Using Nursing Home “Granny Cams” to Protect Seniors’ Safety — and Their Legal Rights

Feb 27, 2015 - Nursing Home Neglect, Personal Injury by

Placing an elderly loved one in need of 24-hour care in a nursing home is one of the most difficult decisions families can make. In addition to the emotional concerns connected with taking people out of the familiar surroundings that make them comfortable, families lose the ability to vigilantly monitor their safety. Many individuals wish they could use electronic surveillance to help protect their family members.

One Case Illustrates How Granny Cams Can Help Protect Nursing Home Residents

In August 2014, a nanny cam recording helped achieve justice for one family. After seeing signs of abuse to his mother at an Oklahoma City nursing home, a man hid a camera in her room. The recordings revealed that one worker was abusing the patient. The grannycam provided the evidence needed to convict the worker, according to a KOCO.com report.

Alabama Laws are Somewhat Unclear Pertaining to Video Surveillance

Federal law does not prohibit the installation of hidden cameras as long as they do not record sound. However, Alabama law adds a restriction by prohibiting installation on private property, according to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. As a general rule, Alabama law requires one party to grant permission for audio recording, but granny cams hidden in the rooms of nursing home residents can represent a different legal issue.

Regardless of state law, families can install cameras in the rooms of senior nursing home residents by obtaining written permission from the facility. An experienced Tuscaloosa injury attorney can draft an effective legal agreement. Permission helps ensure that Alabama courts accept evidence obtained through granny cam recordings in the event that abuse charges need to be filed in the future.

The Best Time to Obtain Permission is During the Nursing Home Selection Process

Anyone seeking a safe long-term care facility for an elderly loved one faces a daunting task. Abuse is all too common, based on these statistics offered by the National Center on Elder Abuse:

  • Nearly one-third of nursing homes were charged with violations of federal standards.
  • Out of 2,000 interviews, 44 percent of residents reported abuse, and 95 percent said they had been neglected or witnessed the neglect of another resident.
  • More than 50 percent of nursing home staff admitted to some form of mistreatment of residents.

Even families that find highly-rated facilities need to understand that a single abusive worker on the staff can cause major harm to their loved ones. Perhaps one important criterion for choosing a facility is its willingness to provide consent for the use of a hidden video camera in a resident’s room.

Seek Advice from a Knowledgeable Lawyer Before Abuse or Neglect Becomes an Issue

Compassionate and immediate legal support is essential for families who suspect their loved ones are not receiving the care they deserve from nursing homes or in-home caregivers. However, it makes no sense to wait for threats to safety to take action. While online nursing home reviews and advice can provide helpful information, an attorney with experience in nursing home neglect and abuse issues can help guide families to the right decisions for their elderly loved ones.

Additional Resources:

GMA: Surveillance Cameras in Nursing Homes?, February 15, 2014, ABC News

Is It Legal … To Record With A Hidden Camera?, April 8, 2013, Rachael Mason, THELAW.TV

Other Blog Topics:

Alabama Nursing Homes Get “D” Grade for Poor Patient Care, Tuscaloosa Nursing Home Neglect Blogs

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