If you have a loved one living in a nursing home, one of your biggest concerns is ensuring that the caregivers are doing a good job. Do you visit the nursing home every single day? If not, you may not be able to maintain the vigilance necessary to reassure yourself that everything is being handled properly. In this time, when coronavirus has put many residents or entire facilities on a “no visitors” policy, it can be especially hard to monitor the well-being of your loved one.
Setting up a video camera in the room of your loved one is a possible solution, much like using “nanny cams” with your children. But before you set up a hidden camera, you need to know the laws about video camera installation inside private nursing home rooms. What states allow cameras in nursing homes? Can you legally put a surveillance camera in a patient’s nursing home room? Our Arizona nursing home abuse attorneys discuss these questions and more below.
Nursing Home Abuse Statistics to Consider
Before diving into the use of video cameras inside nursing homes, it is important to know some statistics about these facilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, there were an estimated 15,600 nursing homes in the U.S. with 1.7 million licensed beds. Nearly 70 percent of these nursing homes run with profit as the primary goal.
That means that operators who own these homes are most concerned about the bottom line. This can often lead to understaffed facilities that do not provide outstanding care.
Elder abuse and neglect is an important public health problem throughout the country. In Arizona, the nursing home abuse statistics are concerning. According to Arizona Adult Protective Services (APS) there were 5,225 abuse allegations and 7,473 neglect allegations in 2021. Neglect allegations increased 28% compared to the previous year.
At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, we are very familiar with the Arizona nursing home abuse statistics and we have helped many of these victims get justice. If you suspect this is going on with your senior loved one in their Arizona nursing home, contact our team. We offer free consultations.
The Video Camera Dilemma for Nursing Home Rooms
The prevalence of smartphones equipped with video recording capability has transformed society, as these devices have captured criminal acts that are later used as evidence in trials. But the permissibility of installing video cameras has become a legal gray area. Can you put a surveillance camera in a patient’s nursing home room?
What States Allow Cameras in Nursing Homes?
As of 2022, there are nine states that allow the installation of surveillance cameras in nursing home rooms. The states that allow cameras in private nursing home rooms include:
- New Mexico
If you want to install a video camera in your loved one’s nursing home room, you will have to reside in one of these states. You will also need to follow the protocols set forth under law.
However, if you do not live in one of the states with a video camera law, you must get permission from the nursing home supervisors before you install a camera. The coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) provides an additional argument to use with a facility when requesting that a video camera be installed.
Some family members of nursing home residents have installed cameras without obtaining permission and have run afoul of legal entanglements regarding the admissibility of the footage in a lawsuit.
Before placing your family member in a nursing home, you should discuss your desire to use a video camera in your loved one’s room and find out the facility’s policy. This could be a deal-breaker, because many incidents of abuse have been captured on video cameras. This makes them a valuable tool in ensuring the safety and well-being of nursing home residents.
If your loved one is receiving care at home, the obvious presence of such cameras may discourage theft and abuse, and provide evidence if it occurs. Many people think of elder abuse only in the context of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing units. However, abuse and neglect can occur in a person’s own home by those charged with providing care.
Seek Justice For Nursing Home Residents
We understand that you may have questions regarding what states allow cameras in nursing homes or the legality of installing a camera in your loved ones’ private room. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect and have questions, contact an experienced nursing home abuse attorney near you to discuss your situation.
At Miller Kory Rowe LLP, we provide aggressive and principled legal representation to elder abuse victims in Phoenix, Tucson and throughout Arizona. Please call us today at (602) 461-8640 for a free legal consultation. Our legal team has the experience, reputation and resources to obtain a settlement or to take a case to trial if necessary.