requires all cameras to be visible and have signs indicating that recording is in progress.
- Kansas: HB 2232 passed in Kansas, allowing family members to monitor and record their loved ones in nursing homes. This bill explains that nursing home facilities must provide an area to mount the recording device as well as a power source to plug the device in. The camera cannot be shut off by any staff members at any time.
- Louisiana: Louisiana gives individuals the right to install and use a camera device in a family member’s room at a nursing home. The family member who is a resident of the nursing home must give consent for the device, and the camera must be set up to show a view of only that person. In addition, the nursing home must be informed about the recording device, and signs must be placed in the room letting people know that recording is in progress.
- Minnesota: In 2020, Minnesota gave individuals the right to place cameras in residents’ nursing home and assisted living rooms. Your loved one must provide consent, and you must let the facility know that you plan to install or place cameras in the room. If there are any roommates in your family member’s room, they must give consent to the recording devices as well. If you go ahead and install the cameras, you only have two weeks to inform the facility about the devices.
- Missouri: The Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act was passed in Missouri in 2020. This bill gives permission to family members and residents to install or place cameras in their nursing home or assisted living rooms. However, signs must be posted to notify individuals that the room is being recorded. The Act also states that it is a criminal offense to break or tamper with the camera devices or the data on them.
- New Mexico: The Patient Care Monitoring Act in New Mexico allows family members of nursing home residents to install camera devices as long as they cover the expenses themselves. They must also notify the nursing home facility about the device.
- North Dakota: North Dakota Chapter 50-10.2 allows family members and residents to place hidden cameras in nursing home and assisted living rooms. However, the nursing home facility must be given a written notification, and the recording device can only be placed on the individual’s family member. Managers and staff members are not allowed to access or look at the data on the device.
- Ohio: Ohio is one of the most recent states to pass a law giving permission to place camera devices in nursing home rooms. The law is called Esther’s Law, and it allows residents to place monitoring devices in rooms as long as they provide a written notification and form to the facility. Residents, their attorneys, or their guardians are the only ones who can give consent and notification regarding the camera device.
- Oklahoma: Nursing home residents and family members in Oklahoma can place cameras in their loved one’s rooms as long as they cover the expenses. Nursing homes in Oklahoma must explain that every resident has the right to use recording devices in their rooms, but the footage cannot be used as evidence in court cases.
- South Dakota: House Bill 1056 in South Dakota gives permission for “residents or the resident’s authorized representative” to place cameras in their nursing home rooms. The facility must be notified about the devices in writing, and a form from the Department of Health must be completed.
- Texas: Texas allows families and residents to place cameras and record their family members in their nursing home rooms. However, if they have a roommate, they must get written permission from that individual to record. In addition, the nursing home must be notified about the cameras, and a sign must be placed in the room stating that recording is in progress.
- Washington: WAC 388-97-0400 explains that nursing home residents can request cameras in their rooms at their own expense at any time. However, written notice must be provided to the facility, and the roommate must also give written consent to be recorded. If the roommate does not agree to be recorded, the individual may be moved to a different room.
Unfortunately, if you do not live in one of these states, there is a good chance that you cannot legally install or put a nanny cam, surveillance camera, or any other device in your loved one’s room at a nursing home. However, two states not mentioned on this list, New Jersey and Wisconsin, have 30-day programs in which you can be loaned a camera to find out if your elderly family member is being abused in a nursing home facility.
If you have other questions regarding cameras and surveillance footage in nursing home rooms, please contact Garcia & Artigliere at your earliest convenience. Our nursing home abuse lawyers can help you develop solutions to protect your family member from harm and abuse as well as guide you through the complex legal system. Call our office or submit our contact form to schedule your free case review today. We have offices in Long Beach, Los Angeles, Phoenix, New Orleans, and we look forward to speaking with you soon.
Stephen M. Garcia represents victims of elder and nursing home abuse and is known as one of the leading civil litigators in the country. He is Senior Partner at Garcia & Artigliere, where the firm’s practice is focused on elder abuse, nursing home abuse, and wrongful death of the elderly.
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