Catching Nursing Home Abuse on Cameras
Using Surveillance Cameras to Monitor Care
Families of loved ones abused or neglected in nursing homes are increasingly turning on in-room cameras to monitor care. More than 1.3 million Americans live in nursing homes. Their loved ones watch stories of neglect, abuse, and physical assault of nursing home residents on the news, and of course want to protect their senior from any mistreatment. In-room web-cameras offer one way concerned relatives can keep an eye on their loved one. There are privacy concerns but the motivation is justified – horrible things can happen to elderly residents, and the results can be fatal. Our lawyers represent victims of nursing home abuse and hold the owners, administrators and staff accountable for any injuries sustained. If you or someone you know is a victim of nursing home abuse, call the attorneys at Evans Law Firm today at 415-441-8669.
Surveillance Cameras in California
You may install a camera in a nursing home resident’s room in California provided you follow certain steps established by the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) and the patient consents to the camera. Your loved one’s nursing home will only be allowed to place a camera in his or her rooms after both you, as a family member, and the patient give your consent for the nursing home to do so. It is important that the resident understand that you want to install a camera for their protection and security and, if they have the capacity, that they consent to the camera in their room. If the senior does not have capacity, obtain consent from their Conservator or Agent under a Power of Attorney. The Community Care Licensing Division of the CDSS must approve your consents and waiver before any cameras may be placed within private patient areas. The nursing home must then maintain all video recordings of your elderly loved one in accordance with existing privacy laws. See Cal. Dept. of Soc. Serv. Guidelines 2-5800 et seq.
Cameras No Substitutes for Visits
Cameras presumably act as a deterrent to abuse, but a surveillance camera is not a substitute for family involvement and personal monitoring of care. Residents and family members should continue to be as involved as they can be in all aspects of the resident’s life. It is possible that a resident could be treated unfairly outside of his/her room and this may not be recorded on the surveillance camera. With or without a camera, visit your loved one as often as you can and look for signs of abuse or neglect:
- Bedsores/pressure ulcers or other poor skin conditions;
- Bruises and scratch marks;
- Indication of sexual assault, rape, or battery;
- Elopement or wandering off;
- Rapid weight loss;
- Abnormal or withdrawn behavior and unusual silence;
- Prolonged sleep or drowsiness;
- Agitation especially when certain caregivers are present;
- Reluctance to speak when staff is nearby;
- Unsanitary and unclean conditions;
- Fear of being touched.
If you or a loved one been the victim of nursing home abuse in Marin or elsewhere in California, contact Ingrid M. Evans and the other nursing home abuse attorneys at Evans Law Firm at (415) 441-8669, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can help guide your case through a jury trial or toward an equitable settlement. We handle cases involving physical and financial elder abuse, qui tam and whistleblower law, nursing home abuse, whole life insurance and universal life insurance, and indexed, variable, and fixed annuities, securities fraud and FINRA arbitrations.