Secret Video Cameras in Nursing Homes Expose Abuse But Illinois Fights to Prohibit Them

May 13, 2014

With 20% of patients in nursing homes being harmed to the point they need medical care every year, it is alarmingly more and more clear that nursing homes are not always the best bet for elderly people.

Nursing homes in Illinois are some of the worst in the country with the state ranking close to the bottom of the list in key nursing home functions. A recent national study even gave the state a failing grade in nursing home care.

Illinois does not permit voluntary room surveillance cameras in long term care facilities. In fact only four states in the US do permit them, including Oklahoma. There is nothing illegal about placing a secret camera in a patient’s room, however the nursing home can remove the camera or the patient, if they find it. Because of this stern reprimand for secretly putting a camera in a patient’s room relatives are now too afraid of the consequences of doing so.

The Healthcare Council of Illinois represents the 500 nursing homes in the state and the industry says that it is the issue of privacy that is the main reason behind why they are against cameras in residents’ rooms. They are working for a patients’ rights bill but do not want cameras to be a part of it. One of the ways however that those who are fighting to allow cameras in nursing homes are lobbying for the change is by getting permission from patients’ roommates, making sure the camera is directed only at the intended family member and using motion activated cameras.

So would allowing cameras in long term care facilities or nursing homes really help the issue of abuse and neglect, or do the nursing home staff have a right to be worried about privacy laws? Time will tell how the landscape of nursing homes will change but one thing is for sure, the state of the nursing homes in Illinois and beyond must improve.

It is for this reason that Brown Wharton & Brothers Nursing Home Law Firm implore victims of nursing home abuse and their families to speak out and contact a dedicated team of lawyers. By bringing those people who have been negligent in their roles to justice we can spread the message that cameras or not, abuse in nursing homes will be found out and those who are to blame will be brought to justice.