The question might sound silly, but elder abuse is becoming a more commonly recognized problem in the United States. New laws and regulations are fighting to prevent this phenomenon, which occurs when an elderly person is taken advantage of in a way that could harm them physically or financially. It happens more often than you think. When your loved one is living in a nursing home, is it okay to use a camera to keep an eye on them?
In Minnesota a woman began to suspect her mother was the victim of elder abuse. She took it upon herself to place a camera in her mother’s nursing home room not only to keep an eye on her mother, but also to deter any potential illegal behavior from occurring in the first place. The staff of this particular nursing home wasn’t having it. While they didn’t actually remove the camera from the room, they did point it in the other direction during the course of their work.
When the woman discovered the camera was having no effect, she took her case to the Minnesota Department of Health. The organization acted on her formal complaint to provide her with the legal authority to keep the camera in the room, and prevent caretakers at the nursing home in question from tampering with the expensive device.
Despite the fact that Minnesota and most other states have not written laws to allow or prevent surveillance devices in the rooms of nursing home residents, that doesn’t make it illegal.
One of the problems that sometimes arise when a family member tries to place a camera in a nursing home bedroom is consent. Often, residents are graced with a roommate — and that means a camera meant to protect your loved one’s interests might inadvertently capture intimate footage of someone else’s loved one without formal consent. This can potentially create a serious privacy issue.
The ideal scenario is this: before trying to place a camera anywhere, make sure you at least try to acquire consent from all parties that may appear in the captured footage (including caretakers or nursing home management, and power of attorney if applicable). While not everyone may agree, you’ve at least performed your due diligence. You can proceed until the law says otherwise.
If you suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, it may be time to contact a personal injury or elder abuse lawyer to explore your options. Cameras should only be considered as tools to gather evidence.