While these cameras may offer safety, they can also compromise privacy
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, there are as many as 6 million cases of elder abuse in the United States annually. As many as 11 percent of these cases occur in California — or approximately 660,000 incidents. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or are contemplating a long-term care facility, these numbers are scary. But what if there were a way to monitor their care?
With the rise of internet-enabled devices, one possible way to keep elderly family members and friends safe is to use webcams . Placed in rooms, these devices could be used to regularly check in on loved ones and make sure that they are not being abused. The concept is similar to a nanny cam, which parents can place in their home and use to see what their children’s caregiver is going. Nanny cams have been used in prosecution of child abusers, but largely capture innocent activity. Would webcams in nursing homes and residential care facilities offer peace of mind?
According to a California elder abuse attorney, these types of cameras may prevent elder abuse from occurring. If caregivers knew that they were being monitored, then it may stop them from committing physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse. Alternatively, if they did not know that they were being monitored, these types of cameras could capture evidence of abuse, which could potentially be used in a criminal prosecution or civil case. But what compromises would have to be made in order to use these cameras?
The main concern is that many residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities reside in a single room — a bedroom — and sometimes with a room. These types of cameras may capture them doing private activities, like changing their clothes, bathing, getting a medical procedure, or doing toileting activities. There is also a significant concern that patients with dementia or other age-related illnesses may not be able to consent to having a camera record them and their activities.
While installing a webcam in your family member or friend’s room at a nursing home facility may be tempting, there may be better ways to protect them from elder abuse. As a seasoned California elder abuse attorney can explain, visiting often — and at unpredictable times — can guard against these types of abuses. You should also watch for signs and symptoms of abuse, such as bruise marks, infections, odd changes in behavior, visible weight loss, and unusual activity in the elder’s bank accounts. Being vigilant can help to protect your loved one — without invading their privacy.
If your loved one has suffered elder abuse, PLBSH can help. We are compassionate advocates for the elderly who understand the often complex dynamics of these types of cases. To learn more about our work or to schedule a consultation, contact us at (800) 435-7542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.