Use of granny cameras spread to prevent nursing home abuse

To prevent nursing home abuse, more law enforcement officials and families in New York and elsewhere are using video cameras to keep watch over elderly loved ones. The use of video cameras in nursing homes which are also referred to as granny cams received recent attention when a man from Ohio placed a camera in his 78-year-old mother’s nursing home room and caught caretakers beating her up. Despite the advancement and spread of the technology, few states have specific laws that address the use of cameras in nursing homes.

According to people in the long-term care industry, the use of granny cams is on the rise. Authorities in New York caught 22 healthcare workers mistreating nursing home residents last year with the help of hidden cameras, and the abuse of an 87-year-old woman in New Jersey committed by nursing home workers was also caught on camera. According to the president-elect of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, “Cameras are used to catch people more than ever before, not just because the technology is there but because it’s more widely acceptable.”

The use of cameras in care facilities raises questions about privacy and critics of cameras in nursing homes say the widespread use of cameras would make it more difficult to hire staff and that incidents could be misinterpreted. The long-term care industry and nursing home industry has fought efforts to legalize camera use and cite insurance costs and employee privacy as issues.

So far three states, Texas, Maryland and New Mexico, have state laws that allow widespread use of cameras in nursing homes. Texas’s long-term care ombudsman believes the use of cameras in nursing home rooms is a positive incentive because it keeps workers honest while they treat the needs of residents. Each state has different applicable rules for cameras in nursing homes and hopefully New York will have its own specific nursing home camera law in the future.

Source: scrippsnews.com, “Families using video cameras in nursing homes to protect loved ones,” Sept. 20, 2011

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