Could Cameras in Nursing Homes Reduce Abuse and Neglect?


Incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect have become increasingly alarming and a matter of national concern. This crisis gives rise to the question of whether abuse and neglect could be reduced by the presence of surveillance cameras.

Video cameras are increasingly used as a way to provide accountability in many contexts. Police officers in some areas wear body cams, and some parents install nanny cams for their peace of mind concerning their children. Some motorists use dash cams to provide video evidence in case of an accident.

However, some families’ efforts to install video cameras in their loved ones’ nursing home rooms are meeting resistance from some facilities and even governmental agencies.

According to a recent NBC News article, families of residents of a California nursing home who want to install cameras in the facility to protect their loved ones are being prevented from doing so by the state. As reported in the article, the residents’ right to privacy is a concern expressed by the Deputy Director of Public Affairs of the Department of Social Services.

Closer to Rhode Island, video cameras in nursing homes are already capturing episodes of abuse and neglect.  For example, WABC-TV in New York recently reported on an incident that occurred at the Peninsula Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Far Rockaway.

According to the article, a nurse’s aide and two nurses were caught on camera abusing a resident. A nurse allegedly dragged a 51-year-old man – who was bleeding, in pain and lying on the floor – by his arm while the other nurses stood by and watched. Another video shows the patient crawling on the floor, bleeding, while the nurses were standing around, offering no assistance.

According to an NBC 4 New York report on the same incident, the nurses and nurse’s aide at the Far Rockaway nursing home allegedly left the disabled patient lying on the floor with an open head wound, neglecting to treat him for 20 minutes. The two nurses and the nurse’s aide involved in the incident have been arrested, NBC News reports.

Should Families Be Allowed to Monitor Their Loved Ones in Nursing Homes?

At least one state is considering formally allowing the installation of video cameras in nursing home residents’ rooms.

A recent article in the Chicago Tribune reports that nursing home room camera monitoring would be allowed under a bill recently introduced in Illinois. The bill would allow cameras in nursing home resident’s rooms if they wanted the cameras and were willing to pay for them.

Supporters of the bill see it as a measure to protect the elderly from abuse and neglect. However, others have raised concerns about the privacy of roommates, as well as the privacy of visitors and nursing home staff.

Legal Help for Victims of Nursing Home Abuse

If your loved one residing in a nursing home facility has been abused or neglected, it is important to consult with an experienced nursing home abuse attorney as soon as possible. At Marasco & Nesselbush, we focus our practice on helping injured people. Our Rhode Island personal injury attorneys are skilled, experienced and well-versed in cases involving nursing home abuse and neglect.

The Rhode Island personal injury attorneys at Marasco & Nesselbush provide free case reviews to victims of nursing home abuse and neglect and their families. Call us at 401-443-2999 or fill out a contact form to set up a free legal consultation. We have four offices located in Providence, Wakefield, Warwick, and Woonsocket to easily serve you.