Nursing home abuse caught on cameras in Pennsylvania

A resident of a Pennsylvania nursing home has reportedly been involved in a dispute regarding the use of electronic video equipment in the residence. The man suffers from Cerebral Palsy and prefers to use a video cam to communicate with his relatives. The nursing home staff is said to have removed the equipment from the man's residence, stating that use of the camera invades the privacy of others in the facility. Some have asserted that allowing the cameras could help prevent nursing home abuse.

The state of Pennsylvania does not have specific regulations with regard to video camera use in nursing homes, although state law does preclude use of audio recording without consent. Some states allow each nursing home facility to govern its own use or non-use of video equipment. To date, none of the 50 states have enacted any law forbidding use of video cameras.

Some who are against usage of monitoring equipment in nursing homes have stated that the equipment invades the privacy of those who might be shown on camera without having first consented to being filmed. Between 2011 and 2014, multiple cases of abuse were caught on video at several nursing homes in Delaware and Bucks counties. According to reports, multiple arrests were made in the incidents, one facility was shut down and another was mandated to make certain corrections in order to remain open.

Some elder advocates have said that allowing monitoring devices in long-term care facilities robs residents of their dignity and invades privacy. Others say that, in regard to nursing home abuse or certain medical conditions, such devices could potentially save lives. Adult family members who have elderly loved ones residing in nursing homes where negligence or abuse is suspected may seek legal advice from professionals who have experience in handling elder law cases in order to determine how best to proceed in addressing the issues.

Source: mcall.com, "Nursing homes say video cameras invade privacy", Halle Stockton, April 5, 2015

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