We all want our loved ones to be safe and cared for, especially when we cannot be there to protect and care for them ourselves. It’s only common sense, then, to want to put a security camera of sorts in the nursing home where your family member lives. You want to make sure the caregivers there are giving the absolute best service and care to your loved one. But is it legal to have one of these devices in their room?
Well, the quick answer is that in some states, yes. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) reports that “as of 2020, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Washington have laws that permit the installation of cameras in residents’ rooms, if the resident and roommate have consented.” As you can see, Tennessee isn’t on the list. Neither is the federal government, as there are no federal laws regarding cameras in nursing homes.
Why is that? The NCEA details that the elderly and the residents of nursing homes have the right to dignity, respect, and privacy, just like anyone else. The privacy part plays a big role in why it remains illegal in some states to put cameras in patients’ rooms.
Should cameras be put in nursing home rooms?
While caring about our loved one’s privacy is important, there is also the matter of safety and well-being. Elder abuse is not an uncommon thing, especially in nursing homes: “Research reports that approximately 1 in 10 senior Americans, who are aged 60+, have faced some form of elder abuse.”
The most common forms of elder abuse are neglect and psychological abuse. In states where it is legal to put in cameras, consent is required by both the provider that runs the nursing home and by the residents of the room where the camera will be installed. Perhaps if a camera is installed, then abuse could be more quickly spotted than if there’d been no camera at all. Many residents of nursing homes who are abused fail to report it, fearing repercussions or disbelief. Only “an estimated 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported, which equates to about 20% of abuse cases.”
The injuries a patient can suffer from elder abuse in a nursing home include:
|· Wrongful death |
· Bone fractures
· Hip fractures
· Burns or lacerations
|· Dislocations |
· Internal bleeding
· Organ damage
· Malnourishment or dehydration
· Emotional injuries
· Mental health declines
What can I do to protect my loved one without cameras?
We don’t want to break the law by putting a “Granny Cam” in the nursing home room, so what CAN we do? Talk to the nursing home providers and staff. It’s important to create a trusting and honest relationship with both your loved one and the people who are charged with watching over them.
Not only does this help soothe your own fears, but it also makes the patient who lives at the nursing home feel reassured that they can speak up if necessary, and that people are ready to listen and willing to help. The staff appreciate it as well; they also have rights that need to be respected. Besides – they may very well agree to a camera in the room, provided it doesn’t violate your loved one’s rights or any laws.
What should I do if I suspect elder abuse?
If you still are concerned about abuse by the staff and facilitators of the nursing home, seek help from professionals. First, contact the Tennessee Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP). Ombudsmen “help residents and their families resolve questions or problems and will advocate for solutions to problems for qualified residents of long-term care facilities.” You can call them at 1-877-236-0013 or email them directly.
Then, contact the Memphis nursing home injury attorneys of Bailey & Greer, who have experience dealing with filing claims against abusive or negligent nursing homes. Make sure you have as much evidence as you can gather, including photographs, testimonials, and your own detailed report of your concerns and findings. With these tools, we can help you file a negligence claim against the nursing home.
It’s important to be rightfully compensated if your loved one has suffered from neglect and abuse while living in a nursing home. Watch out for the signs, talk about your concerns, and when necessary, bring in professionals to make sure your loved ones are safe. Cameras in nursing home rooms might not always be possible in Tennessee, but that doesn’t mean the fight to keep your loved one safe is at a standstill. If you think you have a case of elder abuse on your hands, then it’s time to call Bailey & Greer at 901-475-7434 or fill out our contact form to set up a free consultation at one of our offices in Memphis or Jackson.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Read more about R. Sadler Bailey