Cameras in Nursing Homes: A Good Idea

I have blogged on this topic before.  The use of hidden cameras in nursing homes to “catch” bad guys neglecting or abusing the elderly is a damn good use of technology.  My home state of Virginia has guidelines for the use of hidden cameras which protect patient privacy yet expose staff (and sometimes other residents) who mistreat and abuse those in need of protection.

The use of video cameras in nursing homes is back in the news.  This story has a different twist, but is a hard one to believe. Stuart Sanderson has cerebral palsy and has resided at the Inglis House nursing home in Pennsylvania for decades.  His connection to the outside world, especially his father and brother, was a compact video camera on his computer.  The father and brother “communicated” with Stuart by reading his lips on the video screen.

Now comes the unbelievable part.  Stuart’s computer equipment was abruptly removed in mid-December, and he was asked to write a note defending his access to it.  It seems the nursing home staff was concerned over privacy.  Pretty tough stuff for a man with limited mobility who selects each letter by pushing the back of his head against a switch.

My Take:  If my loved family member lived in a nursing home miles away or in another state, I would want to take full advantage of video technology to allow me to see and visit with that family member as frequently as possible.  Further, it would not take me two seconds to install (legally under Virginia law) a video camera in my family member’s room if I thought he/she was being abused or neglected by the staff of the facility or other residents.

 

 

 

 

‘s connection to the world outside his Philadelphia nursing-home room was severed because of anxiety over a simple webcam..

A compact video camera on his computer monitor allowed him to speak to family even without a voice. Stu, as he prefers to be called, has cerebral palsy, but video calls put him in touch with his ailing father and his brother, who would take the time to read his lips.

But to Inglis House, the nursing home where he has lived for decades, the camera was a watchful eye, scrutinizing its staff’s every move and capturing images of people whose privacy they’re responsible to protect.

Stu’s computer equipment was abruptly removed in mid-December, and he was asked to write a note defending his access to it. Family members called it a “cruel hurdle” for a man with limited mobility who selects each letter by pushing the back of his head against a switch.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.