Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) December 16, 2014 – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has proposed legislation that would allow nursing home residents and their families to place cameras in the facilities to guard against abuse and neglect.
The cameras would be placed on a voluntary basis, and only families would have access to the recordings, not nursing home staff. Currently, cameras in nursing home rooms are not illegal, but many facilities prohibit them.
“Abuse and neglect are major problems in nursing homes,” said Robert Briskman, an attorney with the Chicago firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. Briskman handles cases of nursing home abuse and neglect in his practice. “This proposal has the potential to deter wrongdoing and document it when it does occur.”
Madigan said she has consistently heard “horror stories” of nursing home residents being abused and neglected. The legislation, which will likely be introduced in 2015, would require residents or their families to pay for the cameras. A 2007 legislative effort, which would have required nursing homes to cover the cost of installation, was unsuccessful.
Cameras placed in nursing home rooms raise privacy issues. Under the proposal, roommates would have to consent, and a posted notice would be required to inform other patients, visitors and staff members that they may be recorded.
A representative of the American Health Care Association said that nursing homes are not opposed to cameras in principle, but they worry that there may be high staff turnover -- employees may not want to be under constant scrutiny.
But scrutiny is the point, according to Madigan. She said that potential abusers may be deterred by the cameras. And if abuse or neglect still occurs, the recordings can be used as evidence in lawsuits.
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