When our beloved parents grow older and resources are stretched thinner, sometimes it becomes necessary to let others provide the appropriate level of care. That means senior citizens often find themselves in nursing homes or care facilities where we cannot always protect them from harm. Elder abuse results when these loved ones are taken advantage of in some way, whether it be physically or financially.
If you suspect that your loved one is falling victim to elder abuse, then you should first consult with an attorney who specializes in personal injury or elder law — the umbrellas under which elder abuse falls.
In order to collect evidence to prove the facility’s neglect of your loved one (or deter unlawful activity in the loved one’s presence), it might be useful to set up a camera in the resident’s room.
Laws on this subject are still under review in many states due to privacy concerns. This is because placing a camera inside a nursing home can be considered spying not only on people who are just trying to do their jobs, but also on other residents. Many nursing homes place two residents to a room, and that means your camera could potentially capture intimate footage of someone who did not give you permission to place it.
That said, it is always beneficial to obtain permission from your loved one (or their power of attorney), other residents that might be affected, and even the care facility management. Failing to receive the requisite permissions does not mean you cannot proceed.
A woman in Minnesota recently placed such a camera in her mother’s room, and the workers at the nursing home manually pointed it in another direction when they entered the premises. The daughter filed a complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health, which subsequently ruled that the camera be allowed in the room. The ruling barred workers from tampering with the camera because it was placed there with the intention to prevent wrongdoing.
Placing a camera in a nursing home is already legal in Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Keep in mind: just because a law doesn’t guarantee the legality of camera placement, that doesn’t mean it’s illegal either. There’s no harm in trying, but keep the aforementioned concerns over privacy in mind.
Once you know for sure that your loved one is being taken advantage of, it is time to alert the proper authorities or take the case to civil court.