Nursing home residents are members of a vulnerable population. Some are unable to care for themselves physically and others are unable to communicate their needs. Unfortunately their vulnerable status means that these residents can be an easy target of abuse and neglect by employees of nursing homes.
Regularly, cases emerge across the nation highlighting the abuses that occur in these homes. Last year one such case came from Oklahoma where the daughters of a nursing home resident installed a security camera in their mother’s room. The camera recorded an employee roughly handling the resident, striking her, and generally abusing her. Once her daughters had evidence of the abuse, they reported the employee who was fired and arrested on criminal charges.
The current state of the law in Oklahoma allows each nursing home to decide whether they will allow residents to use cameras in their rooms. However a new bill before the Oklahoma senate would allow residents the use of cameras regardless of the policies of individual nursing homes.
Many advocates of nursing home safety have championed this bill and hope to see it pass but recently a new amended has been added that could drastically change the impact of the law.
The amendment would require any resident to first notify a nursing home and obtain permission before installing a hidden camera. Any resident installing such a camera without permission would face a fine or even jail time if caught. Advocates claim that knowing where cameras are and are not located will allow negligent conduct by employees to focus on residents who are unprotected by the cameras, thus reducing or even eliminating the safety that the bill would otherwise provide.
It is unclear how the state senate will vote on the bill with the proposed amendment but a vote could happen soon.
As an Illinois nursing home lawyer, I am regularly contacted by nursing home residents and their families after abuse and neglect occur. Many times it seems that the employees of these homes have no fear of consequences for their actions because the employees are not disciplined at work and it can be very difficult to prove abuse in a civil case.
The use of hidden security cameras would take a “he said, she said” claim and support one side or the other with evidence. It also might help reduce cases of abuse within the state, something that all citizens should support.
Nursing home abuse and neglect causes pain and suffering to Illinois residents, as well as their families, every day. Whether it is a failure to attend to a patient causing bed sores, dropping a patient during a bed or wheelchair transfer, or physical abuse, you may have a claim for the injuries you or a loved on suffered. Please call the Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today at (855) 529-2442 for a free consultation and to discuss your legal options.
Debate Over Cameras In Nursing Homes Continues, Fox 25 News, April 22, 2013.
CMS to Publish Additional Data Regarding Nursing Home Deficiencies in Illinois and Elsewhere, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Blog, April 18, 2013.
U.S. Senate Considering Bill That May Keep Elderly Out of Nursing Homes in Illinois, Nationwide, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2013.