Does Surveillance in Nursing Homes Reduce Instances of Neglect and Abuse?

Nursing Home Blog

Illinois was the sixth state to pass laws allowing nursing homes to install surveillance cameras in the private rooms of residents, at the resident’s request, according to Pacific Standard magazine. The intentions behind the law are quite noble. The idea, in terms of nursing homes, is to limit the ability of staff members to abuse elderly patients. Cameras are also being used in schools to monitor the treatment of special needs children.

Other states that have passed similar laws include:
• California
• New Mexico
• Oklahoma
• Texas
• Washington

Utah struck down a law along these lines in the past, though the debate is ongoing in the state.

Laws such as these exist to protect the most vulnerable among us – people who cannot defend and protect themselves. Elder abuse is obviously a big problem; otherwise, the need for nursing home abuse lawyers wouldn’t be so widespread. The question, though, is whether or not surveillance cameras can really be effective at stamping out a problem that many identify as systemic rather than isolated.

For families of adults or children receiving specialized care, the surveillance cameras can provide a certain peace of mind – especially when backed up by the power of audio recordings. The general feeling among relatives is that the presence of the cameras alone will result in staff members providing better care and attention to their charges.

The argument can be made, however, that it simply leads staff members to spend less time with patients whose rooms are being monitored, which can then result in higher instances of neglect.

Additionally, there are the limits to the laws to contend with. In the state of California, for instance, surveillance is limited to video only. This means that cruel words, insults, and verbal abuse cannot be detected from the recordings. Unfortunately, the jury is still out on how effective surveillance cameras will be for preventing abuse..

From a legal point of view, one highly beneficial advantage of surveillance is that it can provide clear-cut evidence of certain types of abuse. If you suspect your loved one is suffering from abuse in their nursing home, though, don’t wait for irrefutable evidence: Call the nursing home abuse lawyers at Garcia, Artigliere, & Medby to learn more about your options for seeking justice on behalf of your loved one.