When it comes to neglect and abuse in nursing homes, it can be difficult to confirm suspicions. Patients are often either afraid or unable to come forward about what is happening to them. This vulnerability is what makes them such easy targets in the first place.
This is why many family members seek to substantiate their concerns by installing an in-room electronic monitoring system, sometimes referred to as a hidden camera or “granny cam.” These clips can be useful in both criminal and civil liability cases, as it reveals the way staffers behave when they think no one is looking. Illinois has just passed a measure, effective Jan. 1, 2016, that will explicitly allow cameras in nursing homes. That will make it one of five states that has granted this allowance.
However, they are in some places illegal. Florida, for example, has a strict statute concerning recording third parties recording individuals who do not consent to such action.
In 2012, senators in Florida attempted to pass a measure that would allow this. It was called SB 2014, and it would require that nursing homes and assisted living facilities allow residents, residents’ surrogates, residents’ guardians or residents’ personal representative at residents’ request, to monitor the residents’ room through the use of an electronic monitoring device.
The statute would have even required those who chose to install such monitoring to post notice of it on the nursing home door. However, it would have barred nursing homes from refusing admission or initiating discharge of a patient on grounds that their room is or was being monitored per the statute. It also laid forth penalties for any workers caught tampering with a patient’s in-room personal electronic device.
The plan died in the committee for Children, Families and Elder Affairs three months after it was introduced, and there hasn’t been an effort to revive it since.
That can leave relatives and other loved ones in a difficult place when abuse is suspected. That’s why it’s important to discuss these concerns with an experienced Fort Lauderdale nursing home abuse lawyer. We can help individuals weigh their options and determine what is necessary to establish proof of wrongdoing.
The nursing home lobby is powerful in Florida. While some have argued that such a measure would have staffers flocking to facilities with less intensive monitoring, we would counter that if all facilities had these devices, they would have no choice but to be accountable for the level of care they provide. Some hide behind the cloak of patient privacy concerns, but it really comes down to liability.
In the Illinois legislation, the law stipulates nursing home residents and/or their caregivers must pay for the devices themselves, and the recordings can only be used in civil, criminal or administrative proceedings relating to the health, welfare or safety of a resident. In cases where residents have a roommate, that person must also consent to being filmed as well. Additionally, staff members found to have tampered with, hampered or obstructed the devices intentionally may face criminal charges.
Other states that have passed similar measures include: Texas, Washington, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Call Freeman Injury Law — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights. Now serving Orlando, West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie and Fort Lauderdale.
Illinois to allow electronic monitoring in nursing homes, Aug. 26, 2015, By Mark Huffman, Consumer Affairs
More Blog Entries:
Police: Nursing Home Abuse Recorded by Staff on Social Media, Aug. 30, 2015, Fort Lauderdale Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog