Uncovering Nursing Home Abuse with Granny Cams

More often these days, we hear about family members and other loved ones using hidden cameras in nursing homes to uncover instances of nursing home abuse or neglect. These hidden cameras, commonly referred to as granny cams, are the latest innovation used to track the treatment and well-being of patients in long-term care facilities. While a few states have tackled electronic monitoring legislation in one way or the other, the debate continues on across the United States between advocates and critics of granny cam users.

Granny Cams Are There Even When You Aren’t

According to a recent news story on the New York Times Well blog, “Watchful Eye in Nursing Homes,” proponents of hidden cameras in nursing homes believe that using granny cams can unearth otherwise unknown abusive or negligent situations. The surveillance videos can assist in obtaining confessions and guilty pleas from abusive staff members. Longer-term results may even including impacting a nursing home administrator’s staffing choices and training programs.

Granny cameras may also help to alleviate unsubstantiated concerns of nursing home abuse or neglect. As one doctor stated in the article, “Good caregivers can be unfairly accused.”

Hidden Cameras May Violate Privacy Rights

The picture isn’t completely rosy when it comes to granny cams, however. Most opponents state that hidden cameras violate the privacy rights of residents, roommates, visitors, and others.

For some, the argument focuses on the privacy rights of the intended resident. This argument states that family members or other representatives should not impose the use of granny cams upon residents who do not have the mental capacity to decide on the cameras themselves.

For others, the argument about granny cams centers on giving notice so as to avoid violating the privacy rights of others. They believe that whoever chooses to use the cameras should also post signs warning about surveillance. They also argue that this notice is a deterrent that can prevent abuse or neglect from happening in the first place.

Electronic Monitoring Legislation in the U.S.

As mentioned earlier, several states have already taken a stance on granny cams. According to the New York Times post, three states currently allow and govern granny cam use via statute:

  • Oklahoma
  • New Mexico
  • Texas

Other states have administrative regulations regarding electronic surveillance. In Maryland, for instance, surveillance cameras must focus on the one resident only. That way, it minimizes potentially obtrusive monitoring of roommates or guests.

Are Granny Cams a Go or a No-No?

Where do you stand on this issue? Should individuals use hidden cameras when they believe their loved ones are suffering at the hands of negligent or abusive nursing home staff? Or do you think the use of these granny cams violates too many rights to ever be appropriate? Share your thoughts with us via email or call our dedicated team at The Rooth Law Firm at (847) 869-9100.