Many people have never even heard of nursing home abuse (also commonly referred to as elder abuse), but the commonly carried out crime is finally starting to be more often acknowledged in new legislation in states all over the country. This form of abuse occurs when our beloved nursing home residents are abused either physically or financially, most often by their caretakers — or even family members.
Con artists also commonly target those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Many stories are starting to emerge about how exactly these crimes are carried out, and why. Part of the problem is the ease of committing the crime when so few people are watching. Older people who are likely to become confused or forget what happened really do make the easiest targets for these sick predators. That’s why family members are beginning to turn to placing surveillance devices directly in the rooms of their loved ones.
In one Minnesota case, a woman noticed signs that her mother was being neglected by a care facility’s staff. To find out for sure, she purchased an expensive camera and pointed it toward her mother’s bed. It didn’t do much good, because caretakers simply pointed the camera in the other direction before going about their work.
This prompted the woman to make a formal complaint with the Minnesota Department of Health, an organization that decided in her favor. Not only was she allowed to keep the device in her mother’s room, but the care facility’s staff were legally barred from removing or tampering with it.
Unfortunately nothing is as simple as it seems, and cases like this have prompted others to call on states to draft new laws over privacy concerns. After all, many such care facilities will assign two residents to a single room: placing a camera in the vicinity could potentially lead to invasion of privacy charges, which means an inevitable torrent of lawsuits levied against individuals and organizations both.
If you suspect that your loved one is being abused or neglected by another person, then you may have the right to use a surveillance device either to find out for sure, or to deter the unlawful activity altogether. Six states have drafted laws to allow this action. Even if you live in one of those states that have not written such laws, don’t let it deter you from doing what you think is best.
Discuss your options with a qualified nursing home abuse lawyer to ensure you take the smartest legal route to keeping your loved one safe and sound from potential predators.