New Tool to Prevent Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes: Webcams

Webcams are becoming popular in nursing rooms across the country as families see it as an easy way to check on their loved ones and prevent neglect and elder abuse. Driven by the increased use of security cameras across the country and their reduced prices, webcams are popping up across the country and, when used discreetly, can sometimes catch cases of horrific elder abuse. The legality of webcams inside of nursing homes is sometimes questionable. A Minnesota court ruled in 2017 that a family had a right to set up a webcam in their loved one’s room after nursing home staffers kept unplugged and moving the camera – apparently not wanting to be recorded. Since 2017, seven states have passed legislation allowing families to place webcams in nursing home rooms.

While states move to legalize the use of webcams, privacy advocates have some concerns about the widespread use of webcams in elder living facilities. First, since nursing home residents are particularly vulnerable and prone to cognitive impairments then the decision to set up a webcam usually falls on their guardian or family. Given the serious privacy implications of being constantly filmed, family members would hopefully consult their loved one. Unfortunately, studies reported by Medical Xpress show that families tend to value “keeping the peace” over discussing these important matters.

The privacy problems with webcams in nursing homes also extend to the other residents. A video camera that is constantly monitoring will inevitably pick up other residents. Given the myriad of privacy-sensitive activities at nursing homes – such as showering and medication regiments – a webcam in a nursing home resident’s room could easily record private moments of another resident without the consent of them or their family. For these reasons, elder care advocates recommend making the webcam open and conspicuous and alerting any other residents in the room or their caretakers.

Contact our nursing home neglect attorneys to discuss your potential case.

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