It is not uncommon to hear stories of nursing home residents being abused by staff members. Roughly 10% of Americans over age 60 have been subject to physical, financial or other forms of elderly abuse. One possible way to protect nursing home residents in New Mexico and elsewhere is to use cameras to record interactions between them and staff members. While it may give loved ones peace of mind that their relatives are safe, security cameras may also present legal and ethical dilemmas.
The Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research at Brown University conducted a survey looking at potential problems related to security cameras in nursing homes. It obtained feedback from 270 facilities in 39 states, and the results were published in AJOB Empirical Bioethics. Privacy was among the key concerns among facilities that took part in the survey.
If a camera is present in a room, it may record residents getting undressed or other moments that they would rather keep to themselves. Furthermore, there are issues related to whether residents can consent to being recorded and if the feed is safe from hackers. Ultimately, researchers say that the best way to prevent nursing home abuse is to make changes to the system that make life easier for both residents and staff alike.
Family members of those who are victims of nursing home neglect may take legal action against the facility where the negligence occurred. Evidence of neglect may include excessive weight loss, bedsores and changes in mood or behavior. Statements from the victims themselves may also be used as evidence depending on their mental capacity. If a negligence claim is successful, a family may be able to obtain compensation in the form of medical bills incurred to treat an injury in addition to punitive damages.