Should Illinois nursing homes install cameras in rooms?

Choosing the right nursing home for a loved one can be a very difficult decision for Illinois families to make. With numerous cases of nursing home abuse and neglect that are reported each year, many worry that their loved ones may be subjected to similar incidents of abuse or suffer a wrongful death due to negligence. Even after carefully researching and interviewing different facilities before admitting a family member, many families continue to worry about the safety of their loved ones.

In an effort to prevent more incidents of medical malpractice from occurring at our state’s and nation’s facilities, more emphasis has been place on better training programs for staff and educating consumers about nursing home abuse and neglect over the years. But are these efforts enough to prevent residents from suffering undue harm or death caused by negligence or abuse?

More families, facility managers and law-enforcement officials are relying on surveillance cameras to discourage or catch acts of negligence and abuse. Some believe that using surveillance cameras is “the only solution” to prevent workers from causing harm to patients.

Recently, the use of hidden cameras in several facilities across the nation has revealed many cases of abuse and neglect. Two workers were caught hitting one of their patients on camera and another incident has sparked a wrongful-death lawsuit after a patient died in June.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many forms. Management may fail to supervise staff, workers might bully patients and patients could suffer from bed sores if they are not properly cared for.

Many in favor of installing cameras believe that it will encourage nursing home workers to be more diligent when caring for their patients. It will also prevent individuals from physically or sexually abusing patients. However, others do oppose making this method of abuse prevention mandatory, claiming that the privacy rights of patients and employees would be violated.

Source: The Seattle Times, “Families turn to cameras in nursing homes,” Brad Schrade, Sept. 20, 2011


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