Are cameras in nursing homes the right move?

Jul 23, 2015

The state of Illinois is currently reviewing legislation, House Bill 2462, that would allow for cameras to be installed in nursing homes in order to provide regular monitoring to help combat and reduce nursing home abuse. The legislation has people questioning, “Are cameras in nursing homes the right move?”

Illinois has over 860 nursing homes with more than 75,000 residents. There are approximately 5,000 complaints filed each year alleging abuse, neglect, or property theft.

By allowing nursing home residents to install audio and video recording devices in their rooms, they may be able to minimize the amount of abuse that takes place, as well as provide knowledge about nursing home abuse, neglect, or theft that may be occurring.

The primary concern of opponents to the proposed legislation about cameras in nursing homes includes an invasion of privacy rights. According to the bill, however, an audio or recording device could only be installed with the resident’s permission. If one roommate is opposed to its installation, then it will not be installed.

Four states currently allow for the use audio and recording devices in nursing home rooms, including Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Washington.

Cameras in Nursing Homes in action

As of July 2015, 2 nursing home assistants have been arrested, while 8 more were fired, after a hidden camera caught alleged abuse at a nursing home.

The incident occurred at the Saint Theresa of New Hope nursing home in Minnesota. Family members of residents at the home installed the camera after observing bruising and cuts on residents. The camera caught the abuse in action with footage of two nursing home assistants allegedly abusing at least two residents.

The two nursing home assistants were fired and arrested, and another 8 staff members have been fired for failing to report the abuse.

The current legislative proposal regarding cameras in nursing homes in Illinois comes at a time when nursing home abuse is considered to rise with the increase in the number of people reaching age 65 and older.

Additional Resources

 Obama Administration Proposes New Rules to Modernize Nursing Home Safety
5 Important Things to Know About Nursing Home Abuse