The San Diego Union-Tribune ran a story on February 3, 2015 regarding the use of surveillance cameras in nursing homes. As the story points out, the State does not currently allow the use of cameras in resident’s room based upon privacy concerns.
Cameras are allowed in the common areas of nursing homes and RCFEs. These videos can be extremely important in determining the circumstances surrounding elder abuse/neglect. For example, when a resident falls, surveillance may show whether the resident was being properly monitored. Without such evidence, a nursing home or RCFE can simply take the position that proper monitoring was occurring, and it can be difficult to prove otherwise. Furthermore, video can show how the facility responds to an incident.
Allowing residents the option of having such cameras in their rooms would further help hold facilities accountable for abuse / neglect. Cameras would help determine if a patient is being provided proper care, including rotation to protect from skin breakdown, proper monitoring for fall risks, and proper cleaning to ensure residents are not left in unsanitary conditions.
All too often, facilities claim that care was being provided because it is documented in a resident’s chart, and it can be difficult for a resident or their family to prove otherwise. For example, when a resident develops a bedsore, facility staff may chart that the resident was being rotated as required, but such charting is often misleading and/or false. Video footage could help determine whether such care was actually given.
Finally, if caregivers knew they were being watched, they might be more diligent in ensuring residents receive all the care they are entitled to.