“Granny Cams” in Virginia Nursing Homes

We are often asked by families whether it is legal for them to place a hidden camera in their loved one’s nursing home room. These cameras have long been called “granny cams.”

In this day in age, with today’s technology, you can sit at work and watch a baby sleep soundly over a video monitor miles away, on your IPhone. I know. I’ve done this. So families are wondering how they can keep an eye on loved ones and the care providers in Virginia long term care facilities.

Though some states have laws that prevent the facilities from forbidding the cameras, current Virginia law allows a nursing home to refuse to allow such a device. And, if the family persists, the nursing home can deny care to that patient (arguably) for violating privacy laws, etc.

According to a great article in the Virginia Pilot, one family has even tried to get our law makers on board with the idea of allowing such cameras in Virginia facilities.

For many the motivation may be to watch staff and hold them accountable for failing to provide the required care. For others, juggling work, being a parent and a caregiver, there is some peace that comes with a daily snap shot or two knowing your loved one is being cared for and is comfortable.

Although I seriously doubt Virginia will create a law on either side of this issue in the near future, I respect and honor the families that want to keep a closer eye.

If your car dealer tapes your experience in the loan department (and they do), and Kroger tapes you at the salad bar (and they do), and Disney requires a finger print to visit for the day – are there really privacy issues in a nursing home where a disabled person is in need of acute medical care?

Certainly an interesting legal discussion, but more importantly, an opportunity for families to provide additional protection.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.