Each year, thousands of nursing home residents are abused or neglected in long-term care facilities. Tragically, some of those cases result in death. Others, though maybe not immediately fatal, can severely diminish quality of life. Some states have turned to video surveillance, hoping it might reduce the number of abusive incidents. Yet could this provision truly improve patient care? Or does it become an issue of privacy?
The Disturbing Prevalence of Abuse and Neglect in Nursing Homes
Although there is no real data on the total number of allegations of nursing home abuse and neglect, estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General’s office figures that at least 85 percent of all nursing homes had at least one report filed against them in 2012, which equates to about 60,000 allegations per year.
Other reports have suggested that as many as one in three residents are abused inside of a nursing home. Additionally, a 1999 investigation uncovered potential signs of neglect, such as bed sores, malnutrition, or dehydration, on the death certificates of 5,000 residents for that year alone.
A Lack of Accountability
Quality of care in a nursing home is overseen by the state. For the most part, this means state inspections (although federal inspections do occur) and state enforcement. Some perform better than others, but in all states, the prevalence of nursing home abuse and neglect is entirely too high.
Some studies cite insufficient funding for agencies responsible for keeping nursing homes in check. Others tout the presence of convicted criminals and lack of education among the workers most closely associated with residents. And still others say it is a simple issue of not holding facilities accountable when they fail their residents. Whatever the reason, some states believe the solution may be better, consistent, and constant monitoring.
States Grant Video Surveillance Rights to Families
Much like the popular “nannycams,” video surveillance cameras in nursing homes would be installed and used by family members or responsible caregivers of nursing home residents with the aim of monitoring and catching issues of nursing home abuse early on.
Illinois recently added a provision that would allow such monitoring, joining only just a handful of states. Advocates strongly believe this may be the solution to nursing home abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, opposing parties do not share the same view.
On one hand, advocates of surveillance devices feel the cameras should not be a problem, especially if the personnel and facility have nothing to hide. They strongly believe that such technology could promote better resident safety with both individual patients, and across the board.
Those that oppose such technology say that problematic obstacles, such as issues of privacy when a resident is sharing the room with another resident, may be prohibitive to ensuring patient privacy and safety. Moreover, they feel that cameras would endanger trust between caregiver and patient, which they believe would make it even more difficult to fill positions in an industry where the work is demanding, pay is low, and turnover rates are already high.
Speak with a Compassionate Personal Injury Attorney Today
At Mevorah Law Offices LLC we believe it is our duty to represent individuals who cannot protect or defend themselves against harm. As such, we are committed to providing residents and their families with sound legal advice, quality advocacy, and aggressive litigation experience in instances of nursing home abuse or neglect. To learn more about how we can help, schedule a free initial consultation with our DuPage County nursing home abuse lawyers. Call 630-932-9100 today.
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