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Shayna Slater
Shayna Slater
Attorney • (215) 735-0773

Nanny Cameras Are Aiding Victims Of Nursing Home Abuse

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Nanny cameras have been used for years to monitor a caregiver’s interaction with children while their parents are away. They are often disguised as common items such as a clock, lamp or children’s toy. This enables the nanny camera to operate undetected. Recently, these nanny cameras have been utilized to monitor a loved ones treatment within a nursing home. Often family members are unsure whether a resident of the nursing home is receiving the proper care and treatment and they may have suspicions of abuse or neglect. In some instances, these family members have employed the use of a nanny camera and captured horrible instances of abuse.

In April 2011, a nanny camera caught employees of a Haverford, Pennsylvania nursing home abusing an elderly resident with dementia. This resident was being housed in a unit of the nursing home that supposedly catered to residents with dementia. The resident’s family members had earlier reported the resident’s complaints that she had been hit and slapped by staff but the facility dismissed the allegations as part of her dementia. When the resident’s family did not accept this response, they employed the nanny camera.

The nanny camera caught instances of the resident being hit, slapped, poked in her eyes, taunted, pulled at, laughed at as she struggled to clothe herself, shoved into her bed and forcibly having her clothing removed. . The resident’s family came to visit her shortly after the abuse occurred and reported that she was agitated and repeatedly asked “Why do they keep picking on me?”

Dementia patients are often the target of abuse in nursing homes because employees believe that if the resident does report the abuse no one will believe them and will simply blame it on their dementia, as occurred in this instance. That is why family members of all residents, but in particular residents suffering from dementia, must be vigilant to recognize any sign of abuse or neglect as well as monitor their loved ones behavior for any changes, such as a fear of a particular caregiver, which could indicate a problem.

Of course, the facility where the abuse occurred has fired the offending employees. The employees were also arrested and charged with various offenses. The facility issued a statement indicating that their “number one concern, above all else, is the safety of our residents. We have a number of policies and procedures in place that address their welfare and are intended to prevent any inappropriate activity in our community.” However, if the families concerns were dismissed by the facility and the nanny camera had not been utilized, would this abuse have come to light?

The use of nanny cameras in this type of situation may encounter some obstacles. The legality of using these cameras likely depends on your state’s laws. In this instance, it was reported that the video was legal because it did not contain audio and the family members had the legal authority over the resident to put a camera in her room.

Unfortunately, nursing home abuse is occurring within our society. Since family members are unable to constantly monitor their loved ones during their stay in a nursing home and some facilities are turning a blind eye to possible abuse and neglect, nanny cameras may become increasingly utilized. If you suspect that your loved one is being abused and/or neglected in a nursing home, take action and hold the nursing home accountable.