Should You Allow Cameras in Your Nursing Home?

Written by on 9/29/2015 10:00 AM . It has 2 Comments.

Nearly every day a worried child, spouse, or guardian calls your office to discuss their mother, husband, or other relative. Someone fell or bumped into a wall or chair, but in the confused minds of some of your residents, they believe they were pushed. Sometimes, sadly, they were.

Angry and scared loved ones demand answers. Most of the time, it was an accident or a slip. Sometimes, all you have is one employee’s word against a resident. As someone who runs a nursing home, you know your staff is excellent, hard working, and caring. What do you do if a resident or their family wants to place a security camera in their room? Is it something you should add to your facilities?

The decision to allow cameras inside your nursing home or elder care facility can be a tough one. Here are some things you need to know and consider when making that decision.

IS IT THE LAW?

In six states, nursing home residents can have camera surveillance of some kind, with restrictions. Currently, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, California, and Washington all have laws regarding cameras in nursing homes. North Carolina doesn’t have a law yet, but if you open a new facility in another state, you’ll need to be aware of state laws.

NEGLECT AND ABUSE

According to the Department of Public Health, over 19,000 calls are made a year for suspected abuse or neglect in nursing homes. You know that not every call means someone is abused, but children are often concerned about the parents they leave in your care. Patients and residents may feel they’re being abused legitimately or out of confusion. Cameras in their rooms could eliminate unnecessary claims and help you find the problem employees.

CONSENT IS REQUIRED

You may be concerned about visitors and employees who may be filmed without knowing it. Each state with laws governing cameras in nursing homes requires consent of some kind. In Texas, a notice must be posted outside of a residents’ room, while in Oklahoma, a roommate must give consent before a camera can be brought into a room. Some rules even allow nursing homes to require that cameras stay in plain sight.

PEACE OF MIND

Your residents may be part of the older generations, but their children aren’t. In today’s digital age of transparency, many people feel more comfortable knowing they can log-on and watch their loved ones through a camera feed. Many people are used to monitoring their children in daycare in a similar way. A camera in their parent’s room gives them peace of mind and gives them confidence in your nursing home staff.

Right now, allowing cameras is still an option for nursing homes in North Carolina, and most of the United States. The decision to allow a child, guardian, or patient to install one must be given plenty of thought. If you have any questions about how cameras can affect your nursing home liability insurance give us a call and let’s discuss. It’s a big decision, but you don’t have to make it alone.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Blondinrikard Fröberg.

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